Radeon RX Vega 64 And RX Vega 56 Review: AMD Back In High-End Graphics

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 And Radeon RX 56 Final Analysis

Performance Summary: AMD's new Radeon RX Vega 64 and Radeon RX Vega 56 help propel the company's consumer GPU architecture and product line back to a competitive position in the enthusiast-class GPU market. Radeon RX Vega 64 is neck-and-neck with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080, winning some and losing some but showing flashes of strength in DirectX 12-based game titles and benchmarks, like The Division and 3DMark Time Spy. Vega 64 also maintains generally better minimum frame rates versus GTX 1080 overall, though we didn't get time to dig in with frame pacing or micro-stutter measurements just yet. 

Radeon RX Vega 56, however, in the upper-midrange segment, is a more credible threat. Vega 56 handily out-performs a GeForce GTX 1070 across the board, with few exceptions. When it comes to DX12 gaming, Radeon RX Vega 56 stretches its legs and leads even more over the similarly-priced NVIDIA GTX 1070. 

Unfortunately, while both Radeon RX Vega 64 and Radeon RX Vega 56 deliver competitive performance, they do so at the expense of more heat, noise, and power draw. 
Vega 64 Front
As we fired-up both of these new Vega cards up for the first time, on the desktop they're near dead-silent. However, when you load them down in a cutting-edge game title, fans spin up to levels we haven't heard from a high card in a few product generations now. Power draw peaks breaking 400 Watts for the RX Vega 64-powered test rig were almost alarming, and unexpected, frankly. Thermally, the card pumps out a lot of heat as well.  

Radeon RX Vega 56, on the other hand, was more tame from a power, noise, and heat standpoint, with more reasonable draw and slightly better acoustics - though noise levels were not dramatically better and the card was still louder than even a 1080 Ti under load.

Vega 56 And Viewsonic FreeSync Panel
AMD's FreeSync Value Proposition Is Likely Underrated 

One intrinsic benefit of AMD's new Radeon RX Vega family, however, is one you may have not looked closely enough at, and that's FreeSync. Like NVIDIA G-Sync, once you've seen adaptive refresh rate technology in action -- the perfectly smooth, jitter, tear and glitch-free rendering -- you can't un-see it and you'll not want to game any other way. From a gamer-purist point of view, it's sublime. We've been testing the ViewSonic XG2700-4K 27-inch panel seen here and it delivers super-crispy gaming. With FreeSync, AMD may have a cost advantage over NVIDIA currently, as G-Sync panels can command a higher premium, due to the proprietary circuitry that NVIDIA employs in their solution, generally speaking. Meanwhile, you can find FreeSync-capable panels as low as $130, believe it or not. So, all things considered, if you're looking to take your display game up a notch, as well as your GPU, this is something you probably want to factor into the equation, depending on your particular use-case and how much you game.

Vega 64 Left Vega 56 Right PCBs
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 And Radeon RX Vega 56  - Find Them On Amazon

The other bright side to consider with Vega, is it's advantage in DirectX 12 and asynchronous compute workloads. You can consider this betting on the come, so to speak, since the game development market is definitely heading this way with more DX12 and Vulkan titles inbound. It's just a question of what that timeline looks like, and by then, what NVIDIA's GeForce offering will look like. All things being equal, if broad adoption was available today, Vega's architecture has its advantages with many DX12 workloads, but time and semiconductors march on and wait for no one. 

And there-in lies the rub. AMD's Radeon RX Vega line-up as it exists today is a compelling offering, with performance at the $499 price point for RX Vega 64 that puts it roughly on equal footing with a GeForce GTX 1080, save for higher power draw and a bit more noise. Radeon RX Vega 56 is a notably faster $399 offering versus NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 cards, again with similar caveats. That said, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080 has been out for over a year now and it may not be long before team green tosses another volley.

Regardless, AMD's Vega GPU architecture shows promise and if the company can be profitable with its semi-exotic, HBM2 chip-and-wire, multi-chip module design, it could spell good things for future iterations of Vega, as yield and performance is optimized. For their respective price points currently, AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and Radeon RX Vega 56 are compelling, powerful, enthusiast gaming GPUs. If you don't mind a little more power draw and noise floor, Radeon RX Vega 56 is a solid win and Radeon RX Vega 64 squares off well versus rival solutions.  
hothardware recommended
Radeon RX Vega 56

approved hh 
Radeon RX Vega 64

  • Solid, Competitive Performance
  • DirectX 12 Architecture Strength
  • Price Competitive
  • FreeSync Cost Advantage
  • Noisier Acoustics
  • Hefty Power Draw
  • Higher Heat Output
  • Limited Day 1 Supply Driving Prices Higher

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