AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB Review

Ethereum Mining

The latest version of Claymore’s Dual Ethereum AMD/Nvidia GPU Miner (v9.8) includes support for Radeon RX Vega, so that’s what we used for our mining benchmark.

All of the AMD cards run in ASM mode, which requires some fine-tuning using the -dcri command line option. Our Radeon R9 Fury X saw its hash rate peak at -dcri 85, while our Radeon R9 390X was optimal at -dcri 20. After experimenting with fine-tuning values on our Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 8GB, we saw slightly higher hash rates using the -asm 2 switch for alternative ASM kernel mode. Radeon RX Vega 64 didn’t seem to like being messed with as much; adjustments from the default -dcri 30 did little to affect performance in a positive way.

Perhaps the most glaring upset in our chart comes from GeForce GTX 1080, which underperforms the lower-end 1070. This is a known issue though, as the Ethereum base code fits the latency characteristics of GDDR5 better than GDDR5X. Both the 1080 Ti and Titan Xp get around that problem with a much wider 384-bit memory interface. So if you could build your card from Nvidia’s parts bin, it’d be a GP102 processor with a 384-bit bus equipped with 9 Gb/s GDDR5 overclocked to 10 Gb/s. If only it was that easy, right?

AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56 achieves roughly 98% of Vega 64’s Ethereum mining performance at a lower price point while using less power. Although the card’s HBM2 operates at a ~15%-lower data rate, it must employ tighter timings in order to make up the difference so convincingly.

This is going to be bad news for gamers, but expect greater interest in Radeon RX Vega 56 from miners than RX Vega 64.

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  • kjurden
    What a crock! I didn't realize that Tom's hardware pandered to the iNvidiot's. AMD VEGA GPU's have rightfully taken the performance crown!
    -11
  • rwinches
    Just when on sale Newegg and Amazon $399... Gone!
    4
  • Martell1977
    Vega 56 vs GTX 1070, Vega goes 6-2-2 = Winner Vega!

    Good job AMD, hopefully next gen you can make more headway in power efficiency. But this is a good card, even beats the factory OC 1070.
    5
  • Wisecracker
    Thanks for the hard work and in-depth review -- any word on Vega Nano?

    Some 'Other Guys' (Namer Gexus?) were experimenting on under-volting and clock-boosting with interesting results. It's not like you guys don't have enough to do, already, but an Under-Volt-Off Smack Down between AMD and nVidia might be fun for readers ...
    2
  • thomas.moore.ii
    Yawn....... It's 4am here at the party.....you just now showing up Vega?
    0
  • 10tacle
    Anonymous said:
    What a crock! I didn't realize that Tom's hardware pandered to the iNvidiot's. AMD VEGA GPU's have rightfully taken the performance crown!


    Yeah Tom's Hardware does objective reviewing. If there are faults with something, they will call them out like the inferior VR performance over the 1070. This is not the National Inquirer of tech review sites like WCCTF. There are more things to consider than raw FPS performance and that's what we expect to see in an honest objective review.

    Guru3D's conclusion with caveats:

    "For PC gaming I can certainly recommend Radeon RX Vega 56. It is a proper and good performance level that it offers, priced right. It's a bit above average wattage [consumption] compared to the competitions product in the same performance bracket. However much more decent compared to Vega 64."

    Tom's conclusion with caveats:

    "Even when we compare it to EVGA’s overclocked GeForce GTX 1070 SC Gaming 8GB (there are no Founders Edition cards left to buy), Vega 56 consistently matches or beats it. [snip] But until we see some of those forward-looking features exposed for gamers to enjoy, Vega 56’s success will largely depend on its price relative to GeForce GTX 1070."

    ^^And that's the truth. If prices of the AIB cards coming are closer to the GTX 1080, then it can't be considered a better value. This is not AMD's fault of course, but that's just the reality of the situation. You can't sugar coat it, you can't hide it, and you can't spin it. Real money is real money. We've already seen this with the RX 64 prices getting close to GTX 1080 Ti territory.

    With that said, I am glad to see Nvidia get direct competition from AMD again in the high end segment since Fury even though it's a year and four months late to the party. In this case, the reference RX 56 even bests an AIB Strix GTX 1070 variant in most non-VR games. That's promising for what's going to come with their AIB variants. The question now is what's looming on the horizon in an Nvidia response with Volta. We'll find out in the coming months.
    3
  • shrapnel_indie
    We've seen what they can do in a factory blower configuration. Are board manufacturers allowed to take 64 and 56 and do their own designs and cooling solutions, where they can potentially coax more out of it (power usage aside)? Or are they stuck with this configuration as Fury X and Fury Nano were stuck?
    1
  • 10tacle
    No, there will be card vendors like ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI who will have their own cooling. Here's a review of an ASUS RX 64 Strix Gaming:

    http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/graphics/109078-asus-radeon-rx-vega-64-strix-gaming/
    3
  • pepar0
    Anonymous said:
    Radeon RX Vega 56 should be hitting store shelves with 3584 Stream processors and 8GB of HBM2. Should you scramble to snag yours or shop for something else?

    AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB Review : Read more

    Will any gamers buy this card ... will any gamers GET to buy this card? Hot, hungry, noisy and expensive due to the crypto currency mining craze was not what this happy R290 owner had in mind.
    0
  • filipcristianstroe
    LOL.. Vega 56 > 1070 but that's not what im vamped about. AMD needs to get their Mod Edit Language together. Don't you guys see the Vega 56 beats the Vega 64 in witcher 3 1440p? LOL what in the world?
    0
  • FormatC
    Anonymous said:
    This linked review was done with a not stable working 3rd party tool and the results are mostly not plausible. I tried to reproduce this values a few times and it won't work for me. It is very difficult to change Vega's voltage and to get really stable results. It is simply not my style to publish click-bait reviews instead of reproducible and serious results. Sorry for that ;)

    BTW:
    You can undervolt it a little bit, but you have also to analyze the frame times! Only fps are saying simply nothing about the picture quality. With all this ups and downs you get a horrible, micro-stuttering result. About this effect I wrote a few times.
    3
  • TMTOWTSAC
    Anonymous said:
    What a crock! I didn't realize that Tom's hardware pandered to the iNvidiot's. AMD VEGA GPU's have rightfully taken the performance crown!


    You're ignoring the Titan XP because it isn't really a consumer gaming card right? And the 1080 ti, because...reasons? There's an outside chance of taking the value crown. I'd go with that, assuming everyone in this thread who wants one is able to buy one today for <$400.
    1
  • redgarl
    @ 10Tacle... "Yeah Tom's Hardware does objective reviewing" Just no... they are not.

    1080p benches for CPU without 1440p and 2160p counterparts just for example. This is manipulation that can drive sales.

    Guy number 1: Check benches on Toms: "Oh Ryzen sux, I am not buying it for my next 1440p system".

    Guy number 2: Check benches on kitguru: "Oh Ryzen is offering the same gaming experience at 4k than Intel... and they kick Intel butt all over the place in multi-threaded application... I am buying it for my next 1440p system".

    See, I just proved you wrong.
    -8
  • redgarl
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    What a crock! I didn't realize that Tom's hardware pandered to the iNvidiot's. AMD VEGA GPU's have rightfully taken the performance crown!


    You're ignoring the Titan XP because it isn't really a consumer gaming card right? And the 1080 ti, because...reasons? There's an outside chance of taking the value crown. I'd go with that, assuming everyone in this thread who wants one is able to buy one today for <$400.


    This card is the strongest miner at the cheapest MSRP. It will sell really well... unfortunately for gamers.
    1
  • 10tacle
    Anonymous said:
    @ 10Tacle... "Yeah Tom's Hardware does objective reviewing" Just no... they are not.


    I was wondering when you'd show up complaining. I guess you missed the Guru3D article of this GPU earlier this month and their generally SAME conclusions. Provide evidence to back up your assertions every time there's a single negative comment on a review of an AMD product that Tom's is biased against AMD. You cannot and you know you cannot.

    And your 1080p benchmark argument is a fail, because EVERY major tech review website uses 1080p as a CPU gaming benchmark. This is not new either. You can go back TEN YEARS on Tom's Hardware, Guru3D, and others who ran a 1280x1024 CPU gaming benchmark resolution when the high end resolutions were the 2K of the time 1600x1200 and 4K of the time 1920x1080. The other reason your 1080p argument is a fail is because there are a lot of gamers out there with 144Hz 1080p monitors. The rest of your comment is just hypothetical nonsense with no statistical data to back it up, and you know it.
    2
  • P1nky
    Your sweet spot graph is wrong. The right vertical axis numbers are for Watt/FPS (what?!) not FPS/Watt.

    Isn't there a better way to measure the sweet spot that a "bulge"?
    0
  • FormatC
    Label fixed :)
    0
  • P1nky
    Check it again. It's not updated. I see that graph twice now with "FPS/Watt". Used 2 browsers.
    0
  • caustin582
    Just increase the clock rate and pump enough power into a card until it edges out the competition in raw performance. What an elegant strategy, AMD.

    I'd be interested in seeing benchmark comparisons between a 1070 and a Vega 56 both OC'd to their max stable frequencies with the same temperature caps. Something tells me the 1070 will win by a long shot every time. I honestly wish AMD would put out something to get really excited about, but it looks like they just gave up and went with the brute force approach.
    -5