At this point, one must give credit to AMD for their marketing program for the Radeon RX Vega. The company has opted to drip feed information over many months, and as a result this has kept the public interested in the architecture and consumer RX Vega cards. Since it was by name back in the spring of 2016, we’ve had architecture previews, product teasers, and even a new Frontier Editions to tide us over.  Suffice it to say, there’s a great deal of fascination in finally seeing the products AMD has been beating the drums about for so long.

To that end, there’s good news today and there’s bad news today. In the interest of expediency, I may as well start with the bad news: today is not the launch day for the Radeon RX Vega. In fact, only right before this embargo expired did AMD even announce a launch date: August 14th. So for reviews, performance analyses, and of course purchasing, everyone will have to hold on just a bit longer.

The good news then is that even if today isn’t the Radeon RX Vega launch, AMD is finally making significant progress towards it by announcing the cards, the specifications, and the pricing. Gamers may not be able to buy the cards quite yet, but everyone is going to have some time to size up the situation before the proper launch of the cards next month. Overall this situation is very similar to the unveiling of the Radeon R9 290 series, where AMD announced the cards at a product showcase before launching them the following month.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the Radeon RX Vega family of cards and their specifications.

AMD Radeon RX Series Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 AMD Radeon R9 Fury X
Stream Processors 4096
(64 CUs)
(64 CUs)
(56 CUs)
(64 CUs)
Texture Units 256 256 224 256
ROPs 64 64 64? 64
Base Clock 1406MHz 1247MHz 1156MHz N/A
Boost Clock 1677MHz 1546MHz 1471MHz 1050MHz
Memory Clock 1.89Gbps HBM2 1.89Gbps HBM2 1.6Gbps HBM2 1Gbps HBM
Memory Bus Width 2048-bit 2048-bit 2048-bit 4096-bit
Transistor Count 12.5B 12.5B 12.5B 8.9B
Board Power 345W 295W 210W 275W
Manufacturing Process GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm TSMC 28nm
Architecture GCN 5 GCN 5 GCN 5 GCN 3
GPU Vega 10 Vega 10 Vega 10 Fiji
Launch Date 08/14/2017 08/14/2017 08/14/2017 06/24/2015
Launch Price $699* $499/599* $399/499* $649

All told, AMD will be releasing 3 different RX Vega cards. All 3 cards are based on the same GPU, Vega 10, which powers the already released Radeon Vega Frontier Edition. So if you’re familiar with that card, then you should have an idea of what to expect here.

The top of AMD’s lineup is the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition. This is a fully enabled Vega 10 card and it has the highest clockspeeds and highest power requirements of the stack. All told, this is 64 CUs, 64 ROPs, boosting to 1677MHz, and paired with 8GB of HBM2 memory clocked at 1.89Gbps. Typical board power for the card is rated at 345W. To cool such a card, you of course will want liquid cooling, and living up to the name the card, AMD has included just that, thanks to a pump and 120mm radiator.

The second member of AMD’s lineup is the shorter-named vanilla Radeon RX Vega 64. Unlike its liquid cooled predecessor, this is a traditional blower-type air cooled card. And for the purposes of AMD’s product stack, the company is treating the vanilla Vega 64 as the “baseline” card for the Vega 64 family. This means that the company’s performance projections are based on this card, and not the higher-clocked liquid cooled card.

The vanilla Vega 64 utilizes the same fully enabled Vega 10 GPU, with 64 CUs and 64 ROPs. The card’s reduced cooling capacity goes hand-in-hand with slightly lower clockspeeds of 1247MHz base and 1546MHz boost. Paired up with the Vega GPU itself is the same 8GB of HBM2 as on the liquid cooled card, still running at 1.89Gbps for 484GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Finally, this card ships with a notably lower TBP than the liquid cooled card, bringing it down by 50W to 295W.

Meanwhile, unlike any of the other cards in the RX Vega family, the Vega 64 will come in two shroud design options. AMD’s reference shroud is a plastic/rubber design similar to what we saw on the reference Radeon RX 480 launched last year. AMD will also have a “limited edition” version of the card with the same hardware specifications, but replacing the rubber shroud with a brushed aluminum shroud, very similar to the one found on the Vega Frontier Edition. Though it’s important to note that the only difference between these two cards is the material of the shroud; the cards are otherwise identical, PCBs, performance, cooling systems, and all.

On that note, AMD has only released a limited amount of information on the cooler design of the Vega 64, which is of particular interest as it’s an area where AMD struggled on the R9 290 and RX 480 series. We do know that the radial fan is larger, now measuring 30mm in radius (60mm in diameter). The fan in turn is responsible for cooling a heatsink that’s attached to the Vega 10 GPU + memory package via a vapor chamber, a typical design choice for high performance, high TDP video cards.

Finally, the last member of the RX Vega family is the Radeon RX Vega 56. The obligatory cut-down member of the group, this card gets a partially disabled version of the Vega 10 GPU with only 56 of 64 CUs enabled. On the clockspeed front, this card also sees reduced GPU and memory clockspeeds; the GPU runs at 1156MHz base and 1471MHz boost, while the HBM2 memory runs at 1.6Gbps (for 410GB/sec of memory bandwidth). Following the traditional cut-down card model, this lower performing card is also lower power – and quite possibly the most power efficient RX Vega card – with a 210W TDP, some 85W below the Vega 64. Meanwhile, other than its clockspeed the card’s HBM2 memory is untouched, shipping with the same 8GB of memory as the other RX Vega members.

Moving on, perhaps the burning question for many readers now that they have the specifications in hand is expected performance, and this is something of a murky area. AMD has published some performance slides for the Vega 64, but they haven’t taken the time to extensively catalog what they see as the competition for the card and where the RX Vega family fits into that. Instead, what we’ve been told is to expect the Vega 64 to “trade blows” with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080.

In terms of numbers, the few numbers that the company has published have focused on minimum framerates over average framerates, opting to emphasize smoothness and the advantage they believe to have over the aforementioned GTX 1080. As always, competitive numbers should be taken with a (large) grain of salt, but for the time being this is the best guidance we have on what to expect for the RX Vega family’s performance.

Otherwise for the Vega 64 Liquid and Vega 56, we don’t have any other performance figures. Expect the former to outperform the air cooled Vega 64 – though perhaps not massively – while the Vega 56 will come in notably lower.

Buying RX Vega: Prices & Bundles
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  • CiccioB - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    Yeah, you are right. It was Polaris. I often mismatch them as they both are similar. My fault.
  • lordken - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    Well even if Vega will slot in between 1080-ti in performance it won't survive long IMHO. NV can further slash 1080 and 1070 prices (as they milked enough) and I can't see how Vega would sell. I guess AMD can't go much lower with price either...
    Not to mention AMD lost many potential buyers after NV dropped Ti and lowered 1080 price few months back.
  • Outlander_04 - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    You do know that its hard to find a polaris card because demand is so high, right?
  • CiccioB - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    Not to mention AMD lost many potential buyers after NV dropped Ti and lowered 1080 price few months back.

    That was surely not for any AMD concurrency. There was zero from that front.
    It simply meant nvidia touched the maximum margins it could have with those products (it is a thing that limits the market even in a monopoly) and had to lower them to raise the number of sold units = higher volumes of money in nevertheless.
    I bet that Vega will not change nvidia prices. Too few, too late and in very limited quantity. AMD has not interests in selling Vega in consumer market apart from a showcase: it costs them too much. And HBM2 is not that abundant.
  • giantmonkey101 - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    Honestly Vega is looking like an amazing upgrade for me check out these numbers i calculated

    35% to 45% increase in performance upgrading to the liquid cooled Vega 64@1677Mhz over my r9 fury@1000Mhz, even higher minimum framerates for smoother gameplay according to their numbers and i get Enhanced Vsync as well since its not available on Fiji has of yet. Consider i saw 30% to 35% going from an r9 290 to a R9 Fury non x in gaming, this is even better for me. yes if you own a 1080 or especially 1080 ti this is not an upgrade path lol unless you wanna get into the Radeon Ecosystem of course.
  • giantmonkey101 - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    Also these are based on current numbers, if you add in DSBR support on day one launch and Super fine wine tech like massive fp16 performance in Vega and other tech features you will see even greater numbers in the future also increases in optimisation in games just like the rx 480 saw 10% performance gain over 6 months which put it trading blows with a 1060 eventually in DX11 and DX12.
  • Ymir - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    DSBR was already enabled for the AMD tests in the slide deck. It shows an 18% increase on Doom compared to the FE on a driver that is not out to the public yet. DSBR is not a magical thing that will make everything lovely. Look for the tech articles on it at retail launch.
  • syrious - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    These cards are so ugly.
  • fanofanand - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    I was very excited for Vega. Along the way, I simply got bored and lost interest. Sorry AMD, but you aren't just late this time, you still haven't even shown up. These cards were supposed to be launched a LONG time ago, with the most recent statements saying July. Well here we are in August and nobody can buy one.
  • milkod2001 - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    On 14th August Vega 64 with custom cooler from ASUS should be available. That's less than 2 weeks to wait ,we still don't know about its performance apart from AMD claiming it will be very competitive. I can see 2 possibilities there: Vega is quite pathetic product with average performance and super high power draw or Vega is great and AMD as usual suck big time at advertising its products.

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