AMD Vega: Frontier Edition Review & In-Depth Benchmark


“Disillusioned and confused” could describe much of the reaction to preliminary AMD Vega: Frontier Edition trying out and critiques. The card’s marketplace positioning is relatively perplexing, possessing neither the professional-degree motive force certification nor the gaming-level rate positioning. This makes Vega: FE ($one thousand) a totally in particular located card. Like the Titan XP, it doesn’t precisely appear like the pleasant price: performance argument for a large portion of the market. But that’s OK – it doesn’t need to be, and it’s not looking to be. The issue is, although that AMD’s Vega structure has been goodbye hyped, see you later late, that customers in our section are seeking out any signal of competition with nVidia’s high-quit. It simply so happens that, in large part thanks to AMD’s decision to go together with “Vega” because of the name of its first Vega arch card, the identical users saw Vega: FE as an inbound do-all flagship.

AMD Vega: Frontier Edition Review & In-Depth Benchmark 1

Today, we’re focusing our overview efforts maximum closely on strength, thermals, and noise, with the heaviest consciousness on power and thermals. Some of this consists of strength draw vs. Time charts, like when Blender is engaged in long render cycles, and other exams consist of noise-normalized temperature checking out. We’ve additionally were given gaming benchmarks, synthetics (FireStrike, TimeSpy), and manufacturing benchmarks (Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, Creo, Catia); however, the ones all get hold of less cognizance than our primary thermal/electricity analysis. This attention is because the thermal and electricity conduct can be extrapolated linearly to Vega’s future supplements, and we figure it’s a manner to provide a unique set of data for a evaluation.

Again, a massive part of our assessment is heavily targeted on thermals, electricity, and noise, as we suppose we will cowl those factors of this card most effectively, with some extra exams for manufacturing, gaming, and FireStrike. Before all and sundry starts screaming that this “isn’t a gaming card,” let’s clarify some matters:


For our thermals, energy, and noise checking out, that doesn’t remember. Those things don’t exchange too much based on the use case (strength does a chunk, but so long as the GPU is loaded down, we’re correctly). We cognizance plenty on thermals and noise in our critiques, so it follows that we need to deliver Vega: FE the same remedy.

Secondly, and greater importance, Vega: FE and its advertising and marketing have been enshrouded at least partly in both confusion or disillusionment by the community, relying on who’s requested. We spoke with AMD in the period approximately the Radeon Vega: FE card’s precise function within the stack. The device isn’t pretty a card focused on the middle gamer target audience, but also isn’t precisely a professional-elegance card for simulation-heavy applications in which you need and pay for driver certifications to guarantee accuracy. The Radeon FirePro line is reserved for that facet of the market, into which the Radeon Vega: FE card does not fall.

This card is split-marketed at gaming and developer packages. This isn’t for customers who could be better served via Firepros & Quadros (suppose: Boeing) with application and driver-unique certifications or assurances. In our conversation with AMD, the agency changed into big on the truth that it’s a pro-equipped card with seasoned drivers. It also has gaming drivers packaged in; that is remarkably just like a Titan XP, besides (theoretically) with more seasoned-stage optimization. That makes Vega: FE a very extraordinary card, as it’s located outdoor of part of the expert engineering space (no certification, no purchase), however additionally outside of the middle gamer area – just like the Titan XP is. Your typical client might be a person like a sport or utility developer, who might create content material on a gaming-magnificence machine and require the capacity to playtest stated content on the paired device while retaining fee low. Certified Pro-elegance playing cards aren’t high-priced in case you’re designing a $352 million aircraft but are steeply-priced in case you’re planning a recreation — or maximum different software program, indeed.

As for why someone would pass Vega as opposed to a 1080 Ti or (potentially) destiny RX Vega, there may be still a difference between “I’m a sport developer” and “I lose tens of millions of greenbacks if a simulation is wrong,” and “I’m a sport developer” continues to be a enterprise, and might still justify a more significant business buy. Vega: FE, theoretically, is one of these larger commercial enterprise purchases that could be explained – much like the Titan XP. It doesn’t make feel for our core purchaser audience, but going reasonably priced on hardware for a enterprise will only value cash afterward. Cutting seasoned-elegance certifications cuts cost substantially. However, it does so without hampering hardware overall performance in equally widespread methods (for these forms of people). Vega: FE continues to be extensively cheaper than Quadro or Firepro equivalents here. Freelance and domestic users have to cross Ti or perhaps RX Vega – we’ll see – however that doesn’t suit the bill for all and sundry. There are different audiences in which high-cease devices make the experience; like system learning, it is reminiscence-based.

Our in advance article and video present the disassembly system of AMD Vega: FE. All instructed, it’s not too hard to disassemble. The card makes use of a Delta fan able to 4900RPM maximally, which rests over a barren area of PCB and funnels air thru a popular aluminum baseplate. Atop the GPU rests a vapor chamber cooler, with a HBM2 gift on an interposer that sits atop the substrate. The HBM isn’t “on the die,” but is “die-adjacent,” and maybe cooled with the aid of the same fin stack and cold plate because of the GPU right.

Now, that’s not to mention Vega: FE is excellent in shape even for that audience, but it is to with a bit of luck, make clear some of the marketing language and AMD’s intentions, based totally on our conversations with officials.

As for the VRM, our PCB analysis must be posted later nowadays with complete info. The AMD Vega: FE uses a doubled-up 6-section for the Vcore VRM, ensuing in a powerful 12-segment Vcore, IR direct FETs for the staging (IRF6894 low-side MOSFETs and IRF6811 high-aspect MOSFETs). The HBM VRM uses an available segment, shown within the bottom-proper (black module) of the Vcore VRM.

Before getting commenced, some notes on overclocking in this card: It seems that there’s an HBM clock bug during the usage of the WattMan software in nearly any ability. When overclocking, underclocking, or even restoring a alternate to defaults, HBM drops from 945MHz (pronounced) to 500MHz (said). Again, restoring to defaults does not appear to correct this, and a machine reboot has to take an area to accurately the HBM clock. This manner that, regardless of dealing with a somewhat solid 1682MHz clock (and excellent 1667MHz clock at 1250mv), we had been regrettably caught with gradual reminiscence because of not-understood conduct of both the card or the driving force package deal. We additionally encountered a bug with fan speed in WattMan – those are on multiple systems, too – where it’s hard to get fan speed to ramp back off once it’s been manually incremented. We discovered it best to restart for the fastest fan velocity reset or restore to “automobile,” then wait patiently. Ramping up isn’t a trouble. However returning down is.

For these types of motives, but typically due to dropping half of the clocks off of HBM kills performance, we’ve excluded the effect of overclocking from most of our exams. One or two FireStrike charts incorporate the information to set up the know-how of ways poor a -445MHz HBM2 clock may be. Hang tight for updates as we work with AMD to better understand what’s taking place, as we are currently unsure. We have been in contact with AMD Re Vega for some time now.

Jeanna Davila
Writer. Gamer. Pop culture fanatic. Troublemaker. Beer buff. Internet aficionado. Reader. Explorer. Set new standards for getting my feet wet with country music for farmers. Spent college summers lecturing about saliva in Libya. Won several awards for buying and selling barbie dolls in Prescott, AZ. Spent a year implementing Yugos in West Palm Beach, FL. Spent several months creating marketing channels for cigarettes in Deltona, FL. Spent 2001-2004 developing carnival rides in New York, NY.