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PowerColor Red Devil RX Vega 64 8GB HBM2 Review: Cooling Vega Right

Editor's Choice

Power Consumption

Power Consumption at Different Loads

We measured about 283W during our gaming loop using the driver's Balanced power profile. That's about 3W more than AMD's reference model using its default BIOS. We're willing to accept the higher power consumption since PowerColor's performance is also better. Recent BIOS modifications, including an updated power table, seem to be working well. A 282W measurement in our stress test is also acceptable.

PowerColor's overclocked mode dials in a higher power limit, but doesn't affect the maximum clock rate by default. Even then, though, it exceeds the 320W mark. Worse, performance doesn't improve all that much. As a result, we decided not to get any more aggressive with our overclocking. Rather, we stuck with the driver's Balanced power profile for testing.

The corresponding voltages for our gaming workload and stress test at PowerColor's stock settings are plotted in the following graph:

Load On The Motherboard Slot

At a peak of 2.4A through our stress test, PowerColor's Red Devil RX Vega 64 falls significantly below the 5.5A ceiling defined by the PCI-SIG for a motherboard's 12V rail. A mere 2.3A during the gaming loop is even more conservative. Overall, balancing is well-implemented, and the motherboard slot hardly ever experiences serious loads.

Power Consumption In Detail

The graphs below plot detailed power consumption and current readings in order to illustrate our findings.

Naturally, peaks in power consumption are highest during gaming. But spikes of up to 360W are still acceptable, since they're far too brief to cause a problem.

The same goes for the corresponding current measurements:


In the BIOS' OC mode, we see power consumption explode compared to PowerColor's Standard configuration.

Of course, this applies to our current measurements, too.

During our stress test, the short-term peaks are significantly less pronounced (even if the power consumption is slightly higher than during gaming workloads).

Again, our current readings follow the graph rather closely and show no abnormalities.

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  • Gillerer
    I wouldn't trust PowerColor's quality control.

    My old HD 5850 came with an "Engineering Sample" BIOS with no officially supported way of updating it.
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    Nice to still see some AMD high end GPU reviews on Tom's. Well done. Unfortunately, this review continues to prove that AMD is well behind Nvidia in the upper tier GPU segment when it comes to gaming bang for the buck. AMD just doesn't have the R&D pockets that Nvidia does because they have shifted focus to CPU/APU production. I would love to see an AMD competitor to Nvidia's GTX x80 Ti high end GPU. Their last stab at it was with the Fury X against the 980 Ti which fell as flat as Bulldozer.
    Reply
  • davidgirgis
    "We have a hard time recommending..." -Igor Wallossek

    However...

    "9/10" and "Editor's Choice"


    "Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true" -Robert Plant
    Reply
  • redgarl
    21026800 said:
    Nice to still see some AMD high end GPU reviews on Tom's. Well done. Unfortunately, this review continues to prove that AMD is well behind Nvidia in the upper tier GPU segment when it comes to gaming bang for the buck. AMD just doesn't have the R&D pockets that Nvidia does because they have shifted focus to CPU/APU production. I would love to see an AMD competitor to Nvidia's GTX x80 Ti high end GPU. Their last stab at it was with the Fury X against the 980 Ti which fell as flat as Bulldozer.

    It is the use of HBM 2 and the shortage that skyrocket the price of this card. The Vega 64, unfortunately, is a mining card. With proper undervolting and tweaks, it performs really well, unfortunately, for gaming at this price you better getting a TI. Still, if the price was about the same as a 1080, I would grab a Vega instead.
    Reply
  • eric.m.hudson1
    "I wouldn't trust PowerColor's quality control.

    My old HD 5850 came with an "Engineering Sample" BIOS with no officially supported way of updating it."


    That's a long time to hold a grudge. I've had 2 PowerColor 290x's and Red Devil RX 480 and 580 cards. All of them were great performers and had better cooling than the majority of the competition. Also, they were all unlocked/dual bios cards. I like what PowerColor does with AMD cards.
    Reply
  • Rogue Leader
    Card sounds great, looks awesome, but the price is double what its worth (and I say that as someone who owns a Liquid cooled Vega 64).
    Reply
  • deadman3000
    https://i.imgur.com/BfZBaTL.jpg
    Reply
  • Rogue Leader
    21027991 said:
    https://i.imgur.com/BfZBaTL.jpg

    Was $1100 US this morning, now a more reasonable $719. Still here in the US a GTX 1080 can be had for $120 cheaper minimum and performs basically the same. However at the price where you are its totally reasonable.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    21026820 said:
    "We have a hard time recommending..." -Igor Wallossek

    However...

    "9/10" and "Editor's Choice"
    You should really include the context for that first quote:

    "But even though it's generally faster than GeForce GTX 1080, Nvidia's closest competitor is currently available at a $200+ savings. We have a hard time recommending any Radeon RX Vega 64 with such a chasm between boards best suited to 2560x1440 gaming."
    A GTX 1080 and Vega 64 have the same MSRP, but he's saying the fact that the Vega is selling for $200 more makes it hard to recommend. Although in reality the price difference is much lower in many places.

    Edit:
    21028036 said:
    Was $1100 US this morning, now a more reasonable $719. Still here in the US a GTX 1080 can be had for $120 cheaper minimum and performs basically the same. However at the price where you are its totally reasonable.
    The price delta between the cheapest 1080 and Vega 64 on PCpartpicker US is $30 right now ($70 for red devil specifically). On Newegg.com that expands to $50 and $90, but only because that includes a dinky single fan 1080 that's $20 cheaper.
    Reply
  • hurnii
    Re: "Semi-passive" cooling mode not working:

    My Red Devil's BIOS switch has 3 positions:

    Max OC (fairly useless)
    Middle Position ("Normal ?")
    Semi-Passive Mode

    When switching BIOS, the Computer needs to be turned off, the switch set to the desired position, then Computer PSU turned back on.

    For my card, if I turn the computer Off, set the BIOS switch position to semi-passive, and then turn the computer on, the fan stays off (passive mode) while the OS boots up.

    In fact, when I first installed the card, the switch was already in semi-passive mode, so when the computer booted up initially, no fans spun. Had to shutdown, flip the switch, and power back up. That time, the fans did spin.
    Reply