AMD Radeon Vega RX 64 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 64 isn’t the mining monster many might have hoped, at least right out of the box under Claymore’s current build.

We know that professional mining outfits take these cards, dig into their firmware, alter clock rates and latencies, and coax much higher hash rates from them. But neither AMD nor Nvidia want to talk about how high they’ve seen hashing performance go. Just bear in mind that our results come from stock cards, before they've been tuned for peak mining performance (an understandably critical step when it comes to exploiting all of a card's potential).

Given the price of Radeon RX Vega 64, we suspect that miners will have better luck scavenging Radeon R9 300 and RX 400/500-series cards off of eBay than spending big on $500+ Vega 10-based boards.

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