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

Conclusion

Asus' ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition fares well against the competition, aside from its hot voltage regulation circuitry. The company uses high-quality components, and its board demonstrates excellent build quality. But despite our overall positive impression, there are still a few points we'd like to Asus improve.

To begin, we don't like that the ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition is so sensitive to being installed in a closed chassis. This is caused by the orientation of its exhaust air, which is pushed out against the motherboard or case's side wall. Much of that waste heat is then sucked back up by the fans for cooling. Some competitors use angled fins or a suitably designed shroud to direct exhaust away as much as possible.

We would have liked to modify Asus' back plate with a thermal pad to help draw heat away from the PCB. However, this would have required forcibly removing components of the back-lit logo since it unfortunately covers part of the cooling surface. If Asus did away with this feature, rotated it by 90 degrees, or made it smaller, we could have tried relieving the heat build-up issue.

It's a bummer that Asus can't change AMD's unconventional fan curve. Guidelines are guidelines, after all. But a slightly higher fan speed would certainly help with cooling once the ROG Strix card is fully warmed up. Otherwise, taking this card to its power limit results in >100°C after about 30 minutes across large parts of the card. Given that PCB manufacturers often recommend keeping board material below ~95°C as a long-term upper limit, we don't like seeing temperatures above those levels.

But even without increasing the power limit and applying a demanding workload, waste heat from the voltage converters reaches the area under the package after 12 to 15 minutes, heating it up from below.

Conclusion

A handful of minor quibbles keep us from giving this otherwise-balanced graphics card a purchase recommendation. At least Asus has aesthetics on its side: its ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition is much more attractive than Gigabyte's own Radeon RX Vega 64, which reflects certain cost-cutting decisions. Sapphire's Limited Edition Radeon RX Vega 64 Nitro+, on the other hand, goes the other direction, throwing money at AMD's flagship GPU in an attempt to get the most out of it. Unfortunately, that board was just too expensive to manufacture. As a result, the company now makes a lower-end version with just two auxiliary power connectors and lower clock rates.

In that context, Asus lands in the middle between both competing Radeon RX Vega 64s. This isn't a bad thing. Its ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition is better than the lowest-end implementations, and a little less expensive than the craziest models we've seen.

Availability is definitely better than it was even a couple of weeks ago. As of this writing, the Asus card is in stock online selling for $650, whereas the least expensive Radeon RX Vega 64 boards start at $580.

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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.