I still remember flying out to San Francisco for the Vega reveal and NVIDIA completely eclipsing AMD with a secret last-minute media event for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. At the time, NVIDIA had the GeForce GTX 1080 which the Vega 64 ended up beating, but man did the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti lay the KO blow to Vega completely.
NVIDIA revealed the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti at the absolute worst time for AMD, but the best possible time for itself -- beating the Radeon RX Vega 64 (in both air and LCE forms). There were plenty of custom cards available post-launch, with a bunch of custom GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards revealed from the likes of ASUS, MSI, EVGA, ZOTAC, and others.
AMD had... well... a few custom Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics cards but it simply couldn't compete with the sheer avalanche of custom GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards that NVIDIA and its AIBs had on the market at launch.
Vega was born, and just like any star given millennia -- they will die, except in this case Vega died just as quick as it was born.
AMD's use of 8GB of HBM2 memory was one of the biggest shining points of Vega, but so too was the engineering feat. NVIDIA at the time and still even today, doesn't have a consumer graphics card with HBM. Back in 2017, we had AMD pushing out graphics cards onto the market with a GPU and VRAM on the same silicon through an interposer.
It was kinda revolutionary at the time and as a geek I still love what AMD was able to achieve as the massive underdog it was, kinda pushed into a small office space in the corner of AMD while the company turned focus into SoC (system-on-a-chip, semi custom designs for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5) and the re-birth of AMD kicking ass in CPUs against with Ryzen.
Vega was a misfire from then-GPU chief Raja Koduri, who has now joined Intel and will soon give birth to the Xe GPU architecture. We will see how that goes later this year, and more so in 2021-2022 and beyond.
Fast forward to today and we have AMD moving away from the ageing GCN architecture, or GraphicsCore Next -- and into the warm arms of the RDNA architecture. RDNA was born through the creation of Navi, and will be the life force driving the next generation consoles and upcoming next-gen Radeon graphics cards.
AMD has a pretty big winner on its hands with Navi and the current Radeon RX 5000 series graphics cards, with the Radeon RX 5700 XT, Radeon RX 5700, Radeon RX 5600 XT, and Radeon RX 5500 XT.
But even in 2020, the older Radeon RX Vega 64 LCE still swings a pretty powerful punch against Navi -- competing with the Radeon RX 5700 XT for the most part and keeping up with it. It's not too far behind the RX 5700 XT, but that's what Navi was always meant to be -- a much more refined Vega, something I exclusively revealed a few years ago now.
What comes next will be what hopefully blows the doors off of Camp Radeon for the first time since the Radeon R9 295X2 days, where AMD actually pushed the envelope hard -- it wanted to be the champion.
That blood is in AMD now with CEO Dr. Lisa Su saying the company wants to disrupt the 4K gaming market with NVIDIA, like it did to the CPU market with Intel and its phenomenally successful Ryzen range of CPUs.
The next 6 months are going to be like a David and Goliath battle, a Batman v Superman fight that will see gamers and enthusiasts worldwide feel each punch. There will be release after release in September onwards between AMD and NVIDIA and their respective RDNA 2 / Navi 2X and Ampere graphics cards.
And I can't wait.
- Page 1 [Introduction & History Lesson on Vega]
- Page 2 [History Lesson on AMD]
- Page 3 [Benchmarks - Synthetic]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - 1080p]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - 1440p]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - 4K]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Synthetic (Radeon Only)]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - 1080p (Radeon Only)]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - 1440p (Radeon Only)]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - 4K (Radeon Only)]
- Page 11 [Temps & Power]
- Page 12 [Final Thoughts]