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July 31, 2017

AMD Vega 56 And 64 Announced

So AMD have recently announced both Threadripper and Vega, both of which have had a lot of hype surrounding them, but do they live up to it?

In this post we’ll talk solely about Vega. If you aren’t aware, Vega is AMDs answer to the higher end cards on offer from Nvidia. AMD have announced cards that are set to go toe to toe with the GTX 1070 and 1080. These are the Vega 56 and 64. The 56 sits at the lower end and should provide good competition to the 1070. The 64 is the higher end of the two and goes head to head with the 1080.

rx-vega

The 56 will be priced at $399 US and likely around the same in the UK. The 64 will be priced at around $500 and again the same in the UK. Now price wise compared to the 1070 and 1080 they fair quite well. The 56 is around the same price as the GTX 1070 which can be picked up for around £400 (maybe less depending on seller or variant). The 1080 is priced at around £500, again this varies on variant and seller. So they are quite well priced in comparison to the competition.

There will also be a few models of the 64 at launch as well. There will be base model (pictured above) as well as a special edition models. These will come in two different styles. There will be a air cooled model and a water cooled variant as well. Pricing for those models are $549 for the air and $649 for the water cooled option.

vega-64-v

I personally like this style more than the regular version as they look much more aesthetically pleasing. Don’t get me wrong the standard edition is nice, the design now is a little long in the tooth. I know the same can be said for Nvidias stock cards too. But to be honest most of us will be waiting for third party options anyway.

strix-vega

The special edition versions on the other hand are rather nice, I really like the look they’ve gone for. Its got a brushed metal finish with an illuminated logo in the top corner. Its also using a 30mm fan which is a revised version of the previous generation of cards. This should mean better thermals, but again more testing will uncover that. The rear IO contains three display ports and a single HDMI. This are likely to be the latest generation to provide the best output to your chosen monitor.

vega-pics

Lets talk specs now and we’ll start with the Vega 56.

VEGA 56 Specifications compared to GTX 1070

vega-vs-1070

Based on the specs above they do trade blows quite well. Please keep in mind that the above comparison is for the founders edition Nvidia and the reference AMD. Third party offerings will be different depending on the manufacturer.

AMD takes the win with a higher memory bandwidth, but the Nvidia has higher base/boost clock speeds. This means that AMD can in theory can draw images at a better quality faster than the Nvidia. But the GTX hits back with a higher base and boost clock. Now again this doesn’t mean that the Nvidia will be faster as GPU speed and performance is determined by more than these numbers. So which will be better for gaming, we already know the 1070 is a solid 1440p card and I’m assuming the Vega will be too. Which is better, we’ll have to wait for the comparisons to start coming out. But on paper both are impressive.

VEGA 64 Specifications compared to GTX 1080

1080-vs-vega

Again Nvidia has the higher base and boost clock but thats been true for a long time. Again AMD does better on memory bandwidth, so it could be better for 3D modelling and rendering as for gaming, again we’ll have to wait and see.

Diving more into the core of these cards AMD are using HBM2 (High bandwidth memory) based off a 14nm 484mm2 die. They are also using 12.5 billion transistors on the IC. These will also feature 64 compute units as well as 4096 stream processors, meaning these cards will be great at crunching numbers, image and video processing. The 64 water cooled has a peak SP performance of 13.7 TFLOPS and 27.5 TFLOPS peak half precision performance. The air cooled 64 has a cut down SP performance of 12.66 TFLOPS and a peak half precision of 25.3 TFLOPS. The 56 will have peak of 10.5 and peak half of 21. These numbers again indicate that these cards will not only (possibly) be great for gaming but also creative work.

inside-vega

From the picture below you can also see that the Vega will be using dual 8 pin power. This is likely to because of the hefty TDP that Vega has. Especially the 64 with its TDP of 295W, the 56 is a bit better at 210W, but they still aren’t the most efficient of cards. Consider that the 1080 only has a TDP of 180W and you can see they really are power hungry cards. So you may need a beefier PSU if you are planning on picking one up at launch.

side-profile

Onto a little bit of gaming news, I know I said there isn’t numbers yet, but there is a reason for that as well the info with these numbers are not great. By that I mean nonexistent. The sample I have found comes directly from AMDs site and compare Vega to the R9 Fury X, but info is a bit scarce on system specs and which Vega GPU it is. So take these numbers with a pinch of salt. But you can see that there is a significant improvement over the Fury X.

gaming-perf

 

 

The final thing I’d like to talk about is the packs that AMD are offering. These add that extra bit of extra value to your purchase. There are three options available at launch and they are running for a limited time only.

1st up is the red pack. This will get you the standard Vega 56 as well as up to $420 extra value. The value comes in the form of two free games, these will vary upon region. You also get $100 a Ryzen compatible motherboard and CPU bundle. You finally then get $200 off a Samsung 34″ Ultrawide Freesync monitor. You don’t have to get these but its a nice addition. The next bundle is the Black pack, that will net you a Vega 64 and the same offers as above. The final pack is Aqua and again you get the same added value as above, but this time you get the watercooled variant of the card.

Prices for these are $499 for the Red, $599 for the Black and $699 for the Aqua. Now the pack looks great and all, but the actual free value is the games. The rest are just offers for discounts, so in reality yes you could save money, but only if you were planning on buying a new motherboard, CPU and monitor. I get why they’ve done as they want to draw new customers to team Red, but if you already have a Ryzen system, then the added value isn’t really that good. Unless you want the monitor. But its still there if you wanted it. Personally the only draw to me is the games as I have a Ryzen system already. But you maybe in the market for a switch and this discount would make it a bit easier on the old wallet.

packs-2

packs-3

These cards will be launching on the 14th August and will be available from the user vendors. Personally I think its a good move, the cards sit inline nicely with the offerings from Nvidia and like I’ve said in the past, competition is never a bad thing. AMD have really lit a fire under Intel and Nvidia and I hope its a trend that continues as to be honest the market was getting a little stale and needed livening up. AMD have certainly done that, but I can see Nvidia responding with their next gen Volta GPUs being, well next gen.

From what I’ve seen so far, I am quite looking forward to seeing what these cards can do and if they’ll truly compete with team Green. Either way, whether bad or good, it benefits us all as hopefully it’ll start driving GPU prices down a bit. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Vega, so leave a comment and thanks for reading.

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Weston

Hey I’m Weston and I’d definitely say that I’m a technology enthusiast. I’ve been in the tech space a while and I really love pretty much anything tech or tech related.

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