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Vega's Almost Here, But Are AMD's Board Partners Ready?

The wait for AMD’s next high-end gaming graphics cards is almost over. The first allotments of Vega 64 cards should arrive on August 14, but you may not be able to find cards from your favorite brand. Only a handful of team red’s board partners have announced Vega cards. 

AMD recently started shipping Vega Frontier Edition workstation cards in air-cooled and liquid-cooled variants. Now, the company is gearing up to release the first consumer-grade Vega GPUs into the wild. Over the weekend, AMD revealed details about its upcoming high-end gaming graphics cards, including the Radeon RX Vega 64 and 56, their $400+ price tags, and their August 14 release date.

With Vega cards launching in two short weeks, you’d expect that AMD’s board partners would be chomping at the bit to reveal the cards they have coming down the pipeline. After all, it’s been nearly two years since AMD released the R9 Nano, which was the last card it released in the high-end gaming GPU segment. Surprisingly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

AMD has several graphics card partners, some of which deal solely with AMD-branded GPUs, such as Sapphire, XFX, and PowerColor. The company also works with board partners that build cards with AMD GPUs and Nvidia GPUs, such as Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI. You might expect the companies that only build Radeon cards would be the first out the door with Radeon Vega cards, but you'd be wrong.

Sapphire announced three Vega products, but none of them offer custom cooling solutions. Sapphire’s Vega 64 offerings include the silver Limited Edition card, the standard black shroud card, and the liquid cooled card. Sapphire habitually offers graphics card with large multi-fan cooling solutions, so we expect more from the company in the coming weeks. However, XFX and PowerColor appear slow to the punch. XFX’s website hosts a banner ad for the Vega 64 cards, but when you click on it, the link brings you to AMD’s Vega landing page. PowerColor’s website doesn’t even mention Vega.

The story isn’t much better when you look at the brands that play for both teams. Like Sapphire, Gigabyte offers the three standard Vega 64 options: Limited Edition, black, and liquid-cooled. MSI is more like PowerColor in that it doesn’t make any mention of Vega on its website.

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Asus is the only AMD partner that went above and beyond the status quo by slapping a custom cooler onto a Vega 64. The company announced that it would offer the air-cooled and liquid-cooled Vega 64 options in time for the August 14 launch, but it also announced that it is building a pair of Republic of Gamers Strix RX Vega 64 cards that will arrive in September.

Asus said the ROG Strix RX Vega 64 would include Asus MaxContact GPU cooling technology and hybrid-controlled fans with FanConnect II support to help keep the GPU cool. The ROG Strix Vega 64 cards feature a three-slot cooling solution with three fans to disperse the heat. The Strix cards also include RGB lighting that supports Asus Aura lighting control. Asus’s ROG Strix Vega 64 cards also offer a “VR-friendly design,” which includes two HDMI ports so you can use an HDMI display alongside a VR HMD.

Asus didn’t reveal the final specifications or pricing of the ROG Strix Vega 64 cards. The company said one of the cards will be an OC Edition with a factory overclock. The standard Strix model may include a moderate overclock as well. Asus said the base and core clock speeds for both cards are to be determined and that we can expect price announcements “shortly.”

ModelRX Vega 64 Water Cooled EditionRX Vega 64 Air Cooled Edition (Black/Silver Editions)ROG-STRIX-RXVEGA64-O8G-GAMINGROG-STRIX-RXVEGA64-8G-GAMING
PCIe VersionPCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0
OpenGL SupportOpenGL 4.5OpenGL 4.5OpenGL 4.5OpenGL 4.5
Stream Processors4,0964,0964,0964,096
Boost Clock1,677MHz1,546MHzTBDTBD
Base Clock1,406MHz1,247MHzTBDTBD
Memory8GB HBM28GB HBM28GB HBM28GB HBM2
Memory Clock(1.9Gbps)945MHz (1.9Gbps)945MHz (1.9Gbps)945MHz (1.9Gbps)
Memory Interface2,048-bit2,048-bit2,048-bit2,048-bit
I/O1 x HDMI 2.0 3 x DisplayPort 1.41 x HDMI 2.0 3 x DisplayPort 1.41 x DVI-D 2 x HDMI 2.0 2 x DisplayPort 1.41 x DVI-D 2 x HDMI 2.0 2 x DisplayPort 1.4
  • anort3
    I think AMD launched Vega because they had to. With the relatively low performance they had to drop prices at the last minute to have any hope of competing with the 10xx series. HBM is expensive. So is cooling a 350w+ card. Looks like the board partners aren't jumping on the lose money train.
    Reply
  • michael_732
    i totally disagree. under what metric are you quoting "relatively low performance"? there are no reputable benchmarks with release drivers to be found. only rumors, speculation, projection, and spin. using "game-mode" drivers on a pro card (where it is an afterthought) have nothing to do with real world benchmarks with real world *gaming* drivers.
    i'm not saying it is the second coming either. it is a competitive card in what is now a competitive market. thank god for that. the real deal with vega is not power consumption either. although the power consumption is notable, it is not remarkable in the history of gpus.
    the real deal with vega is the architecture. it is scalable ! in the 7nm node (next up), the node itself will take care of the majority of power draw. what they are doing atm is tweaking performance like normal, but also looking at places to gain efficiency on the 7nm node. and scale-ability will bring us multi-core gpus as we tackle the *big science* with sub-5nm processes and euv/x-ray lithography.
    Reply
  • redgarl
    I am holding my opinion on the card until I see benches... I think we have more to be surprised than disappointed.
    Reply
  • teamninja
    Low performance? against the only other real GPU maker? I am more surprised by the fact that they aren't as behind as I thought they would be, the jump from Maxwell to pascal was HUGE the fact that they still are managing to hang on is what surprises me THE MOST considering the don't have much money to work with. They CAN still compete on the high end impressively...
    Reply
  • hannibal
    It is quite normal that there Are first normal basic versions and later custom versions. Like Nvidia founder editions that did come out about one month before first custom versions.
    Reply
  • BBBy
    As long as etherium mining frenzy continues, they will milk up a ton of profits from these cards...
    No one should ever think of any option with them feasible or not for gaming for now and short term future...
    It will be not a suprise that prices will be seen like 150-200$ more than MSRPs...
    Reply
  • RedFIveStandingBy
    Vega vs 1080 the only reason to go Vega is if you need a heater-GPU combo
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    20005710 said:
    i totally disagree. under what metric are you quoting "relatively low performance"? there are no reputable benchmarks with release drivers to be found. only rumors, speculation, projection, and spin. using "game-mode" drivers on a pro card (where it is an afterthought) have nothing to do with real world benchmarks with real world *gaming* drivers. i'm not saying it is the second coming either. it is a competitive card in what is now a competitive market. thank god for that. the real deal with vega is not power consumption either. although the power consumption is notable, it is not remarkable in the history of gpus.
    AMD's own promotional slides for RX Vega 64 have it performing about on par with a GTX 1080 in gaming, which costs the same amount, uses significantly less power, and came out over a year ago. In other words, it's only barely competitive now. With the geforce 20 series expected out next quarter, Vega's relevancy seems like it will be short lived.
    the real deal with vega is the architecture. it is scalable ! in the 7nm node (next up), the node itself will take care of the majority of power draw. what they are doing atm is tweaking performance like normal, but also looking at places to gain efficiency on the 7nm node. and scale-ability will bring us multi-core gpus as we tackle the *big science* with sub-5nm processes and euv/x-ray lithography.
    Pretty much any architecture should be able to be scaled down to a smaller process with some tinkering. Smaller process nodes will help Nvidia too, so I'm not sure how that's supposed to help AMD gain an advantage.
    Reply
  • rnewton8
    I want nothing more than for AMD to succeed with their GPUs, but There's a reason AMD has been so tight lipped with this card and still haven't released proper benchmarks or even showing the card in action with an FPS counter. And there's also a reason is it coming bundled with savings cards. It's because the card doesnt perform well enough, the leaked benches are legit, they show the card barely able to compete with Nvidias year and a half old cards, GTX 1070, 1080. If AMD had a competitive card, they would have been marketing it and showing benches. Instead they are doing everything they can to delay and hide the performance numbers. Add in the fact that this card is going to run hotter than hell, especially with that joke of a reference cooler, and then you have thermal throttling issues and a PC that sounds like a jet engine while playing games. I might pick up an aftermarket card in Sept with a proper cooler, but still I'm pretty dissapointed in Vega, as i think most consumers are going to be. And no way Vega will be used for mining Eth. Its too power hungry, and the value of Eth dropped but the difficulty spiked so the Eth mining craze should already be over.
    Reply
  • michael_732
    20006286 said:
    20005710 said:
    i totally disagree. under what metric are you quoting "relatively low performance"? there are no reputable benchmarks with release drivers to be found. only rumors, speculation, projection, and spin. using "game-mode" drivers on a pro card (where it is an afterthought) have nothing to do with real world benchmarks with real world *gaming* drivers. i'm not saying it is the second coming either. it is a competitive card in what is now a competitive market. thank god for that. the real deal with vega is not power consumption either. although the power consumption is notable, it is not remarkable in the history of gpus.
    AMD's own promotional slides for RX Vega 64 have it performing about on par with a GTX 1080 in gaming, which costs the same amount, uses significantly less power, and came out over a year ago. In other words, it's only barely competitive now. With the geforce 20 series expected out next quarter, Vega's relevancy seems like it will be short lived.
    the real deal with vega is the architecture. it is scalable ! in the 7nm node (next up), the node itself will take care of the majority of power draw. what they are doing atm is tweaking performance like normal, but also looking at places to gain efficiency on the 7nm node. and scale-ability will bring us multi-core gpus as we tackle the *big science* with sub-5nm processes and euv/x-ray lithography.
    Pretty much any architecture should be able to be scaled down to a smaller process with some tinkering. Smaller process nodes will help Nvidia too, so I'm not sure how that's supposed to help AMD gain an advantage.

    not true. facile maybe, but not true.
    Nvidia's technology (very impressive) has focused on ever larger chip dies with the volta being the largest and most unwieldy. chip size is directly related to yields from silicon wafers. volta has not (and may not) produced the yields with which one can market to the masses. vega while fairly large, has yields upwards of 80% (according to AMD), and even more importantly it is scalable...meaning with Infinity Fabric (which nvidia does not have) AMD can have however many teraflops it wants...like 52 teraflops from four vega 64 cores stitched with Infinity Fabric with higher power efficiency and minimal lag with higher bandwidth. i predict that is precisely what Navi will bring.
    Reply