DirectX 11 Gaming Performance
According to AMD, the Radeon Vega FE isn't aimed at gamers. But you're still able to game on it. We do know the card's drivers aren't fully baked, though. At its recent Siggraph tech day, AMD let us know the Draw Stream Binning Rasterizer isn't enabled yet, for starters. It sounds like the driver package accompanying Radeon RX Vega 64 will be better optimized for this use case.
This is why we didn't spend a ton of time cranking out game benchmarks on the Frontier Edition card. Instead, we chose one title each to represent the three most important categories at resolutions enthusiasts play at. Running tests at a higher resolution also stifles any potential CPU bottleneck.
The Witcher 3 (DirectX 11)
This game’s a classic, making it the subject of many driver optimizations from both manufacturers. That's alright with us, given how long AMD and Nvidia have had to make their hardware hum well in The Witcher 3. Consequently, we should end up with an objective comparison of each board configuration, and that's exactly what we want. First, the average frame rates:
Next, we have frame rate over time across the benchmark run:
Frame times are an important part of the picture as well, so we provide them in line and bar graph form.
Things look good all the way down to AMD's Radeon Vega FE. The difference between Nvidia’s Quadro P6000, which hits its power limit and throttles back, and the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is quite remarkable. GPU Boost’s restrictive approach makes the card look kind of jumpy; you can see the outcome of this in our bar graph:
In order to evaluate smoothness, a look at frame time variance is in order.
AMD's Radeon Vega FE isn't the fastest card in our field, but it does provide a balanced experience that outclasses the previous-gen Fiji and lower-end Polaris GPUs. Even Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Quadro P6000 have to cede the field to the three top cards.
However, frame time variance has to be considered in the context of a graphics card's base performance. This is what our unevenness index is for.
AMD’s Radeon Vega FE naturally beats its predecessors, but only ends up between Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070. At least it's closer to the 1080 than the 1070.
For each card in our line-up, we generated a variance and playability chart so you can compare their results:
At least for now, the results are sobering. AMD’s Radeon Vega FE can’t even compete with the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition. That's just not good enough, given the amount of time enthusiasts have been waiting for a new flagship from AMD. The company just announced its gaming-specific models, so we'll wait for those cards (and their drivers) for a more definitive conclusion. But for now, it's fairly safe to say the Frontier Edition card isn't what you should spend money on if gaming is a priority.
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