The launch of the Vega line of graphics cards marked AMD’s return to the big leagues in gaming graphics. After a series of tests of the Radeon RX Vega 64, we turn to the younger version — the Radeon RX Vega 56. And in this review, the non-reference version of ASUS ROG-STRIX-RXVEGA56-O8G-GAMING will be immediately considered, which is equipped with powerful cooling, which gives more opportunities for stable overclocking . Let’s study the features of this video card, check its overclocking potential, compare it with the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and more powerful solutions.
First, let’s briefly recall the characteristics of the Radeon RX Vega 56. This graphics accelerator is built on the Vega 10 GPU with fast HBM2 memory on a single substrate. Regarding the flagship, there are some simplifications. Of the 4096 stream processors, 3584 are active, core and memory frequencies are reduced. The base frequency of the processor is 1156 MHz with an average frequency in Boost mode of 1471 MHz. HBM2 memory modules operate at a clock frequency of 800 MHz (1600 MHz effective) with a 2048-bit bus.
|Video adapter||Radeon RX Vega 64||Radeon RX Vega 56|
|Core||Vega 10||Vega 10|
|Number of transistors, million pieces||12500||12500|
|Process technology, nm||14||14|
|Core area, sq. mm||486||486|
|Number of stream processors||4096||3584|
|Number of texture blocks||256||224|
|Number of render units||64||64|
|Core frequency, MHz: Base-Boost||1274–1546||1156–1471|
|Memory bus, bit||2048||2048|
|Memory frequency, MHz||1890||1600|
|Memory size, GB||8||8|
|Supported version of DirectX||12_1||12_1|
|Interface||PCI-E 3.0||PCI-E 3.0|
How critical will be the reduction of computing units, our testing will show. An important advantage of the Radeon RX Vega 56 is the reduced power consumption, which simplifies the task of cooling and allows end devices to work with less noise. The official TDP is set at 210W, the software settings have an additional economical profile and an accelerated Turbo mode. Also traditionally there is a second BIOS, where the power consumption for all software modes is even lower.
The standard version of the Radeon RX Vega 56 is a constructive copy of the reference Radeon RX Vega 64 card, which we reviewed in detail in the corresponding review.
With the Radeon RX Vega, AMD has slightly changed the frequency marking system. Previously, for top-end products, the base (minimum) value and the maximum GPU frequency were indicated. Having restrictions on power and temperature, the video card could reduce the maximum frequency in order to keep all parameters within the specified limits. Now specifies the base value and target frequency in game mode. The maximum possible GPU frequency is higher than the declared values, but often it is unattainable in games. This is the maximum value that the GPU-Z utility immediately displays in the GPU frequency column. In the case of the Radeon RX Vega 56, this is 1590 MHz, and this value can be used in the specifications that are listed on the website of some video card manufacturers.
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 56
ASUS Radeon RX Vega 56 comes in a large box with a standard design for the Strix series. On the front side there is an image of a large three-fan cooler and a hint of backlighting.
The package includes an adapter from two six-pin to one eight-pin PCI-E power connector, there are two Velcro cable ties.
The video card does not visually differ from other top ASUS ROG Strix models. This is a large device with a length of 30 centimeters.
The board is covered by a large cooler with three fans. Even with an external examination, it is clear that all the free space inside the case is occupied by a radiator.
The back side of the board is covered with a metal plate
The thickness of the video card is more than two slots. There are two eight-pin power connectors in the corner.
Near the power connectors are points for measuring and monitoring voltages.
The white ROG logo under the backplate is illuminated. Also, the LED strip is stretched along the slots of the case around the fans. In working condition, the video card can shimmer in different colors, blink, and create other glowing effects. You can customize the backlight using the ASUS Aura software application.
There are five ports on the back panel: two HDMI, two DisplayPort and one DVI. The presence of the latter is a clear plus, many top-end video cards do without DVI, but sometimes it is necessary to connect to an older monitor with a limited set of connectors or without additional cables.
Let’s take a closer look at the cooling system. This is a typical design for the latest ASUS flagship solutions based on a large two-section heatsink and six heat pipes.
One section is aligned with a large base through which all tubes pass. All elements are carefully adjusted to each other, there is no gap between the tubes. The base itself has a smooth polished surface. ASUS talks about the MaxContact processing technology, which provides better base smoothness and tighter contact with the chip.
The second section hangs on four heat pipes. She has a special contact pad for the power elements of the supply circuit. Thus, one heatsink removes heat from all hot elements on the board.
On the front side, three 90 mm fans are screwed onto a special frame (the actual diameter of the blades is about 88 mm). All cables from the fans are securely fixed along the edge of the heatsink.
An additional heatsink in the form of a metal plate is installed on the board. It covers a pair of integral assemblies and serves to stiffen the overall structure, preventing the textolite from bending.
If this element is still of practical importance, then the plate covering the reverse side of the board simply protects the surface of the board. An LED panel is glued to the logo area under it.
The printed circuit board is made according to a non-reference design, even in terms of dimensions it is larger than the standard one. There are no memory chips on the board.
Apparently, GPU Vega is powered by standard 12 phases. At the edge of the board, you can see a whole battery of connectors. Two black connectors are intended for connecting a native cooler, there are additional connectors for connecting external fans using ASUS FanConnect II technology, plus a connector for connecting and synchronizing other lighting elements.
The large GPU sits with two HBM2 memory modules on the same substrate. They are surrounded by a number of small SMD elements and a large protective frame.