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AMD's Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 graphics cards revealed

Gamers get Vegas to call their own

Gamers have endured a long wait for the Radeon RX Vega, but the wait is over, or at least nearly. Over the past couple of days, I've been learning about how AMD plans to re-enter the high-end graphics card market with its next-generation graphics architecture. The company revealed most of the details of its Ryzen Threadripper CPUs to us ahead of SIGGRAPH, as well, if you'd rather catch up with that news first.

GTX 970 1050 1178 56 104 1664 224+32 224 GB/s 3.5+0.5GB 145W
GTX 980 1126 1216 64 128 2048 256 224 GB/s 4 GB 165W
GTX 980 Ti 1002 1075 96 176 2816 384 336 GB/s 6 GB 250W
Titan X (Maxwell) 1002 1075 96 192 3072 384 336 GB/s 12 GB 250W
GTX 1080 1607 1733 64 160 2560 256 320 GB/s 8GB 180W
GTX 1080 Ti 1480 1582 88 224 3584 352 484 GB/s 11GB 250W
Titan Xp 1480? 1582 96 240 3840 384 547 GB/s 12GB 250W
R9 Fury X --- 1050 64 256 4096 1024 512 GB/s 4GB 275W
Radeon RX Vega 64
1247 1546 64 256 4096 2048 484 GB/s 8GB 295W
Radeon RX Vega 64
1406 1677 64 256 4096 2048 484 GB/s 8GB 345W
Radeon RX Vega 56 1156 1471 64 224 3584 2048 410 GB/s 8GB 210W

The high-level details of the Vega architecture have been known to us for some time, but the implementation of that architecture on Radeon RX gaming cards has remained a mystery until now.

AMD will be releasing the Radeon RX Vega with two different GPU configurations across three products. The fully-enabled Vega 10 GPU will find a home in the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid-Cooled Edition and the Radeon RX Vega 64. Both cards will get a GPU with 4096 stream processors, 256 texturing units, 8GB of HBM2 RAM running at a transfer rate of 484 GB/s, and 64 ROPs.

The RX Vega 64 Liquid-Cooled Edition will be the highest-performance Vega card at launch. This card will offer a typical boost range of 1677 MHz, a base clock of 1406 MHz, and a board power of 345W. It'll offer peak single-precision performance of 13.7 TFLOPS and peak half-precision performance of 27.5 TFLOPS.

The air-cooled RX Vega 64 will offer a typical boost range of 1546 MHz, a base clock of 1247 MHz, and a board power of 295W. Those figures are good for 12.66 TFLOPS of peak single-precision performance and 25.3 TFLOPS of half-precision throughput. Both of these RX Vega 64 cards are positioned to compete with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080.

The swanky aluminum-bedecked cards you see above are both limited editions, and AMD claims that label is genuine. At least for the air-cooled card, once the stock is sold through, the only way to get a reference air-cooled Vega will be with the black shroud you'll see below.

The most interesting RX Vega graphics card may be the previously-unknown RX Vega 56. As its name implies, the Vega 10 GPU on this card has 56 of its 64 compute units enabled, for 3584 stream processors in total. Interestingly, it'll still have all 64 of its ROPs, but it'll ship with only 224 texturing units enabled. This card will have a typical boost range of 1471 MHz and base clocks of 1156 MHz, and somewhat lower memory clocks resulting in a peak transfer rate of 410 GB/s. AMD claims it'll be good for 10.5 TFLOPS of peak single-precision throughput and 21 TFLOPS of half-precision throughput. This card will have a board power of 210W, and it's positioned to compete with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070.

We learned a wealth of new architecture details regarding the Vega GPU at this event, although the short window between the presentation of that information and the NDA lift for this article means that I'll be holding off on a deep-dive until our full Vega review. The Cliff's Notes is that some of the performance potential of the Vega architecture, like double-rate packed math, the draw-stream binning rasterizer, support for primitive shaders, and the High Bandwidth Cache Controller, are going to require driver optimizations or developer targeting (or both) to eventually run at their best. Early performance numbers for Vega from Frontier Edition cards didn't include any gains from the DSBR, for example, and that feature will be enabled for the first time with the Radeon RX Vega release drivers.