The AMD Vega FE is a prosumer powerhouse that falls short of gaming excellence
AMD's much touted Vega GPU architecture has seen its first commercial outing with the Vega Frontier Edition (Vega FE). Being the successor to the R9 Fury X, gamers naturally had high expectations of a formidable rival to NVIDIA's GTX 1080 and above chips. But if the initial benchmarks are to go by, the Vega FE seems to have a lower performance than even the GTX 1070 in some gaming bechmarks. The Vega FE, although billed as a GPU for the pros (the ones who swear by CAD/CAM and simulators), aims to bridge the gap between professional users and gamers. In the Cinebench R15 OpenGL and SPECviewperf benchmarks, the Vega FE trumps the current NVIDIA flagship, the Titan Xp.
The new Vega GPU is anywhere between 25 to 45 percent faster than the R9 Fury X but 13 percent slower than a GTX 1080. With optimized drivers not yet available, it has been observed that the Vega FE's overclocking performance was abysmal with Gamers Nexus not being able to overclock the GPU without halving the memory clock. This has caused discernible concerns among gamers about the promise of the Vega architecture as a viable competition to current NVIDIA's Pascal based flagship GPUs. Raja Koduri, VP Radeon, told users in a Reddit AMA that the consumer version, RX Vega, will be much more faster than the Frontier Edition. The RX Vega is scheduled for a July 30 launch during the Siggraph 2017 event in Los Angeles.
The Vega FE has 4096 stream processors and 16GB of HBM2 memory, which is pegged as a next-gen GPU memory architecture. The Vega FE surely makes sense if you are a pro who loves to game and is willing to shell out US$1000, but it may not be the raw FPS cruncher that fans of Team Red have hoped. It remains to be seen how the gaming optimized Vega cards will fare, especially with their Ryzen brethren having made significant inroads into the next-gen CPU market.