Review : Vega 56 Reference

Discussion created by staggeredsix on Dec 10, 2017
Latest reply on Dec 2, 2018 by kc5vdj

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!




Performance :


First my test system :


Ryzen 7 1700x @ Stock clocks

8 GB DDR4 2400


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.



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


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


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.




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


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!