For the longest time, players have turned to NVIDIA when they want the absolute highest performance from their graphics cards. The brand has been synonymous with devices that can back up their high price tags and for a while AMD played second fiddle, standing off to the side while NVIDIA took all the spotlight. Well, AMD has just released their Vega line of graphics cards and are aiming to take the top spot from Nvidia. CGM took the Radeon RX Vega 64 for a spin to see if there’s a new king on the GPU throne.

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The Radeon RX Vega 64 (GPU) – images: CGMagazine

For starters, the Radeon RX Vega 64 is a beautiful looking card. It’s a little funny talking about a card’s appearance but if you’re getting the best performance for you PC, you want it to look it good as well. The polished metal surface of the card looked stunning inside our case. However, the card itself is on the larger side of things, so users with smaller cases might have difficulty fitting it into their builds.

Aesthetics aside, everyone knows that what’s in the card is what really matters. Running off the new Vega 10 architecture, the Radeon RX Vega 64 is the highest-end card available from AMD. Alongside the new architecture are 4,096 stream processors with 64 compute units, 265 texture units, and 54 ROPs. All this culminates into a base GPU clock speed of 1,406MHz and a boosted GPU clock speed of 1,677MHz. Compare this to the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 with a clock speed of 1,607 MHz and you have a good race going between the two cards.

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The Radeon RX Vega 64 (GPU) – images: CGMagazine

We took both cards into 3DMark’s Fire Strike test. The RX Vega scored a 17,385, compared to the 1080’s score that ranged from 17,000 to 20,000. That puts the Radeon RX Vega 64 in a nice spot right alongside the GTX 1080. Users should feel very little difference when pushing these cards based of the tests that we did.

Enough talk about the specs, it’s time to talk about how the card performed while running actual games. We put this card through all of its paces by picking some of our favourite games and cranking the settings as high as we could. For our tests, we ran The Witcher 3, Skyrim: Special Edition, Quake: Champions, and LawBreakers. Some of the highest fps we saw were in Quake: Champions where we reached a peak of 130 fps, but every game ran solidly and we never saw a single dip in performance.

The Radeon RX Vega 64 comes with Radeon Chill technology, which aims to lower framerates during downtime or low action moments. Once action ramps up, the card cranks up the framerate and brings its A-game. This is designed to reduce power draw on your system when you don’t require the card’s full strength. It worked great—as long as we played one of the games Radeon Chill supports. In theory, I feel that this technology is a great idea; but the problem is, the technology is too new and supports too few games to be an amazing thing. When you can use it, it provides great peace of mind and helps to control power draw on you system.

Price-wise AMD has always been less expensive than Nvidia, and the RX Vega is no different. Retail price on the Radeon RX Vega 64 is only $599 USD for the water-cooled model. Meanwhile Nvidia’s offering comes with a price tag of $699 USD. For any budget minded users, AMD’s card looks like a no brainer.

The Radeon RX Vega 64 is a great card. It performs just as well as one would expect from a company’s latest flagship card. However, AMD doesn’t have anything that lets the card stand on its own. While I wasn’t expecting this card to take over the market, I was hoping for some sort of edge over the competition. At the end of the day, we now have two very comparable enthusiast level GPUs that PC builders can go nuts over, and competition is never a bad thing.