Gigabyte Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G Review

Temperatures, Clock Rates & Overclocking

Overclocking & Undervolting

Conventional overclocking through a higher power limit and more aggressive clock rate is a dead-end. Brute force just isn't the answer. Because Gigabyte had to follow AMD's guidelines, this implementation is already running at its limit. Sure, you could dial in higher fan speeds to cool things down, creating more noise in the process, but who really wants that? As we explained in AMD RX Vega 64: The Tom's Hardware Liquid Cooled Edition, even with higher frequencies and brutal power adjustments, it is almost impossible to get Radeon RX Vega running much faster. Instead, undervolting can achieve far better results.

First and foremost, the use of a suitable utility like OverdriveNTool works wonders. As always, though, your results will also depend on the quality of your GPU. We can't generalize; you'll have to compare your improvements to ours.

Temperatures & Frequencies

We’re using the GPU temperature value exclusively because that's what our test sample’s telemetry reports. Of course, the hot-spot temperature is a lot higher. Why? You can read all about in Does Undervolting Improve Radeon RX Vega 64's Efficiency? On Gigabyte's Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G, those readings are up to 15°C higher. But they never hit a level that could cause problems.

The following table shows a comparison of start and end values for temperatures and GPU (boost) frequencies:


Initial Value
Final Value
Open Test Bench
GPU Temperature
44°C
74-75°C
GPU Clock Rate
1378 MHz
1352 MHz
Ambient Temperature
22°C
22°C
Closed Case
GPU Temperature46°C
74-75°C
GPU Clock Rate
1378 MHz
1344 MHz
Air Temperature in Case
24°C
47°C

Temperature vs. Frequency

To better illustrate our findings, we plotted temperatures and frequencies during our sample's 15-minute warm-up phase:

Frequencies in the gaming loop are about 100 MHz higher than what we measured from AMD's reference card. This average increase of ~10% results in 40W-higher power consumption, or a roughly 18% increase. But the frame rates only go up by 5-7%, which is not a good trade-off at all.

The results of our stress test look similar:

IR Image Analysis For The Board's Back

To round out this section, we take a look at board temperatures across several different load levels. To keep the test setup as real-world as possible, we drilled a couple of small holes through the backplate at the points relevant to our IR measurements, and then cut out the thermal pads where necessary. Since the diameter of these holes is very small, they have no significant impact on the cooler's performance.

Gaming

It's easy to see that the card is already at its limits during our gaming loop. As long as you operate the Radeon RX Vega 56 Gaming OC 8G vertically on an open test bench, all values seem to be acceptable. But this may change quickly if the card is installed in a closed case instead.

Once we popped Gigabyte's board into a closed case, we measured up to 6°C-higher temperatures at the voltage converters. It seems as though the fans only respond to GPU temperature, unfortunately. Even a slightly higher rotational speed would have dropped the temperatures by four or five degrees without becoming unpleasantly loud.

Stress Test

The stress test reflects slightly lower power consumption than our gaming benchmark, so the GPU stays a little cooler.

Even in a closed case, temperatures don't increase by more than a couple of degrees. Still, the 92°C we measured on some of the voltage converters seems quite a bit higher than necessary.

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  • vMax
    Very good, in depth review...Enjoyed reading it!
  • DRagor
    So what sense it makes to create a card that can't be bought? (there is not a single Vega 56 available for sale at my whole country, and it has been that way for some time).