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

AMD's Radeon RX Vega 64 is as fast or faster than a GeForce GTX 1080 in our gaming benchmarks. That much is well-established fact. But up until recently, the flagship Vega card was priced well beyond Nvidia's alternative, making it easy for us to recommend the GeForce instead. Now that Vega 64 is becoming more affordable, though, it's getting harder to choose between the two high-end options.

The Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition we're reviewing today does cost $70 more than the least expensive Vega 64 model (and $100 more than the cheapest GTX 1080). However, it does add RGB lighting, a big heat sink, quiet fans, a second HDMI port for VR headsets, and high-quality components. In the end, those extras aren't enough to justify such a big mark-up, particularly when the Radeon desperately needs a price break to secure a competitive advantage.

Specifications

GPU (Code-name)Vega 10
Shader Units4096
Base & Boost Clocks1630 MHz
Memory Size & Type8GB HBM2
Memory Clock1.89 Gb/s
Memory Bandwidth484 GB/s
Fans(3) 90mm
Ports(2) HDMI 2.0, (2) DisplayPort 1.4, (1) DL-DVI
Power Connectors(2) 8-pin PCIe
Dimensions (LxHxD)30.2 x 12.7 x 4.5cm
Weight1286g
Warranty3 Years

Unboxing, Look, & Feel

Weighing in at 1286 grams, this card lands between Gigabyte's much lighter Radeon RX Vega 64 Gaming OC 8G and the aforementioned behemoth from Sapphire. Asus goes big on the physical dimensions, too. Its ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition measures 30.2cm long, 12.7cm tall, and 4.5cm deep.

Three 90mm fans are mounted in 92mm openings. With their special shape, a total of 11 rotor blades per fan provide airflow and turbulence, rather than just static pressure. This should prove beneficial to Asus' thermal performance.

The backplate is embossed with an illuminated ROG logo. That plate doesn't help with cooling at all; it's primarily meant to look good and give the card some rigidity.

Plan for an extra 5mm of clearance (at least) behind the ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB OC Edition. This may cause problems on some motherboards, particularly if the heat sink/backplate intrude on an occupied expansion slot or large CPU cooler.

As we can see from the bottom, Asus employs vertically-oriented fins. At the expense of occupying a third slot with its 2.5-slot design, the company does open up more room for airflow.

The dark plastic shroud covers part of the top, creating room for a back-lit ROG logo. Toward the back, you'll find a pair of eight-pin power connectors that are rotated by 180 degrees and recessed a bit, sitting flush with the PCB.

In addition to five 6mm heat pipes, the board's closed end reveals two PWM-controlled fan connectors able to accommodate optional case fans, an RGB output, and LED headers.


The rear bracket plays host to five display outputs. A pair of HDMI 2.0 interfaces is ideal for anyone with a VR HMD, while two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors make multi-monitor configurations easy. Dual-link DVI ports aren't as pervasive as they once were, but Asus still gives you one. Since the card's cooling fins face up and down, we're not particularly worried about those five outputs interfering with airflow.

Although Asus' official documentation claims a 1590 MHz boost clock, GPU-Z reports 1630 MHz. That specification is mostly wishful thinking though, given a 295W power limit.

In comparison to the relevant reference cards the data looks as follows:

Model Radeon RX Vega 64Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64
Radeon RX Vega 56
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
GeForce GTX 1080
GPUVega 10Vega 10Vega 10GP104
GP104
Die Size
486 mm²486 mm²486 mm²314 mm²314 mm² 
Transistors12.5 billion12.5 billion12.5 billion7.2 billion7.2 billion
Base/Boost Clock Rate1274/1546 MHz1274/1630 MHz
1156/1471 MHz1607/1683 MHz1607/1733 MHz
Shaders/SIMDs4096/644096/643584/562432/19
2560/20
Texture Units/ROPS
256/64256/64
224/64152/64
160/64
Pixel Fill Rate
99 GPix/s104 GPix/s
94 GPix/s108 GPix/s114 GPix/s
Texture Fill Rate396 GT/s417 GT/s
330 GT/s244 GT/s257.1 GT/s
Memory Interface
2048-bit2048-bit2048-bit256-bit256-bit
Memory Type
HBM2HBM2HBM2GDDR5
GDDR5X
Memory Bandwidth
484 GB/s484 GB/s410 GB/s256 GB/s
320 GB/s
Memory Speed1.89 Gb/s1.89 Gb/s1.6 Gb/s8 Gb/s
10 Gb/s
Memory Size8GB
8GB
8GB
8GB
8GB
DX12 Feature Level12_1
12_1
12_112_1
12_1
PCIe Power Connectors2x 8-Pin2x 8-Pin2x 8-Pin1x 8-pin1x 8-pin
TDP
295W
295W
210W180W
180W

Test System & Measurement Methods

We introduced our new test system and methodology in How We Test Graphics Cards. If you'd like more detail about our general approach, check that piece out. We've upgraded the CPU and the cooling system since then to make sure that nothing's holding back graphics cards as fast as this one.

The hardware used in our lab includes:

Test System
Hardware
Intel Core i7-6900K @ 4.3 GHz
MSI X99S XPower Gaming Titanium
Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200
1x 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System SSD)
2x 960GB Toshiba OCZ TR150 (Storage, Images)
be quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850W PSU
Windows 10 Pro (All Updates)
Cooling
Alphacool Eisblock XPX
5x be quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM (Closed Case Simulation)
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut (Used when Switching Coolers)
Case
Lian Li PC-T70 with Extension Kit and Mods
Configurations: Open Benchtable, Closed Case
MonitorEizo EV3237-BK
Power Consumption MeasurementContact-free DC Measurement at PCIe Slot (Using a Riser Card)
Contact-free DC Measurement at External Auxiliary Power Supply Cable
Direct Voltage Measurement at Power Supply
2 x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500 MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function
4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100 kHz, DC)
4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500 MHz)
1 x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function

Thermal Measurement
1 x Optris PI640 80 Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect
Real-Time Infrared Monitoring and Recording

Noise Measurement
NTI Audio M2211 (with Calibration File, Low Cut at 50Hz)
Steinberg UR12 (with Phantom Power for Microphones)
Creative X7, Smaart v.7
Custom-Made Proprietary Measurement Chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2m (L x D x H)
Perpendicular to Center of Noise Source(s), Measurement Distance of 50cm
Noise Level in dB(A) (Slow), Real-time Frequency Analyzer (RTA)
Graphical Frequency Spectrum of Noise

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