AMD’s new flagship is now the Radeon VII graphics card. This is a worthy successor for the Radeon RX Vega family, where performance gains are combined with reduced power consumption. In the course of preparing one of the materials on Radeon VII, we managed to get our hands on the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled, the most accelerated video card based on the GPU Vega 10 with a water cooling system. This is a kind of Titan from AMD, which offers the highest performance within its generation. Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled is not a mass product, and they were extremely poorly represented on the domestic market. But according to a number of criteria, this is an outstanding video card for AMD. Therefore, we could not pass by and decided to spend the old generation of Radeon with a review of the Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled. Let’s find out what are the advantages of a model with CBO, how much it accelerates the factory overclock, and whether it is possible to squeeze even more with manual overclocking.
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega64 8GB HBM2 LC
The card comes in a massive oversized box
Inside, the video adapter is fixed in a frame made of foamed polyurethane. Mounting screws and instructions are included.
This version of the Radeon RX Vega 64 has a fully functional CBO system. The video card occupies the usual two slots and is covered with a metal casing. There is a radiator with a large fan, which is connected to the device with two flexible hoses.
For clarity, let’s recall what a regular reference Radeon RX Vega 64 video card looks like. Agree that Liquid Cooled is much more solid.
Visually, the video card resembles the Limited Edition models. Same case with illuminated logo and Radeon lettering, but without fan. The total length of the card is 27 cm.
The reverse side of the board is covered with a metal plate. There is an amplifying cross in the area of the graphics chip.
In the corner are two eight-pin power connectors. There are LEDs on the board that signal the load of the video card. In the same area there is a backlight switch.
Due to the maximum frequencies for the Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled, a record TDP of 345 watts is declared. And on the Sapphire website, in the power consumption section, there is an even more impressive value of 375 watts.
The liquid circulating in the system is cooled in an external remote radiator. This is a one piece design with one 120mm fan. The radiator is connected to the video card with braided hoses. The length of the hoses allows you to place the radiator on the back or top wall of the case, depending on how convenient it is for the user.
The fan has large blades, which are connected by an additional ring. This design is designed to create a powerful directional air flow.
Now it’s time to look under the hood of this car. It is these analogies that arise when examining cooling.
The entire board is covered with a metal structure, combined with a water block and a pump. On the right side is a reservoir with liquid. Judging by the red cover, water circulates in the channels above the power elements of the supply circuit. The GPU cooling unit is immediately combined with the pump.
The entire lower part of this design is presented in the form of a single metal plate, which removes heat from the transistors. In the area of the graphics chip there is a window for the copper base of the water block.
The PCB is based on the standard AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 design. There are no changes from the air-cooled versions.
The GPU is powered by a 12-phase power system. The processor itself is a combined device with a graphics chip and HBM2 memory blocks on the same substrate.
For the regular version of the Radeon RX Vega 64, frequencies of 1274/1546 MHz are provided (base value and average Boost in the gaming load). The Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled has a combination of 1406/1677 MHz. According to GPU-Z, the maximum Boost value here reaches 1750 MHz. The effective memory frequency is 1890 MHz with a 2048-bit bus.
In games at 4K resolution, frequencies were kept in the range of 1550-1610 MHz. We reached approximately the same frequencies when overclocking the regular version of the Radeon RX Vega 64. During testing on an open bench, the temperature did not exceed 65 ° C (indoors 22-23 ° C). This is an excellent result, since the Radeon RX Vega 64 with a “turbine” easily warms up to 80-85 ° C in our country. The fan spins up to 1500 rpm at peak moments at the main speed of 1200 rpm. The noise was small.
It is worth noting that a strong flow of hot air comes from the radiator. Therefore, its correct installation inside the case is important. Well, if there are other hot components inside the case, Radeon temperatures can be noticeably higher.
Will a video card initially operating at its limit be able to achieve even higher frequencies? The final results are indeed higher than those that could be obtained from the «air» version, but the increase is small relative to the initial frequencies. After a series of experiments, we settled on an acceleration of 1% with a slight decrease in operating voltages of 0.01 V. The topic of downvolting is very relevant for the Radeon RX Vega series, but miracles do not happen here, so lowering the maximum voltages even by 0.02 V had negative consequences for stability. However, not everything is going smoothly with our overclocking, but this is normal for Vega, with such heat dissipation, long-term loads are always fraught with some kind of failure. The memory was accelerated to 1075 (2150) MHz, which is the best result among the Radeon RX Vega we have visited.
GPU frequencies are also record-breaking. With an increase in the power limit, we managed to reach the operating values of Boost 1670-1700 MHz.
Along the way, I had to adjust the fan speed curve, as a result, it easily reached 1800-2000 rpm. At the same time, the heat from the radiator became very serious.
As a result, we have the most accelerated factory version of the Radeon RX Vega 64, which we managed to overclock even more (mainly by memory). Will such a monster be able to show a serious advantage over the regular version of the Radeon RX Vega 64 and close the gap with the Radeon VII? The answer can be given after the test results.