The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 & RX Vega 56 Review: Vega Burning Brightby Ryan Smith & Nate Oh on August 14, 2017 9:00 AM EST
The 2017 GPU Benchmark Suite & the Test
Paired with our RX Vega 64 and 56 review is a new benchmark suite and new testbed. The 2017 GPU suite features new games, as well as new compute and synthetic benchmarks.
Games-wise, we have kept Grand Theft Auto V and Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. Joining them is Battlefield 1, DOOM, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, F1 2016, and Total War: Warhammer. All-in-all, these games span multiple genres, differing graphics workloads, and contemporary APIs, with a nod towards modern and relatively intensive games. Additionally, we have retired the venerable Crysis 3 as our mainline power-testing game in favor of Battlefield 1.
|AnandTech GPU Bench 2017 Game List|
|Battlefield 1||FPS||Oct. 2016||DX11
|Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation||RTS||Mar. 2016||DX12
|DOOM (2016)||FPS||May 2016||Vulkan
|Ghost Recon Wildlands||FPS/3PS||Mar. 2017||DX11|
|Dawn of War III||RTS||Apr. 2017||DX11|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided||RPG/Action/Stealth||Aug. 2016||DX11
|Grand Theft Auto V||Action/Open world||Apr. 2015||DX11|
|F1 2016||Racing||Aug. 2016||DX11|
|Total War: Warhammer||TBS/Real-time tactics||May 2016||DX11 + DX12|
In terms of data collection, measurements were gathered either using built-in benchmark tools or with AMD's open-source Open Capture and Analytics Tool (OCAT), which is itself powered by Intel's PresentMon. 99th percentiles were obtained or calculated in a similar fashion: OCAT natively obtains 99th percentiles, GTA V's built-in benchmark include 99th percentiles, and both Ashes: Escalation and Total War: Warhammer's built-in benchmark outputs raw frame time data. Dawn of War III continutes to suffer from its misconfigured built-in benchmark calculations and so its native data cannot be used. In general, we prefer 99th percentiles over minimums, as they more accurately represent the gaming experience and filter out outliers that may not even be true results of the graphics card.
We are continuing to use the best API for a given card when given a choice. As before, we use DirectX 12 for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, being natively designed for that API. For DOOM (2016), using Vulkan is an improvement to OpenGL 4.5 across the board, and for those not in-the-know, Vulkan is roughly comparable to OpenGL in the same way DX12 is to DX11. We also stick to DX11 for Battlefield 1, with the persistent DX12 performance issues in mind, and similar reasoning follows with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, where DX12 did not appear to give the best performance for RX Vega.
In the same vein, we have used DX12 for Total War: Warhammer when testing AMD cards, but we are still sussing out the exact effects on the Vega cards. With Vega running Total War: Warhammer, neither API seems to be absolutely better performing than the other, and we are continuing to investigate.
2017 GPU Compute and Synthetics
We have also updated our compute and synthetics suites, which are now as follows:
- Compute: Blender 2.79 - BlenchMark
- Compute: CompuBench 2.0 – Level Set Segmentation 256
- Compute: CompuBench 2.0 – N-Body Simulation 1024K
- Compute: CompuBench 2.0 – Optical Flow
- Compute: Folding @ Home Single Precision
- Compute: Geekbench 4 – GPU Compute – Total Score
- Synthetics: TessMark, Image Set 4, 64x Tessellation
- Synthetics: VRMark Orange
- Synthetics: Beyond3D Suite – Pixel Fillrate
- Synthetics: Beyond3D Suite – Integer Texture Fillrate (INT8)
- Synthetics: Beyond3D Suite – Floating Point Texture Fillrate (FP32)
Testing with Vega
Testing was done with default configurations with respect to the High-Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC) and BIOS/power profiles. By default, HBCC is disabled in Radeon Software. As for power profiles, both Vega 64 and 56 come with primary and secondary VBIOS modes, each having three profiles in WattMan: Power Saver, Balanced, and Turbo. By default, both cards use the primary VBIOS' Balanced power profile.
|GPU Power Limits for RX Vega Power Profiles|
|Radeon RX Vega 64 Air||Radeon RX Vega 56|
|Primary VBIOS||Secondary VBIOS||Primary VBIOS||Secondary VBIOS|
A small switch on the cards can be toggled away from the PCIe bracket for the lower power secondary VBIOS. In Radeon WattMan, a slider permits switching between Power Saver, Balanced, Turbo, and Custom performance profiles. In total, each card has six different power profiles to choose from. RX Vega 64 Liquid has its own set of six profiles as well, ranging from 165W to 303W. We don't expect Turbo mode to significantly change results: for Turbo vs. Balanced, AMD themselves cited a performance increase of about 2% at 4K.
The New 2017 GPU Skylake-X Testbed
Last, but certainly not least, we have a new testbed running these benchmarks and games. For that reason, historical results cannot be directly compared with the results in this review.
|CPU:||Intel Core i7-7820X @ 4.3GHz|
|Motherboard:||Gigabyte X299 AORUS Gaming 7|
|Power Supply:||Corsair AX860i|
|Hard Disk:||OCZ Toshiba RD400 (1TB)|
|Memory:||G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200 4 x 8GB (16-18-18-38)|
|Case:||NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition|
|Video Cards:||AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Air Cooled)
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
AMD Radeon RX 580
AMD Radeon R9 Fury X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition
|Video Drivers:||NVIDIA Release 384.65
AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2 (for non-Vega cards)
AMD Radeon Software Crimson Press Beta 17.30.1051
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro (Creators Update)|