AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8 GB Review 106

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8 GB Review

(106 User Comments) »

Value and Conclusion

  • The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is expected to retail for $399.
  • Faster than the GeForce GTX 1070
  • Much more power efficient than RX Vega 64
  • Quieter than RX Vega 64
  • Enhanced Sync works amazingly well
  • FreeSync at no increased monitor cost
  • New instructions, packed math, primitive shaders
  • Simplified tuning profiles in WattMan
  • HBCC
  • Dual BIOS
  • Backplate included
  • HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 HBR3/MST/HDR, video engine improvements
  • Higher power draw than comparable NVIDIA cards
  • Noisy
  • Coil noise at high FPS
  • Fan does not stop in idle
The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is the little sister of Vega 64. It comes in at a 20% lower price than the RX Vega 64, but only has 12.5% fewer stream processors, and runs lower operating frequencies. In our testing, we see a surprisingly small performance impact as a result of cutting down the "Vega 10" silicon, with performance being just 11% lower than on the RX Vega 64. This makes the RX Vega 56 card 6% faster than the competing GeForce GTX 1070 and 12% slower than the GTX 1080, at only $399. I would recommend Vega 56 over Vega 64 for 1440p gaming as it provides perfectly sufficient framerates for that scenario, especially when paired with a FreeSync monitor, which will give you a stutter-free experience even if FPS dips a bit below 60. The saved money over Vega 64 could be used to get that FreeSync monitor, or lets you upgrade other components of your system, like moving from that HDD to an SSD.

I strongly recommend you read our RX Vega 64 review first, at least the conclusion, as that talks more about the features and capabilities of Vega, which will help understand the rest of this conclusion.

The other big surprise besides good performance is how power efficient Vega can be if it's operating in the right clock/voltage band. Our testing shows power efficiency being close to the GeForce GTX 1060, which means Pascal is not that far away when running at the right settings. This increased efficiency translates into lower power draw, which means less heat is generated. This lets the cooler work less hard and results in less fan noise distracting your ears.

The card is by no means silent, but it is clearly quieter than the RX Vega 64, running lower temperatures at the same time. If AMD had optimized the fan profile a bit better (allowing for higher temperatures), fan noise could be well below 40 dBA at full load, especially on custom designs, where board partners will most certainly use better coolers than the AMD reference solution.

AMD is quoting a $399 price point for the RX Vega 56, which is slightly higher than the cheapest GTX 1070 you can find, but the RX Vega 56 makes up for that with more performance. In the power/heat/noise department, the GTX 1070 is the clear winner, especially when it comes to its custom designs, but I have high hopes that board partners will be able to address that. Another reason for Vega could be FreeSync, which has monitors coming at no price premiums, unlike G-Sync. Yet another major feature is Enhanced Sync, which I love personally since it works on all monitors and provides a near stutter-free experience in the simplest way possible.
Editor's Choice
Discuss(106 User Comments)