Monday, 11 December 2017
Reviews

AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 graphics cards revealed


Gamers have endured a long wait for the Radeon RX Vega, but the wait is over, or at least nearly. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been learning about how AMD plans to re-enter the high-end graphics card market with its next-generation graphics architecture. The company revealed most of the details of its Ryzen Threadripper CPUs to us ahead of SIGGRAPH, as well, if you’d rather catch up with that news first.













 GPU

base

clock

(MHz)
GPU

boost

clock

(MHz)
ROP

pixels/

clock
Texels

filtered/

clock
Shader

pro-

cessors
Memory

path

(bits)
Memory

bandwidth
Memory

size
Board

power
GTX 97010501178561041664224+32224 GB/s3.5+0.5GB145W
GTX 98011261216641282048256224 GB/s4 GB165W
GTX 980 Ti10021075961762816384336 GB/s6 GB250W
Titan X (Maxwell)10021075961923072384336 GB/s12 GB250W
GTX 108016071733641602560256320 GB/s8GB180W
GTX 1080 Ti14801582882243584352484 GB/s11GB250W
Titan Xp1480?1582962403840384547 GB/s12GB250W
R9 Fury X10506425640961024512 GB/s4GB275W
Radeon RX Vega 64

(air-cooled)
124715466425640962048484 GB/s8GB295W
Radeon RX Vega 64

(liquid-cooled)
140616776425640962048484 GB/s8GB345W
Radeon RX Vega 56115614716422435842048410 GB/s8GB210W

The high-level details of the Vega architecture have been known to us for some time, but the implementation of that architecture on Radeon RX gaming cards has remained a mystery until now.

AMD will be releasing the Radeon RX Vega with two different GPU configurations across three products. The fully-enabled Vega 10 GPU will find a home in the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid-Cooled Edition and the Radeon RX Vega 64. Both cards will get a GPU with 4096 stream processors, 256 texturing units, 8GB of HBM2 RAM running at a transfer rate of 484 GB/s, and 64 ROPs.

The RX Vega 64 Liquid-Cooled Edition will be the highest-performance Vega card at launch. This card will offer a typical boost range of 1677 MHz, a base clock of 1406 MHz, and a board power of 345W. This card will offer peak single-precision performance of 13.7 TFLOPS and peak half-precision performance of 27.5 TFLOPS.

The air-cooled RX Vega 64 will offer a typical boost range of 1546 MHz, a base clock of 1247 MHz, and a board power of 295W. Those figures are good for 12.66 TFLOPS of peak single-precision performance and 25.3 TFLOPS of half-precision throughput. Both of these RX Vega 64 cards are positioned to compete with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080.

The swanky aluminum-bedecked cards you see above are both limited editions, and AMD claims that label is genuine. At least for the air-cooled card, once the stock is sold through, the only way to get a reference air-cooled Vega will be with the black shroud you’ll see below.

The most interesting RX Vega graphics card may be the previously-unknown RX Vega 56. As its name implies, the Vega 10 GPU on this card has 56 of its 64 compute units enabled, for 3584 stream processors in total. Interestingly, it’ll still have all 64 of its ROPs, but it’ll ship with only 224 texturing units enabled. This card will have a typical boost range of 1471 MHz and base clocks of 1156 MHz, and somewhat lower memory clocks resulting in a peak transfer rate of 410 GB/s. AMD claims it’ll be good for 10.5 TFLOPS of peak single-precision throughput and 21 TFLOPS of half-precision throughput. This card will have a board power of 210W, and it’s positioned to compete with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070.

We learned a wealth of new architecture details regarding the Vega GPU at this event, although the short window between the presentation of that information and the NDA lift for this article means that I’ll be holding off on a deep-dive until our full Vega review. The Cliff’s Notes is that some of the performance potential of the Vega architecture, like double-rate packed math, the draw-stream binning rasterizer, support for primitive shaders, and the High Bandwidth Cache Controller, are going to require driver optimizations or developer targeting (or both) to eventually run at their best. Early performance numbers for Vega from Frontier Edition cards didn’t include any gains from the DSBR, for example, and that feature will be enabled for the first time with the Radeon RX Vega release drivers.



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