Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition Review: High-End Graphics With Flair

AMD's Radeon RX Vega 64 is as fast or faster than a GeForce GTX 1080 in our gaming benchmarks. That much is well-established fact. But up until recently, the flagship Vega card was priced well beyond Nvidia's alternative, making it easy for us to recommend the GeForce instead. Now that Vega 64 is becoming more affordable, though, it's getting harder to choose between the two high-end options.

The Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition we're reviewing today does cost $70 more than the least expensive Vega 64 model (and $100 more than the cheapest GTX 1080). However, it does add RGB lighting, a big heat sink, quiet fans, a second HDMI port for VR headsets, and high-quality components. In the end, those extras aren't enough to justify such a big mark-up, particularly when the Radeon desperately needs a price break to secure a competitive advantage.

Specifications

GPU (Code-name)Vega 10
Shader Units4096
Base & Boost Clocks1630 MHz
Memory Size & Type8GB HBM2
Memory Clock1.89 Gb/s
Memory Bandwidth484 GB/s
Fans(3) 90mm
Ports(2) HDMI 2.0, (2) DisplayPort 1.4, (1) DL-DVI
Power Connectors(2) 8-pin PCIe
Dimensions (LxHxD)30.2 x 12.7 x 4.5cm
Weight1286g
Warranty3 Years

Unboxing, Look, & Feel

Weighing in at 1286 grams, this card lands between Gigabyte's much lighter Radeon RX Vega 64 Gaming OC 8G and the aforementioned behemoth from Sapphire. Asus goes big on the physical dimensions, too. Its ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition measures 30.2cm long, 12.7cm tall, and 4.5cm deep.

Three 90mm fans are mounted in 92mm openings. With their special shape, a total of 11 rotor blades per fan provide airflow and turbulence, rather than just static pressure. This should prove beneficial to Asus' thermal performance.

The backplate is embossed with an illuminated ROG logo. That plate doesn't help with cooling at all; it's primarily meant to look good and give the card some rigidity.

Plan for an extra 5mm of clearance (at least) behind the ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition. This may cause problems on some motherboards, particularly if the heat sink/backplate intrude on an occupied expansion slot or large CPU cooler.

As we can see from the bottom, Asus employs vertically-oriented fins. At the expense of occupying a third slot with its 2.5-slot design, the company does open up more room for airflow.

The dark plastic shroud covers part of the top, creating room for a back-lit ROG logo. Toward the back, you'll find a pair of eight-pin power connectors that are rotated by 180 degrees and recessed a bit, sitting flush with the PCB.

In addition to five 6mm heat pipes, the board's closed end reveals two PWM-controlled fan connectors able to accommodate optional case fans, an RGB output, and LED headers.


The rear bracket plays host to five display outputs. A pair of HDMI 2.0 interfaces is ideal for anyone with a VR HMD, while two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors make multi-monitor configurations easy. Dual-link DVI ports aren't as pervasive as they once were, but Asus still gives you one. Since the card's cooling fins face up and down, we're not particularly worried about those five outputs interfering with airflow.

Although Asus' official documentation claims a 1590 MHz boost clock, GPU-Z reports 1630 MHz. That specification is mostly wishful thinking though, given a 295W power limit.

In comparison to the relevant reference cards the data looks as follows:

Model Radeon RX Vega 64Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64
Radeon RX Vega 56
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
GeForce GTX 1080
GPUVega 10Vega 10Vega 10GP104
GP104
Die Size
486 mm²486 mm²486 mm²314 mm²314 mm² 
Transistors12.5 billion12.5 billion12.5 billion7.2 billion7.2 billion
Base/Boost Clock Rate1274/1546 MHz1274/1630 MHz
1156/1471 MHz1607/1683 MHz1607/1733 MHz
Shaders/SIMDs4096/644096/643584/562432/19
2560/20
Texture Units/ROPS
256/64256/64
224/64152/64
160/64
Pixel Fill Rate
99 GPix/s104 GPix/s
94 GPix/s108 GPix/s114 GPix/s
Texture Fill Rate396 GT/s417 GT/s
330 GT/s244 GT/s257.1 GT/s
Memory Interface
2048-bit2048-bit2048-bit256-bit256-bit
Memory Type
HBM2HBM2HBM2GDDR5
GDDR5X
Memory Bandwidth
484 GB/s484 GB/s410 GB/s256 GB/s
320 GB/s
Memory Speed1.89 Gb/s1.89 Gb/s1.6 Gb/s8 Gb/s
10 Gb/s
Memory Size8GB
8GB
8GB
8GB
8GB
DX12 Feature Level12_1
12_1
12_112_1
12_1
PCIe Power Connectors2x 8-Pin2x 8-Pin2x 8-Pin1x 8-pin1x 8-pin
TDP
295W
295W
210W180W
180W

Test System & Measurement Methods

We introduced our new test system and methodology in How We Test Graphics Cards. If you'd like more detail about our general approach, check that piece out. We've upgraded the CPU and the cooling system since then to make sure that nothing's holding back graphics cards as fast as this one.

The hardware used in our lab includes:

Test System
Hardware
Intel Core i7-6900K @ 4.3 GHz
MSI X99S XPower Gaming Titanium
Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200
1x 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System SSD)
2x 960GB Toshiba OCZ TR150 (Storage, Images)
be quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850W PSU
Windows 10 Pro (All Updates)
Cooling
Alphacool Eisblock XPX
5x be quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM (Closed Case Simulation)
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut (Used when Switching Coolers)
Case
Lian Li PC-T70 with Extension Kit and Mods
Configurations: Open Benchtable, Closed Case
MonitorEizo EV3237-BK
Power Consumption MeasurementContact-free DC Measurement at PCIe Slot (Using a Riser Card)
Contact-free DC Measurement at External Auxiliary Power Supply Cable
Direct Voltage Measurement at Power Supply
2 x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500 MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function
4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100 kHz, DC)
4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500 MHz)
1 x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function

Thermal Measurement
1 x Optris PI640 80 Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect
Real-Time Infrared Monitoring and Recording

Noise Measurement
NTI Audio M2211 (with Calibration File, Low Cut at 50Hz)
Steinberg UR12 (with Phantom Power for Microphones)
Creative X7, Smaart v.7
Custom-Made Proprietary Measurement Chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2m (L x D x H)
Perpendicular to Center of Noise Source(s), Measurement Distance of 50cm
Noise Level in dB(A) (Slow), Real-time Frequency Analyzer (RTA)
Graphical Frequency Spectrum of Noise

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

MORE: All Graphics Content

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  • darkchazz
    "Missing a thermal pad between PCB and backplate"


    My Strix GTX 1080 I got in July 2016 also has missing several thermal pads on the GDDR5X modules. Many others reported this issue too and I suppose they still haven't fixed it at the production line.
  • Kaziel
    I just bought one for USD599 on June 6th and waiting for all the parts to arrive. I really hope it'll be okay in an NZXT H500 with the 2x stock fans as exhaust and 2x Noctua NF-A14 as intake.

    Do you guys think that my EVGA SuperNova 650 P2 will be able to handle an overclocked R5 2600x and this Asus Strix Vega 64?
  • milkod2001
    @KAZIEL
    That depends how many other components you also plan to connect: Sound Cards, HDDs, Blue Ray Players, etc, ect but i think it would be OK with 1 SSD and 1 HDD.
  • Martell1977
    It would have been interesting for Tom's to make the modification of adding the thermal pads and show how much of a difference it would really make. I wonder if ASUS felt it was a acceptable trade off between looks and functionality.
  • Kaziel
    Anonymous said:
    @KAZIEL
    That depends how many other components you also plan to connect: Sound Cards, HDDs, Blue Ray Players, etc, ect but i think it would be OK with 1 SSD and 1 HDD.


    Still waiting on parts to arrive.

    CPU: R5 2600x
    Cooling: Noctua NH-U12S, 3x 120 Fans and 2x 140 Fans
    Motherboard: Asus Strix x470-F
    RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB 3466 C16 (2x 8gb)
    GPU: Asus Strix RX Vega 64
    Storage: Samsung Evo 860 (250gb) and Seagate 2TB Barracuda (7200 RPM 64MB Cache)

    Planning on just letting Ryzen Master auto overclock the 2600x. For the Vega 64 I plan to do the widely suggested undervolt, +50% power, and overclock HBM2. I have used the calculators and they basically say it's fine, but then again I left everything at stock. Not sure what the values are yet for going about overclocking the two parts so unsure what to put in the calculator.
  • Anonymous
    Wow it matches my FTW 1080 2 years later at 40% more cost. Quality Job AMD!
  • tokeylokey66
    Kek
    Price had went down a little but still a complete joke of a price. More power and heat than 1080 , cost more, released later. Sry Amd you better figure out better marketing and sale strategies or do better in the tech side of things preferably both.
  • alextheblue
    Wow there's commenters that still don't have a clue about the impact of mining, which lingers on Vega to this day.
  • zodiacfml
    Where the undervolting benchmarks if it is mentioned that it is better for overclocking and the mentioned poor exhaust vents?

    I think the critique for most of the Vega 64s are the large PCBs. It deserves smaller PCBs such as found in the Vega 56s to improve cooling.
  • bit_user
    Anonymous said:
    ...

    Nice review, but some Far Cry 5 benchmark would've been nice.

    Newegg now has this card for $599, which I think is pretty close to MSRP.
  • bit_user
    Anonymous said:
    Wow it matches my FTW 1080 2 years later at 40% more cost. Quality Job AMD!

    Due to market irregularities, it's only fair to compare today's pricing, not whatever you managed to pay for your card.

    The cheapest 1080 FTW on newegg is currently $550, after MIR. Compared to that, this card is only 9% more expensive. I take no issue with complaints about Vega's under-performance, so long as they're accurate.
  • Martell1977
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Wow it matches my FTW 1080 2 years later at 40% more cost. Quality Job AMD!

    Due to market irregularities, it's only fair to compare today's pricing, not whatever you managed to pay for your card.

    The cheapest 1080 FTW on newegg is currently $550, after MIR. Compared to that, this card is only 9% more expensive. I take no issue with complaints about Vega's under-performance, so long as they're accurate.


    And it doesn't under-perform compared to the 1080, they are about equal. It's just the extra resources take more energy to run, but doesn't translate to more frames for gamers.

    AMD needs to, at least for now, disable power hungry resources (even if only by a driver update) that don't show any benefit to gamers on their consumer cards and let them remain on data center cards. That should help thermals and power consumption. However, I don't know how integrated they are and if this is possible without gimping the cards.
  • CaptainTom
    I understand that Vega is a "unique" architecture when it comes to overclocking, but I still can't believe how bad "tech journalists" are at overclocking/tweaking Vega...
  • Gurg
    MSI 1080ti Armor Overclocked is $749-$20 rebate on NewEgg.
  • blinnbanir32
    While I do not own this card I do have 2 Vega 64s in crossfire. I will say the biggest problem with Vega AIB and perhaps more components in today's world is how fast these are being produced in factories to keep up with demand. I was getting random shutdowns and blue screens after 2 days of having my Array, I decided to pull the shroud off the Gigabyte card and all I saw was the essence of thermal paste. I put some Noctua NHT1 on the chip and HBM and I have not had a shutdown or blue screen since. I am going to do the same with my Sapphire card this weekend.
  • Rexer
    Had the good fortune to buy a Sapphire Vega 64 reference card back in early November '17 for $499. Had just a few shutdowns overclocking. Most of the time, I keep mild clocks. Other than that, it been a decent card. Puts out a lot heat. Common AMD signature. Exploring ekwb watercooling kits for it. Like a good squirrel, I'm gathering all the nuts on it. So far, the reviews look pretty good.