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Hot Vega: Gigabyte Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G Review

Conclusion

In many ways, Gigabyte's Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G feels like the reluctant implementation of a card it was forced to create. Regardless, the company kept its eyes on the board's most important elements, ensuring the end result is still satisfactory. The cost-cutting is palpable, both visually and technically. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Every performance category typically has a number of more basic models that are just as important as the opulent flagships. In fact, sometimes they're the best options available for value-conscious enthusiasts.

If we consider the Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G to be one of these no-frills models, then, Gigabyte actually does a number of things really well. Yes, we would have liked to see a cooler with a little more airflow through it. This is the first Gigabyte card we've tested in a long time that could have been a little noisier in favor of better cooling. For its weight and thermal solution, the Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G is pleasantly quiet. But it suffers from a hot circuit board due to Gigabyte's design and layout choices. These heat levels are not enough to significantly harm the card, but the temperatures are still unnecessarily warm.

The heat pipe direct touch cooler gets a special mention, too. Although it's typically used to minimize production costs, replacing a proper copper sink or vapor chamber, in an entry-level model like this one, the design works well and deserves praise. The slight difference in performance compared to Sapphire's Radeon RX Vega 64 Nitro+ is proof enough that building a less expensive product doesn't have to mean handicapping its abilities.

Frequencies and power consumption land exactly where we expected, elevating this card's gaming performance to an acceptable level. Brute-force overclocking doesn't make much sense unless you're willing to crank up the fan speeds and live with lots of noise. The better alternative is spending some time finding optimal settings for a stable undervolted configuration, even if a future driver or operating system update forces you to start over. Unfortunately, WattMan on its own is hardly sufficient for hardcore tweaking the way it works currently.

If only AMD wasn't having such severe issues with supplying Vega 10 GPU/HBM2 packages, Gigabyte's Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G would enjoy ample availability and a reasonable price tag. Instead, the card is entirely unavailable in the U.S., and when Vega 56 boards do appear, they're marked up beyond what anyone should pay for one. The accountants at Gigabyte made sure that this obviously low-volume series doesn't cost more to make than it's worth in sales. You might even call that damage control.

Should supply see an unexpected surge in the future, Gigabyte can take its custom PCB and, with a few minor production changes, turn the Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G into the Aorus-branded board it was designed to be. All is not lost yet, and at least that's something.


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  • marcelo_vidal
    With the pricey from those gpus :) I will get an 2400g and play 720P. maybe with a little tweaking I can boost to 1920x1080
    Reply
  • Sakkura
    This thing about board partners only getting a few thousand Vega 10 GPUs goes back many months now. Has AMD just not been making any more? What the heck is going on?

    Seems like Gigabyte did a really nice job making an affordable yet effective cooling solution for Vega 56, it's really a shame it goes to waste because there just aren't any chips available.
    Reply
  • P1nky
    I think you forgot to add the overclocking and undervolting content.
    Reply
  • FormatC
    Read the review. And you will find the answer ;)
    Reply
  • CaptainTom
    To those complaining about the low supply (and resulting high prices) of AIB cards:

    It's because the reference cards are still selling very well (at least for their supply). If vendors can sell the $500 Vega 64 for $600 and sell out, why would they bother wasting time on any other model?
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    20576533 said:
    To those complaining about the low supply (and resulting high prices) of AIB cards:

    It's because the reference cards are still selling very well (at least for their supply). If vendors can sell the $500 Vega 64 for $600 and sell out, why would they bother wasting time on any other model?

    That's because miners are the ones buying the cards as fast as they come in stock. It's us gamers and enthusiasts that are waiting for the high performance models. Bad thing is, we don't matter to the bottom line. All they see and want is our precious money, and they don't care what model they sell to us.
    Reply
  • aelazadne
    Because, the Vendor's making money doesn't equal AMD making money. AMD is losing market share in the GPU scene. With Vega unable to keep up with demand AMD is losing customers who would have bought Radeon's but instead go with Nvidia due to availability. The lack of Availability stemming from August and the fact that even now in early 2018 the Vegas are over priced and hard to find ruins customer confidence. In fact, this situation is so bad that the only people benefitting are the people gouging both Nvidia cards and Radeon cars because at this point there is NO COMPETITION.

    Also, just because you are gouging doesn't mean you are making money. AMD has to make money and they need to sell these things in a certain volume. In their contracts with Vendors, they will require their vendors to sell a certain amount of vegas in order to order more. Due to scarcity the only companies making money are Retailers. AMD is going to have to address this issue otherwise their investors will begin to come after them for bungling so bad that their market share dropped so bag. Literally, the intel screw up plus Ryzen being good has been a godsend for AMD, they do not need a declining GPU market share sparking a debate with investors over whether AMD should get out and play the Intel game.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    20575687 said:
    ...
    I really appreciate the thorough review.

    The super-imposed heatpipes vs. GPU picture was a very nice touch. For any of you who missed it, check out page 6 (Cooling & Noise) about 1/3 or 1/2 of the way down.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    20576533 said:
    It's because the reference cards are still selling very well (at least for their supply). If vendors can sell the $500 Vega 64 for $600 and sell out, why would they bother wasting time on any other model?
    I think you're too cynical. It's an ASIC supply problem. The AIB partners would probably spend the time if they could get enough GPUs to sell custom boards in enough volume to offset the overhead of doing the extra design work.

    The only real way out of this is for AMD to design a more cost-effective chip with the graphics units removed. That will divert miners' interest away from their graphics products.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Almost as surprising to me as how much more oomph they got out of Vega 56 is how well the stock Vega 64 is holding up against stock GTX 1080. Is it just me, or did AMD really gain some ground since launch?
    Reply