Blind Test - RX Vega FreeSync vs. GTX 1080 TI G-Sync

Totally unscientific and subjective testing is scorned by many, so if that gets your panties in a bunch, I suggest you stop reading. We had the opportunity to preview AMD's RX Vega this weekend, and we put it up against NVIDIA's GTX 1080 Ti, both using 100Hz FreeSync and G-Sync panels, with our testers representing 223 combined years of gaming experience.

A Little Background

AMD came to us a few weeks ago to offer us an "exclusive" that would involve its previewing of the new RX Vega before its official launch that is approaching quickly. HardOCP pioneered experiential gameplay testing in the world of GPU reviews, and what is showcased here today is very much experiential testing. In fact, that is all we are documenting here today is gamers' experiences. AMD explained what it was offering and gave us a timeline in which HardOCP's coverage could be online before similar showcases done at a Hungary event, and at PDXLan last weekend. At these events, AMD allowed attendees to play on an RX Vega FreeSync system and a GTX 1080 (non-TI) G-Sync systems, and after the event AMD announced which system was which.

While I did like the idea overall, I turned down our "exclusive" timeline, as I wanted to take a bit of time and do the gameplay testing a bit differently. Given that Dallas was for a long time the center of the First Person Shooter gaming universe, you do not have to reach out far to find folks that have a lot of experience when it comes to twitch gaming and FPS gaming in general. So instead of taking the exclusive, I took the time to plan and get some of these folks in for gameplay testing. Our list includes a whole host of ESPorts professionals (long before it was called "ESports"), one formerly of id Software, gaming journalists, and a few "kids" that I know are all hardcore computer gamers. I did however leave my own children out of the mix. So we ended up with what I think is a very good group to judge gaming performance. All of our gameplay testers are still active gamers and quite frankly spend a lot of money on new computer hardware.

Blind Game Testing Procedure

Our procedure is very simple. We set the systems up side by side. We let one player start gaming on "System 1," play until comfortable, then move to "System 2." Once they felt they had a good hold on gaming on each system, we ran them back through the level on each machine again. So a total of 4 system runthroughs, all without breaks. After that, I brought the guys over and gave them a quick interview and asked about performance and value. What you see in the video below is what they had to say. While I had hoped to use three games in our testing, it became quickly evident that we did not have the time and amount of equipment needed to pull that off inside six hours. I chose to go with DOOM because I knew this was a title that all our game testers would be comfortable with and the fact that I invited primarily FPS players.

There is no real editing in our interviews, everything you see is very much in context.

Equipment Used

Both test systems are identical outside of GPU and Display. AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPUs with 16GB of 2666MHz RAM. These systems were sent to me fully loaded and ready to go. So I immediately formatted the SSDs, and flashed the UEFI on both machines. I installed Windows 10 64-bit OS on each machine, and installed the NVIDIA drivers. Also, all gameplay was done on my personal Steam account, so I know that there were not special builds of the games being used. An AMD representative did install the RX Vega into the AMD test system as well as install the driver package. Basically what I am saying here is that all hardware and software was under our control at all times to ensure an even playing field. I set up the FreeSync and G-Sync panels as well.

Both systems were fully shrouded and disguised so as to not be able to tell which system was which. We also took steps to disguise the GUI from showing which system was which. Our gameplay testers were not aware of any of the hardware being used.

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The panels being used are an ASUS MX34V FreeSync display ($720) and an ASUS PG348 G-Sync display ($1300). Both panels are 100Hz panels and both panels have excellent image quality. I actually "dumbed down" the image quality on each panel so we could get closer image quality between the two panels. Do keep in mind that our interviews do not cover actual IQ.

When we are asking questions about value in our interviews, this is where the "$300 difference in cost" comes from, however it is a bit more than that. AMD did not tell us what the RX Vega video card's MSRP would be, so we did not consider this in our value question.


Below are just a few pictures that I took along the way. The initial shipment (missing one panel, but we got it later), a look one of the systems AMD supplied, the system being set up with OS, games, and drivers on my test bench, the systems set up initially in my dining room, and finally the RX Vega card pulled from the system after all our testing was over.

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Blind Testing - RX Vega FreeSync vs. GTX 1080 Ti G-Sync

I hope we have answered any questions surrounding the testing there, and I did produce the video to cover many of these questions as well.

The Bottom Line

I do not think we truly have the making of a "Bottom Line" here. This is simply a preview of RX Vega and its FreeSync capabilities. We are looking forward to fully testing RX Vega with our usual format very soon. If you have any more questions for me, please hit up the discussion link below.


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