AMD’s Radeon RX Vega family of GPUs launched a few months ago and propelled the company back into a competitive position with NVIDIA at the high-end of the market. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 competed well against the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 in terms of performance, though Vega does so with significantly higher power consumption. NVIDIA still maintains a firm stranglehold at the absolute top-end of the market with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and TITAN Xp, but hanging with a GTX 1080 is a much better position than AMD had been in for a couple of years. Its previous-generation Polaris-based GPUs competed in the mid-range GPU space, but AMD conceded the lower-volume high-end market for what was essentially an entire generation.
Initial air-cooled, Vega-based GPUs all conformed to AMD’s reference design, but some of it partners are now ready with customized options that inject some more excitement into Vega. Case in point, the just announced PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 64 and Red Devil RX VEGA 56. At their core, these cards feature the same GPUs and HBM2 (second-generation High Bandwidth Memory) as AMD’s reference offerings, but PowerColor has equipped their cards with customized PCBs and massive coolers to quiet down the cards and extract more performance from Vega.
The PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 64 and 56 both have 8GB of HBM2 memory connected to the GPU over a 2048-bit interface. The memory on the Red Devil VEGA 64 is clocked at 945MHz, however, while the Red Devil VEGA 56’s memory is clocked at 800MHz. As its name implies, the higher-end PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 64 also has a more powerful GPU on-board. The GPU on the PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 64 has 4,096 active cores with a default engine clock of 1,607MHz. The PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 56 has 3,584 cores and an engine clock of 1,526MHz.
Both of the cards also have integrated BIOS switches that can alter their performance and behavior within a system. The BIOS switch offers three positions: Silent, Standard, and Overclocked. In silent mode, the card is somewhat slower, but also offers quieter operation. Standard mode uses the default clocks and fan profile. And overclocked mode pushes the frequencies and fans higher to extract more performance from the cards.
I should also note that both the PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 64 and Red Devil RX VEGA 56 feature much larger, tri-slot coolers than AMD’s VEGA reference design, with triple, 90mm, dual-ball bearing fans. These coolers should move much more air than the single blower on AMD’s reference design, and keep the GPUs operating at lower temperatures, at lower noise levels too. A metal back plate and additional cross bracket also add some rigidity and strength to the cards, to minimize any flexing and potential bending of the PCB. The cards are also lighted and offer 12-phase digital power circuitry.
All told, the PowerColor Red Devil RX VEGA 64 and Red Devil RX VEGA 56 should be cooler, quieter, and more overclockable than AMD’s reference design. Pricing wasn’t available just yet, but expect the cards to carry a premium over AMD’s air-cooled Vegas.
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