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.

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.”

RX Vega 64 Water Cooled EditionRX Vega 64 Air Cooled Edition (Black/Silver Editions)ROG-STRIX-RXVEGA64-O8G-GAMINGROG-STRIX-RXVEGA64-8G-GAMING
PCIe Version
PCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0
OpenGL Support
OpenGL 4.5OpenGL 4.5OpenGL 4.5OpenGL 4.5
Stream Processors
Boost Clock
Base Clock
Memory Clock
(1.9Gbps)945MHz (1.9Gbps)945MHz (1.9Gbps)945MHz (1.9Gbps)
Memory Interface
1 x HDMI 2.0
3 x DisplayPort 1.4
1 x HDMI 2.0
3 x DisplayPort 1.4
1 x DVI-D
2 x HDMI 2.0
2 x DisplayPort 1.4
1 x DVI-D
2 x HDMI 2.0
2 x DisplayPort 1.4
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • redgarl
    I am holding my opinion on the card until I see benches... I think we have more to be surprised than disappointed.