Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition Review: High-End Graphics With Flair

Board & Power Supply

Board Layout

Like Gigabyte and Sapphire, Asus deviates significantly from AMD's reference layout. Unfortunately, this also means that the design is incompatible with most existing full-cover water coolers.

Asus implements six power phases with doubling, resulting in 12 voltage converters for the VDDC and one phase for the memory (MVDD), just like AMD. We're particularly interested in the way two of those VDDC converters were positioned. Since there was no more vertical space available, they were simply arranged to the left, and must therefore be cooled separately.

The sources of other auxiliary voltages are also visible in our layout diagram.

A look at the board's back side reveals very few active components. This would have allowed plenty of space for a heat-conducting pad between the PCB and backplate, which could have been used to draw thermal energy away from the voltage converters.

Asus implements a pair of eight-pin connectors to complement the PCIe slot's power delivery. Since our measurements show the motherboard slot only feeding this card 25-27W, those two connectors handle the rest.

GPU Power Supply (VDDC)

As with AMD's reference design, the focus is on International Rectifier's IR35217, a dual-output multi-phase controller that provides six phases for the GPU and an additional phase for the memory. But again, there are 12 regulator circuits, not just six. This is a result of doubling, allowing the load from each phase to be distributed between two regulator circuits.

A total of six International Rectifier IR3599 multipliers are used to double the controller's phase count. The actual voltage conversion of each converter circuit is performed by an IR3555M, also from International Rectifier. These so-called PowIRstage chips combine the high- and low-side MOSFETs, driver, and Schottky diode in a single, highly integrated circuit.

Asus employs its specially-branded SAP II (Super Alloy Power) chokes for the VDDC and MVDD.

Memory Power Supply (MVDD)

As mentioned, the memory's power is controlled by International Rectifier's IR35217 as well. One phase is fully sufficient for this card, as its HBM2 is less demanding. As with the VDDC, an IR3555M is used, along with SAP II chokes for smoothing the output.

Additional Voltage Converters

Creating the VDDCI isn’t a very difficult task. But it's an important one since this regulates the transition between the internal GPU and memory signal levels. It’s essentially the I/O bus voltage between the GPU and memory. A constant source for 0.9V is generated as well, along with a 1.8V source (TTL, GPU GPIO). These three voltage converters are equipped almost identically, relying on an MPS MPQ8633 synchronous step-down converter.

Underneath the GPU, there’s an Anpec APL5620 low drop-out linear regulator, which provides the very low voltage for the phase locked loop (PLL) area.

Another striking feature is the Winbond 25X-series double SPI flash chip. Asus places the corresponding switch exactly where you'd find it on AMD's reference card.

In the input section, there is a 330nH ferrite-core choke that helps block load peaks. If you are looking for shunts, similar to what we've seen on Nvidia cards, you won't find them. Unfortunately, Vega doesn't support current flow control on the input side.

Asus relies on an ITE 8915FN universal and programmable embedded controller that implements fan control and RGB lighting effects.

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  • darkchazz
    "Missing a thermal pad between PCB and backplate"


    My Strix GTX 1080 I got in July 2016 also has missing several thermal pads on the GDDR5X modules. Many others reported this issue too and I suppose they still haven't fixed it at the production line.
  • Kaziel
    I just bought one for USD599 on June 6th and waiting for all the parts to arrive. I really hope it'll be okay in an NZXT H500 with the 2x stock fans as exhaust and 2x Noctua NF-A14 as intake.

    Do you guys think that my EVGA SuperNova 650 P2 will be able to handle an overclocked R5 2600x and this Asus Strix Vega 64?
  • milkod2001
    @KAZIEL
    That depends how many other components you also plan to connect: Sound Cards, HDDs, Blue Ray Players, etc, ect but i think it would be OK with 1 SSD and 1 HDD.
  • Martell1977
    It would have been interesting for Tom's to make the modification of adding the thermal pads and show how much of a difference it would really make. I wonder if ASUS felt it was a acceptable trade off between looks and functionality.
  • Kaziel
    368223 said:
    @KAZIEL That depends how many other components you also plan to connect: Sound Cards, HDDs, Blue Ray Players, etc, ect but i think it would be OK with 1 SSD and 1 HDD.


    Still waiting on parts to arrive.

    CPU: R5 2600x
    Cooling: Noctua NH-U12S, 3x 120 Fans and 2x 140 Fans
    Motherboard: Asus Strix x470-F
    RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB 3466 C16 (2x 8gb)
    GPU: Asus Strix RX Vega 64
    Storage: Samsung Evo 860 (250gb) and Seagate 2TB Barracuda (7200 RPM 64MB Cache)

    Planning on just letting Ryzen Master auto overclock the 2600x. For the Vega 64 I plan to do the widely suggested undervolt, +50% power, and overclock HBM2. I have used the calculators and they basically say it's fine, but then again I left everything at stock. Not sure what the values are yet for going about overclocking the two parts so unsure what to put in the calculator.
  • Wow it matches my FTW 1080 2 years later at 40% more cost. Quality Job AMD!
  • tokeylokey66
    Kek
    Price had went down a little but still a complete joke of a price. More power and heat than 1080 , cost more, released later. Sry Amd you better figure out better marketing and sale strategies or do better in the tech side of things preferably both.
  • alextheblue
    Wow there's commenters that still don't have a clue about the impact of mining, which lingers on Vega to this day.
  • zodiacfml
    Where the undervolting benchmarks if it is mentioned that it is better for overclocking and the mentioned poor exhaust vents?

    I think the critique for most of the Vega 64s are the large PCBs. It deserves smaller PCBs such as found in the Vega 56s to improve cooling.
  • bit_user
    482859 said:
    ...

    Nice review, but some Far Cry 5 benchmark would've been nice.

    Newegg now has this card for $599, which I think is pretty close to MSRP.
  • bit_user
    134095 said:
    Wow it matches my FTW 1080 2 years later at 40% more cost. Quality Job AMD!

    Due to market irregularities, it's only fair to compare today's pricing, not whatever you managed to pay for your card.

    The cheapest 1080 FTW on newegg is currently $550, after MIR. Compared to that, this card is only 9% more expensive. I take no issue with complaints about Vega's under-performance, so long as they're accurate.
  • Martell1977
    328798 said:
    134095 said:
    Wow it matches my FTW 1080 2 years later at 40% more cost. Quality Job AMD!
    Due to market irregularities, it's only fair to compare today's pricing, not whatever you managed to pay for your card. The cheapest 1080 FTW on newegg is currently $550, after MIR. Compared to that, this card is only 9% more expensive. I take no issue with complaints about Vega's under-performance, so long as they're accurate.


    And it doesn't under-perform compared to the 1080, they are about equal. It's just the extra resources take more energy to run, but doesn't translate to more frames for gamers.

    AMD needs to, at least for now, disable power hungry resources (even if only by a driver update) that don't show any benefit to gamers on their consumer cards and let them remain on data center cards. That should help thermals and power consumption. However, I don't know how integrated they are and if this is possible without gimping the cards.
  • CaptainTom
    I understand that Vega is a "unique" architecture when it comes to overclocking, but I still can't believe how bad "tech journalists" are at overclocking/tweaking Vega...
  • Gurg
    MSI 1080ti Armor Overclocked is $749-$20 rebate on NewEgg.
  • blinnbanir32
    While I do not own this card I do have 2 Vega 64s in crossfire. I will say the biggest problem with Vega AIB and perhaps more components in today's world is how fast these are being produced in factories to keep up with demand. I was getting random shutdowns and blue screens after 2 days of having my Array, I decided to pull the shroud off the Gigabyte card and all I saw was the essence of thermal paste. I put some Noctua NHT1 on the chip and HBM and I have not had a shutdown or blue screen since. I am going to do the same with my Sapphire card this weekend.
  • Rexer
    Had the good fortune to buy a Sapphire Vega 64 reference card back in early November '17 for $499. Had just a few shutdowns overclocking. Most of the time, I keep mild clocks. Other than that, it been a decent card. Puts out a lot heat. Common AMD signature. Exploring ekwb watercooling kits for it. Like a good squirrel, I'm gathering all the nuts on it. So far, the reviews look pretty good.