Gigabyte WILL release custom RX Vega 64 cards in late October, other AIBs to shortly follow suit.
AMD fans hoping to snag a Vega based custom GPU can finally heave a sigh of relief knowing that Gigabyte along with other OEMs will soon be releasing custom cards based on the Vega 64 and Vega 56 GPUs. Gigabyte plans to release at least 4 variants based on Vega, one of which could be water cooled. While reference cards are already available from AMD sporting Vega 64, Vega 56 and Frontier Edition versions of the chip, it has taken a considerable amount of time for other AMD's OEMs to play catch-up.
The uncertainty with respect to custom Vega cards began when it was learnt that AMD's partners had issues in implementing Vega onto their custom boards. Generally, AMD's Add-In-Board (AIB) partners hop onboard pretty quickly to create custom graphics cards based on the company's GPUs. AIBs are OEMs that create custom implementations of the reference design often in the interest of enhanced cooling and overclocking. There were reports that AMD's AIB partners were unhappy with the way the new Vega GPUs were handed over to them. Due to the variance in the chips supplied, OEMs could not find a stable overclock frequency that works across the board. Therefore, they will not be in a position to provide warranty for factory-overclocked cards. There were also reports that the temperatures reported by the GPU and the actual measurements had a lot of discrepancy.
Exacerbating the issue is the fact that the Vega chips supplied to AIB partners had differences with respect to molding thereby impacting deployment of custom cooling solutions. Some Vega chips were shipped unmolded meaning, the GPU and HBM2 VRAM height differed by about 40 microns while some were shipped molded wherein the GPU and HBM2 were on the same level. This has led to OEMs not being able to commit to a specific launch timeline for the cards. AMD exclusive AIBs like XFX and Sapphire seem to have some cards ready but no launch date is known. PowerColor says that it has not received the DRAM it needs to launch the cards by November. We had reported that Asus has already readied 4 custom Vega cards — two based on reference design and two custom designs featuring the ROG Strix branding. While there were earlier rumors that Gigabyte will not be launching cards based on Vega 64, it is now being learnt that Gigabyte too has now joined the fray. MSI, however, is not apparently interested in building a custom Vega board.
Nevertheless, we should be able to see custom Vega cards at least by the end of this year. The RX Vega 64 has been shown to nearly match the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in most benchmarks, especially in DX12 and Vulkan, and custom GPU solutions could only come soon enough.