After numerous announcements and presentations, new top-end AMD video cards entered the market. Previously, we looked at the architectural and technological features of the Radeon RX Vega. It’s time for practical acquaintance and game tests. Recall that the older model Radeon RX Vega 64 comes in two versions — with air and water cooling. At the same time, the video card with CBO also works at higher frequencies, offering the highest possible performance based on the Vega 10 GPU. In this review, we will consider the regular version of the Radeon RX Vega 64 with standard cooling and frequencies. Let’s see what the temperature characteristics of the video card are, test its overclocking capabilities and compare it with the main competitor in the face of the GeForce GTX 1080.
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
Radeon RX Vega 64 test units come in small black boxes.
Inside there is only a video card without any additional accessories.
The Radeon RX Vega 64 looks very familiar, reminiscent of the reference cards of the Radeon RX 480 series — the same black case with pseudo-perforation and a large logo on the side. But solid weight immediately makes it clear that this is a top-level product.
The length of the video card is less than 27 cm. There are no explicit identifiers with the model name on the reference version.
The entire reverse side is covered with a plate, and there is an additional cruciform plate above the graphics chip. In the corner there are some LEDs (GPU Tach) which are a loading indicator. Neighboring switches allow you to change the color of the glow.
On the side face there is a large illuminated inscription Radeon. In the same area on the edge of the board there is a small BIOS switch. The video card has two firmware, which differ in power limits. This affects performance and operating temperatures. We will see the real difference after testing.
The Radeon RX Vega 64 has three full-length Display Ports and one HDMI. DVI has been ditched like the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, leaving more room for openings and better blowing out hot air.
Even for a simple «air» version of the Radeon RX Vega 64, an impressive TDP of 295 watts is declared. To properly cool such a video adapter, you need a good cooling system. In appearance, this is a familiar turbine-type cooler. Its metal base is a heatsink for all important elements on the board. In this case, a lot of thermal pads on a black base are designed to contact the transistors and chokes of the supply circuit. The GPU die is equipped with HBM2 memory blocks, with a copper pad in contact with them.
The metal base provides a special seat for the main radiator with a window for the copper pad. The GPU heatsink isn’t very large, but visually it’s larger than the heatsinks found on top-of-the-line GeForce graphics cards.
On the side is a large radial fan with an impeller diameter of 75 mm. A special wall creates an insulated chamber and, together with a plastic cover, a directional air channel is created, inside which a radiator is located.
The latter is made up of a series of thin plates with a large copper evaporation chamber. This is a typical design for turbine type systems. The protruding copper pad is used to contact the surface of the graphics chip.
At one time, the single layout of the graphics chip and HBM memory made it possible to minimize the size of the Radeon R9 Fury X board. The new Radeon RX Vega graphics accelerators use a larger board. A lot of electronic elements are placed on the back side of the PCB, a lot of SMD elements are in the chip piping. External power is connected via two 8-pin connectors.
The processor is powered by a 12-phase power supply system (six channels with phase doubling on the IR 35217 controller).
Following the Radeon R9 Fury, the Radeon RX Vega video adapters are the only products that offer a single GPU and memory layout on a single substrate. In this case, there are two banks of HBM2 memory with a total capacity of 8 GB. The side face of such a single silicon device of three microcircuits is almost 3 cm.