29 Replies Latest reply on Dec 2, 2018 4:46 PM by kc5vdj

    Review : Vega 56 Reference

    staggeredsix

      Here we all were. Clambering over the newest and best AMD GPU. Vega was a word on the lips of every reviewer, gamer and miner. The official announcement was amazing. $399 and $499? I quickly jumped from my chair and started trying to find pre-orders. What a time to be an AMD die hard! Well... launch day came around and I was ready and waiting. My fingers were prone and my wallet screamed "Take my money!"...... Vega was gone everywhere within seconds.

       

       

       

      I managed to find a 56 kicking around at a Best Buy in Fort Collins, Colorado for $550. Not a bad price considering what online retailers are scalping them for. I snapped it up without even a thought. Let's talk expectations. Vega 56 is poised to match up with the Nvidia 1070. Pricing right now for both cards is a bit overblown. The MSRP of a reference 1070 is $379. Vega 56 is at $399. Truth be told you'll never find them close to that. That's okay... If you can find Vega for a good price you've got yourself some gold!

       

      20171207_082207.jpg

       

      Performance :

       

      First my test system :

       

      Ryzen 7 1700x @ Stock clocks

      8 GB DDR4 2400

      ADATA SU800 128GB SSD

      Rosewill HIVE 1kW PSU

      LG 4K w/Freesync

      XFX Reference Vega 56

       

      Methodology :

       

      Performance is measured in a few ways. Average FPS and Realized Smoothness. Realized smoothness is measured on my experience with game play. Each game is tested at 1080, 1440 and 4K. I don't bother testing a massive list of games because I don't have a lot of newer titles. Unless y'all want SimCity and whatnot thrown in here.

       

      Games tested : Overwatch, PUBG and Destiny 2. The reasons I chose these titles is they show a wide range of relative performance across current generation games.

       

      PUBG

      ResolutionAverage FPSRealized Smoothness (1-10)Game Play ExperienceSettingsRating
      4K3767Ultra/Low Shadows/Low Foliage6.5
      1440601010Ultra/Low Shadows/Low Foliage10
      1080601010Ultra10

       

      Vega 56 struggles to keep a high frame rate in PUBG at 4K but I'd expect framerate improvements as this early release title matures. Driver improvements by RTG will further boost performance. 1440p is Vega 56's strong point in PUBG. Smoothness delivered on my LG 4K Freesync display was relatively good. Although there was extremely noticeable chugging at 4K the 56 does a great job. I'd set this title to 1440p on PUBG for the best experience possible.

       

      Destiny 2

       

      ResolutionAverage FPSRealized Smoothness (1-10)Game Play ExperienceSettingsRating
      4K4033Ultra3
      14405597Ultra8
      1080601010Ultra10

       

      Destiny 2 is highly optimized for all resolutions so the 56 really shines. A combination of drivers and engine maturity gives a great game play at 1440p but is extremely choppy at 4K even with the relatively good framerate. I'm not sure where the breakdown is but Destiny 2 has the ability to overload this card's resources and really hurt your experience. I think frametimes are either low or frames are being reused. Even with depth of field turned off the chop continues. There is a fantastic experience at the 1440p resolution on the other hand. The card is able to chew up and spit out Destiny without any issues. I was extremely impressed with this performance and ended up playing far past my 10 minute testing time because I was having such a good time. It was bananas.

       

      Overwatch

       

      ResolutionAverage FPSRealized Smoothness (1-10)Game Play ExperienceSettingsRating
      4K4567Epic7
      14406010It's Over 9000Epic100
      1080601010Epic10

       

      The Vega 56 really stands out as THE Overwatch wrecking ball. I was blown away by the freesync technology locking this at 60 FPS and delivering seriously butter smooth gameplay. 4K was a bit wobbly but that's to be expected when all the settings are cranked up. Overwatch is actually a GPU hog on Epic settings. I actually enjoyed playing Overwatch on this card more than I do on my 1080ti. Honestly? Amazing. The card was taking full advantage of Freesync and letting me play with shocking smoothness. I also tested it at -50% board power with no AA - still had a fantastic experience!

       

      Here's the lame Firestrike benchmark. I don't usually run this unless I get a new card and want to see what kind of theoretical performance my card.

       

      Vega 56: 19120

      1080ti : 28906

       

      Vega 56 gets a huge thumbs up from me. If you can get it at somewhere around the MSRP then you're really in for a treat. The $550 I paid doesn't make it disappointment because I know the retailer scalped me. AMD has a real winner at $399. Hopefully we're able to see some matching production to demand ratios.

       

      Also Vega is a beast miner. If you mine while your computer is idle you're in for a treat!

        • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
          staggeredsix

          I'll edit this tomorrow. The forum kept logging me out and hosing my work lol

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
            feverstriker

            I would love to see a comparison between Vega 56 and Vega 64. Awesome review.

            • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
              darkwolfca

              aweseome write up I hope to pick up a vega once the ones with the aftermarket coolers pop up in stores just a looks thing but still

              • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                walking_corpse

                Nice job! Really like the extra Received Smoothness category, often we just rely on benchmark data without giving it a frame of reference.

                • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                  kxuping

                  Im super happy with my Vega 64 and more now with Radeon Adrenalin that can record Eyefinity.

                    • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                      mattyd7829

                      not to hijack the thread or anything but I also have a vega 64, and I was wondering whether you get the ability to select your compute mode in the global settings area of Adrenaline? I have tried allsorts to clean install the drivers but still do not get that option. Am I missing something? (There is another person with this issue but no-one has answered the thread that he started)

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      eta don't worry, found the answer in this thread. Vega needs no compute option as it is already optimised

                       

                      https://community.amd.com/message/2837889#comment-2837889

                        • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                          staggeredsix

                          Eh. To be honest the gaming drivers aren't that good at hashing. You want to use those block chain drivers. You'll see massive performance gains in XMR hashrates. I haven't tested other algorithms long enough to judge the performance overall. This time I am only mining one altcoin because I can mine blocks by myself. Pretty sweet to kick out an average of $60 - $90 a day mining on three cards

                          • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                            xmr

                            How are the Adrenalin drivers optimized for computer for Vega? The hashing power under the Adrenalin drivers are pathetic. The Vega chip has so much unlocked potential and the mining community is waiting for REAL optimized and stable blockchain drivers from AMD. I am waiting with bated breath for the day AMD can deliver an integrated driver that are optimized for both compute and gaming.

                              • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                staggeredsix

                                Without the blockchain driver's installed I am getting 150 MH on the coin I mine during idle times. The mining community has yet to totally optimize for Vega. Currently I'm running a custom kernel for the algo I have my Vega on. I'm pushing between 2 to 4 blocks a day that equates to $80 to $160 a day return. XMR is absolutely not the most profitable to hash right now. Also to protect my current mining income I apologize but I wont be giving out the current crypto I'm on

                          • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                            colesdav

                            Hi,

                             

                            Nice post.


                            Since GPU prices are starting to drop...  I was looking for a new Vega 64 or 56 non-reference design that would fit into 2 PCIe slots high.
                            There are some new Vega 56 cards out now with R9 Nano style PCB's.
                            Here are the links.

                             

                            AXRX VEGA 56 8GBHBM2-2D2HD/OC - PowerColor

                            AMD Radeon™ RX Vega 56 HBM2 8GB 3xDP HDMI Double Dissipation - RX-VEGALDFF6
                            SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX Vega 56 – The Heart. The Beat. The Game.


                            I am most interested in the Powercolor Vega 56 Red Dragon. That will definitely fit in 2 slots high.
                            There are a couple of initial reviews here is the best one I have seen so far, if anyone is interested:
                            Unleashing The AMD Powercolor Red Dragon Vega 56! - YouTube

                             

                            I like the look of the XFX backplate and side panel. Not so sure about the red fans on the bottom. That is also supposed to be two slots high.
                            Unfortunately the Sapphire Pulse is > 2 slots high. I do not like the design, but the PCB might be better.

                            Here is an interesting video looking at it versus the R9 Nano and Sapphire Nitro.
                            Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 56 Pulse - Vega mit Nano-PCB - YouTube


                            If anyone gets their hands on one of the above Vega 56 AIB cards I would be interested to hear what you think of it.
                            I need another GPU with >4GB VRAM. 
                            My options from AMD is either purchase an old R9 390x for ~ 350, which I do not want to do or purchase second hand Vega 64/or 56 reference design.

                             

                            It is a pity that Powercolor have not launched a two slot high Vega 64 Red Dragon with the same cooler style and short R9 Nano style PCB. 
                            Even if it did not perform as well as the Vega 64 Red Dragon, at least it would fit in my motherboard w/o blocking any other PCIe slots.

                            All of the AIB Vega 64's I have seen so far are 2.5-3 slot high and perform ~ same as a GTX1080 based on reviews I have seen.
                            I have not seen any reviews using the latest Adrenalin Drivers with AIB cards though.

                             

                            Bye.

                            • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                              colesdav

                              Hi,

                               

                              Here is PowerColor Red Dragon Vega 56 review.
                              I think this is the best Vega 56 gaming card so far:
                              PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 56 Review - YouTube
                              I would buy one of these provided the price was o.k., pity no Vega 64 version.

                               

                              Bye.

                              • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                colesdav

                                Hi,

                                 

                                Here is a breakdown of the PowerColor Vega 56 Red Dragon PCB for anyone who may be interested.

                                PCB Breakdown: RX VEGA Nano / sapphire Pulse / Powercolor Red Dragon / XFX air - YouTube

                                 

                                Bye.

                                • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                  colesdav

                                  Hi.

                                   

                                  PowerColor Vega 56 Nano Review. Performs similarly to R9 Nano / Fury X on Superposition Benchmark.

                                  Powercolor RX Vega 56 Nano Review - YouTube

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  Bye.

                                    • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                      wimpzilla

                                      Hello,


                                      Thank you for the review.

                                      I think, as you said, something is maybe wrong with the drivers or the card configuration.
                                      3.1K at Superposition is what i score with my R9 290 under water highly overclocked.
                                      So not sure the card is running properly, even for being a nano, there is another nano review on youtube, running without issues.

                                       

                                      Would maybe mail AMD and PowerColor about, asking if something need to be updated, as bios, driver, OS.

                                       

                                      Thanks you a lot, greetings.

                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                        • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                          colesdav

                                          Hi,


                                          Thanks for the reply.

                                           

                                          RE: there is another nano review on youtube, running without issues.

                                           

                                          Could you please provide a link to that review?

                                           

                                          I believe this RX Vega 56 Nano card has the same PCB as the RX Vega 56 Red Dragon.
                                          I have not seen detailed reviews of the RX Vega 56 Red Dragon, which is the only other 2 slot high AIB Vega Card available today unfortunately.
                                          However the Vega Nano has ~ half the heatsink volume of the RX Vega 56 Red Dragon.

                                          The Vega 56 GPU on the PowerColor Vega 56 Nano might be especially selected to have better Performance/Power however all things being equal, loosing 1/2 the heatsink will mean that the GPU  will run at lower frequency at same temperature and voltage and load.

                                           

                                          Perhaps the use of MSI Afterburner monitoring impacted the card performance.

                                          These days we are advised to only use Radeon Adrenalin Wattman to overclock or monitor the GPU Performance.

                                           

                                          In any case, it is good to see that PowerColor have gone ahead and produces an R9 Nano  form factor.
                                          I hope that AMD will produce a Vega 56 and 64 refresh on a better 7nm process with higher bandwidth HBM2 so that the refreshed Vega will run at

                                          or above the GTX1080Ti performance.
                                          I have seen numbers of 1.35x performance, 1/2 the power consumption and ~ twice the density (1/2 die size?)
                                          Hopefully the refreshed Vega chips will be able to drop in to existing PCB designs, and if the die size is indeed half, the GPU cost should drop.
                                          If that happens, then PowerColor "Vega Refresh" Nano should be a brilliant product and may in fact be the normal form factor for all Vega GPU with HBM2.

                                           

                                          Bye.

                                        • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                          wimpzilla

                                          Hello,

                                           

                                          Here the second part of the Powercolor Nano V56:

                                          Vega 56 Nano Part 2 - The Redemption (and one major flaw) - YouTube

                                        • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                          colesdav

                                          Hi.

                                           

                                          Does anyone have an MSI AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB Air Boost Graphics Card or the MSI AMD Radeon RX VEGA 56 Air Boost OC 8GB edition.
                                          Are these cards simply AMD reference edition cards with an MSI sticker on them or are there significant differences to a reference Vega 56?

                                           

                                          I have seen one review of these MSI cards but no detail on how they differ to a reference Vega 56 other than one version is factory overclocked.
                                          Likely could overclock the card yourself anyhow.

                                           

                                          Thanks.

                                            • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                              kc5vdj

                                              Great for cooking eggs for breakfast too!

                                               

                                              These mods WILL void your warranty!

                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                                  colesdav

                                                  I was thinking - if you look at the apprach that AMD have taken with the RX590. It looks like they taped out the same RX580 design, migrating it from Global Foundries 14 nm to 12 nm, keeping exactly the same die size anf floorplan according to this: Radeon RX 590 Review: AMD’s First 12nm GPU Hits 225W - Tom's Hardware It looks like the 12nm process saves power initially, which is then blown away in effort to run the RX590 8GB GPU as fast as possible.

                                                   

                                                  So - Why don't AMD work with PowerColor and allow users to increase the Power limit in Wattman for those PowerColor RX Vega 56 GPU's?
                                                  They already take more power than a GTX1070 anyhow, so why not increase the power limit further and blow the doors off the GTX1070Ti?
                                                  Whilst they are at it, please let me overclock HBM on R9 Fury X & Nano.

                                                    • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                                      kc5vdj

                                                      Well, I guess BIOS modding could be done...

                                                       

                                                      Still, from the video I saw some months back on doing this, the power draw and heat output would also probably give the card drastically shorter life than expected for a Vega56.  Then again, I've been seeing some really good Vega56 deals for ex-mining cards on eBay, so given their already questionable history, if the right deal can be found, and someone has money burning a hole in their pocket, and is willing to see how long a card can last with such mods not expecting it to last too long.....

                                                       

                                                      Also, for us Yanks, Winter has arrived...  It could serve dual purpose as a room heater too

                                                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                        • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                                          colesdav

                                                          RE: Well, I guess BIOS modding could be done...


                                                          Hi,

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          1. I think BIOS modding is locked down now?
                                                          2. I get the impression that people have managed to flash the RX Vega 64 Liquid BIOS onto PowerColor RX Vega 56 RX Vega 56 Red Dragon if it has Samsung HBM2.
                                                          3. I get the impression that you cannot flash the RX Vega 64 Liquid BIOS onto PowerColor RX Vega 56 RX Vega 56 Red Dragon if it has Hynix HBM2.

                                                          I see reports that trying that causes corrupted BIOS on the card.

                                                          I am trying to work out exactly what could be done with those PowerColor RX Vega 56 Red Dragon cards because they look very interesting.


                                                          Problem is it is pot luck which HBM2 you get. I have asked PowerColor and 'you get what you get', in terms of the HBM2.

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          Meantime I just managed to find and buy a brand new XFX RX Vega 64 Liquid at reasonable price after hunting one down for ages.
                                                          I have been running testing on it on a motherboard with an i7-4790K CPU.
                                                          It has Samsung HBM2 and it runs stable at 1100 MHz and that gives a serious jump in performance.
                                                          You can check out my initial overclocking results here: AMD Red Team 3DMark Scoreboard

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          Since the RX Vega 64 Liquid is still quite expensive versus RX Vega 56 Red Dragon, and that Red Dragon is selling for ~ 350 + 3 free games I am so tempted to buy one, hope it has Samsung memory, Flash a Vega 64 Liquid BIOS on it and run it as a secondary Crossfire card to the RX Vega 64 Liquid.

                                                           

                                                          Alternatively I could try to see if I can buy a new XFX RX Vega 64 Liquid from the same seller and run two in Crossfire but fitting 2xAIO rad's in a Corsair 650D case along with an H100i Watercooler for the i74790K is ... pretty much impossible, w/o leaving the PC case open or somehow drilling hole in the case to let those GPU AIO rads sit outside the PC.

                                                           

                                                          As for winter - yes I am looking forward to winter so I can open up the doors and windows, get the room temp down even more and improve my 3D Mark scores ... don't worry I wrap up and wear a coat, hat and gloves. Aslo ear defenders, to cut out the complaining from other people in the house ... .

                                                           

                                                          Bye.

                                                            • Re: Review : Vega 56 Reference
                                                              kc5vdj

                                                              As for winter - yes I am looking forward to winter so I can open up the doors and windows, get the room temp down even more and improve my 3D Mark scores ... don't worry I wrap up and wear a coat, hat and gloves. Aslo ear defenders, to cut out the complaining from other people in the house ... .

                                                              You are evil!  Muahahahahahah!

                                                              1 of 1 people found this helpful