MSI gives Radeon RX Vega cards an Air Boost

AMD's Radeon RX Vega cards are still hard to find on retail shelves, but the recent announcements of third-party designs seem to suggest that the stock situation could improve in the near-future. The latest Vega cards on the table are MSI's Radeon RX Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC and Radeon RX Vega 64 Air Boost 8G OC. Both cards' PCBs appear to borrow heavily from the Vega reference design, though their blower-style coolers are slightly different from AMD's.

MSI's Radeon RX Vega 56 Air Boost card has a slight overclock for its 3584 stream processors. The card's base frequency is 1181 MHz and it can boost to 1520 MHz. For comparison's sake, the reference Vega 56 has 1156 MHz base and 1471 MHz boost clocks. As for the Vega 64 Air Boost, it has 1272 MHz base and 1575 MHz boost clocks for its array of 4096 SPs, likewise just a smidge faster than the 1247 MHz base and 1546 MHz boost clocks for air-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64 cards. AMD's liquid-cooled Vega 64 still has faster 1406 MHz and 1677 MHz boost frequencies, though.

Both cards come bearing 8 GB of on-package HBM2 memory communicating with the GPU core over a 2048-bit-wide memory bus. MSI's cards run their memory at the same speed as reference cards: 800 MHz for the Vega 56 and 945 MHz for the Vega 64.

The Air Boost cards have the same port cluster as the reference models, meaning three DisplayPorts and one HDMI jack. The cards look similar overall to AMD's design, though their black shrouds bear different graphics and MSI's name replaces the Radeon 'R' on the blower fan. Buyers will need a beefy power supply with a pair of eight-pin PCIe power connectors for either card.

MSI didn't provide any pricing or availability information, but we were able to find a product page for the Radeon RX Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC over at Newegg. The price is listed at $600, but there aren't any in stock. We didn't find the Vega 64 variant listed at the e-tailer, but we imagine it will cost about $100 more.

Comments closed
    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    I haven’t been checking frequently but I had heard that the Vega supply situation was greatly improved and that you could get cards again.. well I guess the latest mining bubble has put an end to that hope. Newegg & Amazon show nothing in stock at all with Amazon showing some insane-o markup prices from secondary retailers as the only availability.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    A few days ago I checked Newegg for RX 570 prices, and if I recall correctly (IIRC) prices are through the roof. Like, ~$550. Is this right? Right now I checked again and it’s $270 but it’s out of stock. I know there’s a mining craze right now.

      • MOSFET
      • 2 years ago

      $270 for a 4GB RX470 is still very much “through the roof.” At introduction, that would have been $170.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Why is this the only Vega 56 card listed on newegg?!?!?
    WTH happened.

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      Bitcoin?

        • ColeLT1
        • 2 years ago

        XMR/Monero/ETN and ETH-DCR

      • ColeLT1
      • 2 years ago

      I returned my faulty Gigabyte reference Vega 56 to newegg, for an exchange, got the email today that they refunded my money and no longer carry the item. I paid $420, will not be paying $600 for a replacement.

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        Ouch.

          • ColeLT1
          • 2 years ago

          I knew it was snowing outside, but snow on the screen was a bad sign.

        • BurntMyBacon
        • 2 years ago

        If it hasn’t been too long, you can request the faulty card back and file an RMA directly through the manufacturer. You’ll need to talk to Newegg reps on the phone. May not work for Newegg “Marketplace” stores though.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 2 years ago

      I found the missing Vega 56: [url<]https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac-pro[/url<]

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    My experience with Asus/Gigabyte/MSI/Zotac blowers is that they’re all really cheap and nasty junk compared to the reference coolers from Nvidia and AMD.

    Nvidia’s 1070 coolers and above are great, bordering on excellent.
    AMD’s RX480 cooler was decent if not great, whilst the Vega coolers are exceptional.

    I’d be (pleasantly) shocked if this card turned out to be better than the Vega reference cooler. The overclock definitely isn’t going to help either, so I’d put money on this being a hot, noisy, throttle-fest of a card.

      • Wren
      • 2 years ago

      I imagine it probably uses the same heatsink with vapour chamber as the reference card. I have the Asus Turbo GTX 1070 Ti blower and it’s not bad at all. GPU runs at 82C all the time and clocks hover around 1800MHz but it’s not loud at all.

        • Voldenuit
        • 2 years ago

        [quote<] the Asus Turbo GTX 1070 Ti blower [...] GPU runs at 82C all the time and clocks hover around 1800MHz but it's not loud at all.[/quote<] Granted it's winter here, but my gigabyte windforce 1080 Ti open-air cooler does 63C at 1911 MHz with +40 MHz clock and +7% power. Fans typically at 30-40% duty cycle. 82C sounds like it's at the thermal limit.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Maybe I’m jaded by my recent difficulties with getting waste heat out of my case, but I do feel that something with as much watts as a Vega56/64 or 1080Ti should probably have either a blower or a CLC. Axial coolers are just going to dump way too much heat into a case.

      • mudcore
      • 2 years ago

      I’d like to see some more sites explore this thoroughly but generally I’ve seen the blower style is only system-wide superior if you have no dedicated exhaust fans (PSU fan doesn’t count).

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        I think it’s more than that, it’s about how much space there is around the card.

        In a smaller case, sometimes the graphics card itself acts as a massive air-dam and partially isolates its own intake(s) from the airflow through the case – the warm exhuast bouncing off the motherboard and side panel can create a flow of warm exhaust air that pushes fresh air flowing through the case away from the GPU fans.

        IMO, the solution to this is intake fans in the bottom panel of an ATX case, and then the whole case raised off the floor to give these fans clearance. As much as blowers are hated here on TR, the other thing that matters is how cold the air getting sucked into the blower is. Yes, it has a smaller cooling fin stack, and yes, there’s only one fan – BUT the air is going to be cooler because it’s not recycled warm air, so it cools much more effectively and at lower fan RPMs.

          • UberGerbil
          • 2 years ago

          I hadn’t actually thought about this before, but I wonder if one of those risers that turns the card so it’s parallel with the mobo would make these kinds of fans more effective. Those risers are meant for low-profile cases, of course, but in a larger case it might prevent the kind of eddying you’re talking about and create more of a flow through the case. Of course, then you have the problem that most cases (other than those low-profile ones) aren’t designed for a PCIe card with its outputs turned sideways. But hey, that’s what Dremels are for.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            it would probably help, from a better airflow perspective.

            Around half the heatsink in an open cooler design is wasted because when I’ve seen smoke-tests, the air coming out of the bottom of the card towards the PCIe slot just does a U-turn and gets sucked straight back into the fans on the GPU cooler.

            It’s not magic, it’s just physics – the exhaust area under the card is a high-pressure area and in front of the intake fans is a low-pressure area. The air moves this way very strongly, to the extent that the local pressure differentials actually overcome moderate case airflow.

            If you did what you’re describing you’d probably see pretty significant reduction in fan speeds, owing to the entire heatsink getting fresh air, rather than only half of it.

            • DPete27
            • 2 years ago

            This is why I like the ideas the Sapphire and XFX have put forward with having the PCB perforated so that the exhaust air actually flows through to the opposite side of the card. You [s<]prevent[/s<]mitigate the splash from the mobo and you get the exhaust air further away from the intake air.

            • mudcore
            • 2 years ago

            It’s becoming a somewhat common feature for mid-tower and larger ATX cases to have built in slots to accommodate GPUs mounted parallel to the motherboard as you’re describing. All the reviews I can recall of these cases (primarily Gamers Nexus) show increased GPU temperatures (and therefore lower boost clocks) when the GPU is mounted that way. The primary factor being it puts the fans on the GPU much closer to the side panel, which is typically solid tempered glass, choking the airflow.

            • UberGerbil
            • 2 years ago

            One step forward
            [quote<]The primary factor being it puts the fans on the GPU much closer to the side panel, which is typically solid tempered glass, choking the airflow.[/quote<]three steps back. Not that it matters -- the people who are doing this already have to deal with the heat from 600W of extra RGB LEDs because it's not a [i<]gaming[/i<] rig unless it looks like the inside of Liberace's exploding candelabrum.

      • Freon
      • 2 years ago

      For those trying to cram their PC into small boxes, yes. If you can fit a few 140mm fans in your case you’re fine.

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