I've never been this excited over a GPU architecture release, or even a new product release in general. Maybe it was the original iPhone... 10 years ago. AMD has had so many home runs that I wanted them to ride the success of Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper (which just launched a couple of days ago and is kicking Intel's ass all over the place) with RX Vega.
I wanted Radeon RX Vega to be the card that finally stuck it to NVIDIA, and made NVIDIA react in the way Intel did with multiple new releases to plug different holes that AMD poked in their ship. It was so far as much as 2016 that it seemed that wasn't going to happen... that AMD could not beat NVIDIA.
Earlier this year NVIDIA surprised everyone at GDC 2017 by hosting their own Editor's Day to unveil the new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, powered by 11GB of even faster GDDR5X RAM @ 11Gbps. This was a big deal, especially with its wider 352-bit memory bus - it championed the GTX 1080 and its 8GB of GDDR5X @ 10Gbps on a 256-bit memory bus.
AMD was left stunned, jaws on the floor at their own Capsaicin event during GDC 2017. Vega was already late, and now their competitor had released a new card that easily thrashed their card that had been out for ten months at that point; the GTX 1080. NVIDIA's release of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was a can of whoop ass on AMD, something they didn't need.
It pushed NVIDIA to be nearly an entire generation ahead, and even with Radeon RX Vega - AMD can't match NVIDIA's lofty performance - a card made six months ago on a GPU architecture released 18 months ago. NVIDIA already has its next-gen Volta GPU deployed in the Tesla V100 card, which also uses HBM2 (but is an enterprise/data center/AI card).
Imagine if NVIDIA does it again and leap frogs AMD with a ramped up release of Volta, and uses the upcoming GDDR6 standard. It could be catastrophic to AMD's long-term plans to get to Navi, which it seems they'll need to fight Volta... let alone what secret weapon/s that I'm sure NVIDIA have sitting and waiting, or coming soon.
Drama, With A Capital AMD
I received my Radeon RX Vega samples just 48 hours before the launch, giving me basically zero time to write a review.
This is the closest to the line graphics card review that I've ever done, and I really don't understand why AMD didn't just push back the Vega embargo by a few days. It would give ALL reviewers more time to do extensive testing and would let AMD give more Radeon RX Vega samples out to reviewers, as there are some big reviewers that won't be getting Vega samples, at all.
I was meant to have the card earlier today (Thursday), and I would've benched everything today and tomorrow, and have my weekend to spend with my family, and then hit the ground running on Monday to hit review NDA by Tuesday my time. Well, now it's crunch time as my sample isn't even here yet - with other press already testing their cards, I'm at a major disadvantage.
It sucks, but there's nothing I can do - AMD should be giving more time to reviewers considering this is the biggest leap in GPU technology the company has ever amassed in a single release. It deserves much more time under the review microscope, to give you - the consumer - the information you need to make your purchasing decision. But when we're all given just a few days to test it end-to-end... well.
Last updated: Sep 25, 2019 at 12:22 am CDT
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- Page 1 [Introduction & Late Review Sample]
- Page 2 [Radeon Packs... A Good Deal?]
- Page 4 [Detailed Specs: RX Vega 56 & Vega 64]
- Page 4 [Test System]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Synthetic]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - 1080p]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - 1440p]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - 4K]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - 3440x1440]
- Page 10 [Performance Analysis]
- Page 11 [Overclocking, Power Consumption, Temps]
- Page 12 [What's Hot, What's Not]
- Page 13 [Performance Thoughts + Final Thoughts]