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Vega 64 “Unleashed” – 27 Games tested using the Liquid Cooled Edition vs. the GTX 1080 & GTX 1080 Ti

Last Monday, AMD released its new Vega 64 processor in a vain attempt to beat the GTX 1080 and to take the performance crown from NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 Ti.  Since the reference version throttles performance due to inadequate cooling, BTR purchased a Gigabyte RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition which is AMD’s flagship card. We have put our new Vega 64 and the Founders Editions of the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1080 Ti through their paces with 27 modern PC games.  Since the GTX 1080 Ti FE and the RX Vega 64 both retail for $699, they make for a natural comparison and we will use 4 resolutions up to 4K to determine the overall winner in 27 games.

We have already posted benchmarks of the reference RX Vega 64 and found it to be just a bit slower than the GTX 1080 as its blower cooling solution is somewhat thermally challenged even at stock settings.  We concluded:

The air-cooled RX Vega 64 falls short of the $499 GTX 1080 and it would be very difficult to recommend it at its launch pricing of $599 from what we have seen so far.

It appears that AMD’s launch price is really at set $599 for the reference RX 64 once the initial batch sold out.  However, the Liquid Cooled Edition of the RX Vega 64 may still be MSRP priced at $699, although to actually get one from retail you may need to purchase a Ryzen 7 1800X bundle as we did from Newegg although the price is now listed at $799.  However, we are very interested to see how AMD’s flagship RX Vega 64 performs at its stock settings with a very good cooling system that will be at least comparable to the AIB partner designs that will be introduced later this year.

Until Vega was released, the Fury X was AMD’s top card that was originally released to compete with the TITAN X and versus the GTX 980 Ti.  However, both the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 are faster than the Fury X and you can see a performance comparison here.  In addition, the GTX 1080 Ti is NVIDIA’s fastest gaming card and we reviewed it here versus the GTX 1080 where it is significantly faster.   So AMD has a lot of ground to make up with Vega 64 if they are going to beat the GTX 1080, never mind the GTX 1080 Ti.

Our testing platform is Windows 10 Home 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-6700K at 4.00GHz which turbos all cores to 4.6GHz as set in the ASRock Z170 motherboard’s BIOS, and 16GB of HyperX DDR4 at 3333MHz. The settings and hardware are identical except for the three cards being tested.  We will compare the performance of 27 modern games at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, 3440×1440 and 3840×2160 resolutions with maximum settings.

Let’s see how well a non-throttling RX Vega 64 Liquid Edition matches up with a Founders Editions of the GTX 1080 and versus the GTX 1080 Ti after we take a look at the new Gigabyte card.

  • Sifat Syed

    Dear PCmasterRACE, https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a52063dad5eee3042abd5c3f7dc105343dc4c19f2b386a679f6882b494a8f994.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b3be401085e815f9458d063bce80bdf3463a55cffdd2ddc160a801f4242712bc.jpg
    Omg so disappointed!!! I guess it’s really Navi + InfinityFabric that AMD is really heavily investing it’s R&D on. Perhaps they plan on combining 2x Rx580 on a single die in order to create a near 1080 Ti level performance card and sell at a cheaper price like the Ryzen ThreadRipper. 😆 Wadda ya guys think? And thank you so much for the wonderfully detailed review btw, God Bless!

    Best Regards,
    Sifat

  • Pec

    Why do reviewers never factor in that high-end g-sync displays cost several hundred dollars more than their freesync counterparts? In my case it’s a $300 increase for an identical g-sync counterpart. The $699 vega 64 liquid card gives me better price for performance than both the 1080 and 1080ti because of the g-sync tax, albeit lame the +$100 bill for the stupid “free” games. Folks who jumped on the $200 off a freesync ultrawide with vega bundle certainly got a great deal, assuming they wanted the monitor upgrade.

    I look forward toy our VR performance review.

  • plops

    GTX 1080 FE msrp is $549, gtx 1080 without that FE premium has msrp of $499*. But other than that nice and solid test.

    * http://www.anandtech.com/show/11173/nvidia-partners-to-begin-selling-geforce-gtx-1080s-gtx-1060s-with-faster-memory

    • apoppin

      Thanks for that clarification. I updated my conclusion:

      “However, the $699 RX Vega 64 Liquid Edition only trades blows with a $499 GTX 1080 (Updated note: the Founders Edition is $549) . . . “

  • nvooser

    The FE cards have the worst performance per dollar at stock. Is it possible to include an overclocked column in the results?

  • m3tavision

    The way I see it, Vega is a much better choice moving forward.

    AMD also has better support in games now, things have changed. I see why RX Vega cost a premium, because it offers the latest technology. Just can’t find any to buy at MSRP.