AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Video Card Review

We put the new AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 to the test in eleven games mixed among DX11, DX12, and Vulkan to find out what it can deliver. We pit it against the competition's GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070, and in the end, find the strengths and weaknesses of the new AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 for PC gaming. Is there value at $499?

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Evaluation Method

We evaluate what the card being reviewed can supply us in terms of a playable gaming experience while supplying the best culmination of resolution and "eye candy" graphical settings (IQ / Image Quality). We focus on quality and immersion of the gameplay experience rather than how many frames per second the card can get in a canned benchmark or prerecorded timedemo situation that often do not represent real gameplay like you would experience at home. Then we will follow with apples-to-apples testing in with minimum, maximum, and average framerates.

What you see here is all real gameplay. No canned benchmarks or timedemos are used.

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For all NVIDIA GPUs we are using the latest driver which is GeForce 385.12 Beta dated July 31st.

For the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 we are using AMD supplied Beta drivers for press release. The driver installation package is labeled: "Win10-64Bit-Radeon-RX-Vega-Software-17.30.1051-B4-Aug7.exe" Screenshots of the software versions and hardware are below.

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Driver Default Settings (HBCC)

Pay close attention, we are using the driver default settings in Radeon Settings. We always use the drivers default settings. We are using the default settings in NVIDIA drivers. We have always and will always use the default settings and not change anything for the official gameplay evaluation. It is the only way to be fair.

The reason why we must bring this up is because AMD’s feature High-Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC) is disable by default in the AMD drivers. That’s right, this is a feature you must manually enable if you want to utilize system memory as a cache for extra VRAM for games to use. The reason why it is disabled is simple, it could possibly harm performance if you aren’t exceeding VRAM capacity, which is going to be most of the time. In fact, AMD calls the HBCC feature a forward-looking feature that might not be needed now, but might be, in future titles. Let us show you AMD’s own words about HBCC and how and when to use it.

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We have highlighted some important bits, though the whole page is a good read. From this you can see the reason for turning on HBCC is if you have a game that is running out of local VRAM storage capacity (i.e. the 8GB of HBM2 on the card.) Otherwise, it’s best to have it off. In all of the games we are using today none of the games exceed the VRAM capacity limit.