AMD Radeon RX Vega now official: $499 for the Vega 64 and $399 for the Vega 56
We reported earlier that the first pictures of the AMD Vega consumer edition GPUs were scooped up by the press ahead of their official launch. At the Siggraph 2017 event in Los Angeles, the company has now made its Vega based GPUs official with the unveiling of 3 variants in its Radeon RX Vega line: the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition, the Radeon RX Vega 64 and the Radeon RX Vega 56. All three GPUs will be powered by the same Vega 10 next generation GPU architecture. It may be noted that Vega 10 was already released to prosumers in the form of the Vega Frontier Edition (FE). The consumer versions of the Vega GPUs feature increased clock speeds over the Frontier Edition but half the HBM2 memory. However, AMD was only unveiling the cards at the event and the actual launch date is set for August 14 this year. Fans of Team Red waiting to get their hands on these new monsters will have to wait a little bit longer.
There's a lot to chew with regards to the features of these new chips. Firstly, the specs: the top of the line AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition has 64 Compute Units (CUs), 64 Raster Operations Pipelines (ROPs), and a clock speed of 1677MHz coupled to 8GB of next-gen HBM2 memory with a bandwidth of 1.89Gbps. The Typical Board Power (TBP) of the card is rated at 345W and it surely requires a beefy power supply along with the bundled liquid cooling mechanism to keep the temps under check. Next up is the Radeon RX Vega 64, which is bereft of liquid cooling but features the same number of CUs and ROPs as the Liquid Cooled Edition. The clock speed is understandably lower at 1247MHz (base clock) and 1546MHz (boost clock). Memory specs are the same as the Liquid Cooled Edition. The TBP is however, lower at 295W. The Radeon RX Vega 64 is also available in a Limited Edition SKU — the only difference being a brushed aluminium shroud rather than a rubber one for a more premium look. Finally, we have the Radeon RX Vega 56 which is the scaled down version of the Vega 64, with 56 CUs enabled and a base clock of 1156MHz (boost clock, 1471MHz). The HBM2 memory on this version is the same as the other high end Vega chips but runs at 1.6Gbps.
With specs out of the way, let's get to the pricing: the RX Vega 64 can be had for US$499 while its younger brother, the RX Vega 56 can be had for US$399. Here comes the interesting part. The top of the line Radeon RX Vega Liquid Edition can be had only as a bundle called, the Radeon Aqua Pack which will supposedly retail for US$699. The other variants are available in both standalone and bundled versions. Each bundle will set you back by an extra US$100 but that gives some worthy goodies including US$200 off on a Radeon FreeSync enabled Samsung monitor, US$100 off on a Ryzen 7 CPU-motherboard combo and two free games valued at US$120. The free games would vary by region (folks in the United States get Wolfenstein II and Prey). Whether this could be considered economical or a shot at intentional inflation would only pan out in the days to come once these cards hit the market.
All said, actual real-world performance and comparisons with existing NVIDIA rivals or even earlier Fiji based cards will not be possible until the August 14 launch. AMD did show off a few slides comparing the Vega's performance with the GeForce GTX 1080. The company is emphasizing the use of minimum guaranteed frame rates over average frame rates to drive home the advantages of the Vega architecture. With lack of real benchmarks however, it will be difficult to properly fit the card among the many high-end GPUs available today.
The Vega launch is a significant milestone for AMD and the initial signs are pointing towards broad critical and consumer appreciation. It remains to be seen how they will be lapped up by both fans and consumers in the days to come.
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