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AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 Review

Updated on October 30, 2017
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I'm just a small time guy working a normal job as a physician assistant. My passion is building PCs.

AMD Radeon RX Vega

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Hello everyone, Will here. Today, in this article, I am going to be reviewing AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56 GPU. This is a pretty good graphics card and is AMD’s offering to compete with the top end nVidia cards like the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. So, without more delay, let’s get to it.

Released on August 28, 2017, the Radeon RX Vega 56 is AMD's offering to an alternative to nVidia's GeForce GTX 1070. The Vega line of cards were difficult to obtain early on due to limited supply but they have become more available recently. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one to test from a local custom PC builder who let me borrow the card to test along with a comparison MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X.

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is built on a 14nm platform and features 12.5 billion transistors and 56 compute units. There are 3584 stream processors and there is 8GB of HBM2 memory. The card comes standard with a 1156MHz base clock and a boost clock of 1471MHz. The memory interface is 2048-bit and the memory bandwidth is 410GB/s. The Vega 56 is rated at a 210 watt total power draw (TDP).

Specifications and Comparison to nVidia GTX 1070

The question that I was asking myself prior to reviewing this card was, “How well does this card compare to the GTX 1070 and will it be able to surpass the performance?” So, let’s take a look at the specifications and where each tops the other in specs.

Radeon RX Vega 56

  • Memory Bandwidth: 409.6GB/s versus GTX 1070’s 256.3GB/s
  • Floating Performance: 10,544 GFLOPS versus GTX 1070’s 5,783 GFLOPS
  • Texture Rate: 329.5 GTexel/s versus 180.7 GTexel/s
  • Shading Units: 3,584 versus 1,920
  • Texture Mapping Units: 224 versus 120
  • Memory Bus: 2,048 bit versus 256 bit

nVidia GTX 1070

  • Effective Memory Clock Speed: 8,008MHz versus Vega 56’s 1,600MHz
  • Clock Speed: 1,506MHz versus 1,156MHz
  • Turbo Clock Speed: 1,683MHz versus 1,471MHz
  • Total Power Draw: 150 watts versus 210 watts

Gaming Benchmarks

So, based on the specifications, these cards should be evenly matched but were they? Well, let’s look at some benchmarks and find out. For these benchmarks, I used my i7-7700K system clocked at 4.7GHz with 16GB of dual channel Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM clocked at 2666MHz. All games were benchmarked at 1080p only on the highest settings of each game. I was able to compare the Radeon Vega 56 with the MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X in these benchmarks. All games were tested 3 times and I give you the averages, rounded down to the nearest 1 as I like to compare more on minimum than what I could potentially get performance-wise.

Games tested

  1. Far Cry Primal with HD Texture Pack; SMAA on
    a. RX Vega Average FPS: 112
    b. RX Vega 1% Low: 87
    c. GTX 1070 Average FPS: 115
    d. GTX 1070 1% Low: 96
  2. Overwatch
    a. RX Vega Average FPS: 224
    b. RX Vega 1% Low: 160
    c. GTX 1070 Average FPS: 252
    d. GTX 1% Low: 201
  3. Battlefield 1
    a. RX Vega Average FPS: 122
    b. RX Vega 1% Low: 102
    c. GTX 1070 Average FPS: 117
    d. GTX 1070 1% Low: 100
  4. Doom
    a. RX Vega Average FPS: 200
    b. RX Vega 1% Low: 178
    c. GTX 1070 Average FPS: 193
    d. GTX 1070 1% Low: 162
  5. Rise of the Tomb Raider
    a. RX Vega Average FPS: 92
    b. RX Vega 1% Low: 75
    c. GTX 1070 Average FPS: 94
    d. GTX 1070 1% Low: 71

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Radeon RX Vega 56 is Here

Conclusion and Thoughts

As can be seen here, both cards performed really well in all games tested at 1080p resolution. If you are in the market for one of these cards but torn on which one to get, you wouldn’t go wrong with either one but I’d recommend getting the one you can get the better price on. Right now, it is hard to find a graphics card at or around the MSRP. After researching some prices, it doesn’t look like the mining craze has hit the RX Vega cards yet but remember, your only options in the Radeon RX Vega line are the reference card with blower style coolers. I’d recommend going with aftermarket cooling option such as a dedicated GPU water cooler. Again, both card performed very well but a slight edge goes to the GTX 1070.

So, the RX Vega 56 is a fantastic option, especially considering the mining craze hasn’t cause a huge hit in its prices. I personally would not purchase this card in the reference card version and would instead wait until the partner cards come out from companies like MSI, Gigabyte, and ASUS. Still, at just $475 or so, this is a decent deal as it is in line with current GTX 1070 prices.

Hardware Unboxed Benchmarks

Graphics Card Choices

Which do you prefer?

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