Why The AMD RX Vega Is Ideal For Gamers
AMD released its next-generation Vega RX series of graphics processors to much acclaim on August 14 2017. Anticipation had been snowballing for what would be the successor to AMD’s RX 300 series of graphics cards. The RX Vega comes in two varieties, RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56. Both products are targeted squarely at high-performance gaming and use 14 nm FinFET architecture.
For gamers, the Vega RX series delivers smooth processing of the most demanding games. As an alternative to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080, it achieves comparable performance. The places where AMD’s new processors will shine include high performance gaming as well as the emerging field of virtual reality.
Competing With Nvidia’s GTX 1080
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The next-generation graphics card from AMD faces competition directly from Nvidia’s products for gaming enthusiasts.
In particular, the GeForce GTX 1080, released in 2016, presents stiff competition for the gaming market. Like the RX Vega, the GeForce GTX 10 series of graphics cards features FinFET technology at 16 nm. It uses Nvidia’s new Pascal architecture.
Before the release of AMD’s RX Vega series, consumers in search of the highest end gaming GPUs had been left to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080. Now the Vega RX series has introduced much-needed variety and new innovation with AMD’s latest product.
In the market for graphics processing units, AMD competes mainly with Nvidia for market-share. The market is effectively a duopoly, with Nvidia’s 64.5% market-share edging out AMD’s 35.5% share.
Comparing Specs And Performance: RX Vega vs GTX 1080
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The Vega series comprises of the RX Vega 64, the RX Vega 56, and a liquid-cooled RX Vega 64 at the highest end of performance. Notably, the RX Vega uses next-generation compute units. It boasts higher clock speeds than the Vega’s predecessor, the Radeon Fury. The RX Vega has 256 Texture Units, 64 ROPs and a 12.5 billion transistor count. High memory size in all variants means that you can run any kind of game and experience no memory bottlenecks while playing.
Looking at the differences between the models, first up is the RX Vega 56 which comes with 56 nCU in compute units. These are Next Gen compute units. It has 3584 Stream Processors. The GPU has 21/10.5 TFLOPS based on FP16/FP32 performance. The RX Vega 56 is air-cooled, has memory size of 8 GB and 2048-bit memory interface. It has a 1156 MHz base GPU clock speed, and a 1471 MHz boost GPU clock speed. In addition, the RX 56 has a 410 GB/s memory bandwidth.
The RX Vega 64 improves on these specs, with 64 nCU in compute units. It boasts a powerful 4096 Stream Processors as well as 8 GB memory and 2048-bit memory interface. This variant comes with 25.3/12.7 TFLOPS respectively based on FP16/FP32 performance. It has a higher memory bandwidth of 484 GB/s, 1274 MHz base GPU clock and 1546 MHz boost GPU clock speed. It comes with a memory bandwidth of 484 GB/s.
In its most powerful form, the liquid-cooled version, the RX Vega 64 has 27.5/13.7 TFLOPS based on FP16/FP32 performance. It has 4096 Stream Processors, 64 nCU compute units and 8 GB memory size. Its memory interface, like the others, uses 2048 bits. It has higher clock speed than the other variants, with a 1406 MHz base and 1677 MHz boost GPU clock speed.
The specs for the Vega RX compare favorably to those of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080. For example, the GeForce GTX 1080 has a memory bandwidth of only 224.4 GB/s, which is lower than even the lowest performance Vega RX 56, which boasts 410 GB/s. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, however, with 484.4 GB/s memory bandwidth, is about just as fast as the fastest of the Vega RX series.
When it comes to texture rate, the RX Vega 64 (395.8 GTexel/s), outperforms both the GTX 1080 (257.1 GTexel/s) and the GTX 1080 Ti (354.4 GTexel/s). Similarly, the RX Vega can crunch numbers fast, boasting 12,665 GFLOPS in floating point performance. This bests the 8,228 GFLOPS of the GeForce GTX 1080 and the 11,340 GFLOPS of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The RX Vega 64’s 256 texture mapping units are more than the GTX 1080’s 160 and the GTX 1080 Ti’s 224 texture mapping units.
Pixel shading performance is higher in the RX Vega 64, with 4,096 pixel shading units. The GTX 1080 only has 2,560, while the GTX 1080 Ti has 3,584.
Where the GTX 1080 wins is the number of pixels it can shade per second, with a 102.8 GPixel/s. The 1080 Ti boasts even more, at 139.2 GPixel/s, while the RX Vega 64 only shades at 98.94 GPixel/s. This is an important distinction for Nvidia and explains why their GTX 1080 is in such high demand. However the RX Vega is not far behind.
The Winner: RX Vega 64 Aqua
Experience of RX Vega vs GTX 1080 Ti
In a blind test conducted by HardOCP and the Radeon team, a group of ten gamers played a video game on two different gaming setups. One used the new RX Vega graphics processor, while the other used Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti. The gamers were selected from Twitch gamers, eSports professionals and gaming journalists.
For the test, the HardOCP people selected the game DOOM, to be played at a 3440×1440 screen resolution. The setup for RX Vega used the ASUS MX34V monitor while the GTX 1080 Ti used an ASUS PG348. Both monitors used a 100Hz maximum refreshment rate.
Over multiple alternating game plays, six of the test subjects rated the systems equally as good. One had a preference for the GTX 1080 Ti, while three preferred the system that had the RX Vega. Notably, the gamers who preferred the RX Vega system reported that they found it slightly easier to track targets and use that system. The results of the blind test suggest an experience advantage for the RX Vega.
The Winner: RX Vega 64
Price And Value
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The price for the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is $399.99, available at retailers like Newegg, Amazon and others. Meanwhile, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Radeon Pack), has a $599.99 price tag. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (liquid-cooled) costs $699.99.
These all look like a bargain compared to what you can find for a GTX 1080 or the GTX 1080 Ti. On Amazon, Nvidia was selling the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti – Founder’s Edition for $999.99.
While variants of the 1080 Ti may be obtained elsewhere more cheaply than that, the RX Vega presents a huge price cut on a high-performance graphics card.
The Winner: RX Vega 64
Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality
The Radeon RX Vega series suits artificial intelligence and deep learning but AMD has provided multiple options in this area. AMD has targeted its Radeon Instinct line of graphics processors as a solution for AI. To process large amounts of data and develop deep learning solutions, AMD released the Radeon Instinct MI25, MI8 and MI6 units.
AMD’s ambitions in the AI game are likely to lead to more improvements in the Instinct line. This will also likely see the introduction of various classes of GPUs that can handle scalable multi-GPU computing. The RX Vega series, meanwhile, will serve the demanding compute needs of virtual reality. With its powerful specs, the RX Vega makes an ideal solution for this emerging industry. As it improves, it will likely pose stiff competition to Nvidia’s product offerings for virtual reality and games.
Next Generation Innovation From AMD
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The AMD Radeon RX Vega series of GPUs will delight gamers looking for a high-end graphics card. You are able to obtain high graphics performance at a price that beats what you would need to shell out for Nvidia’s best GPUs. A the same time, the RX Vega will suit other users in areas like data processing or virtual reality.
AMD has shown that it is able to put out innovative products into the marketplace. For gamers, it’s great that AMD has released a competitor to the GeForce GTX 1080, as it now gives gamers more options to choose from.