The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is an upper-mid-range graphics card, intended to outperform Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 at a similar price, a job it does admirably as demonstrated by the benchmarks on this page. Its level of performance was enough to push Nvidia to create an entirely new SKU, the GTX 1070 Ti, which sits between the 1070 and 1080 and in turn surpasses the Vega 56.
The Vega 56 is also the most popular of AMD’s three Vega models so far, as it is able to provide almost all of the high-end technology that makes the Vega 64 desirable with some smart cuts to ensure a more competitive price. It also has a slight advantage over the Vega 64 when it comes to power usage and thermal performance, although AMD’s new Radeon 7, not to mention Nvidia’s Pascal and Turing lines, surpass it in both regards. However, given that the Radeon 7 card is offered at a price of £600/$700, the 56 compute unit model is the clear Vega value champion.
The Vega 56 generally offers good performance at 1080p and 1440p, but struggles when extended to 4K resolution unless paired with a FreeSync display, where variations in frame rate can be smoothed out a bit. As long as you have a fast processor (we recommend foregoing AMD and choosing a 7th generation Core i7 or later), the Vega 56 can also work well in conjunction with high refresh rate 1080p monitors, although due to the high driver overhead on DX11, we’d probably still prefer an RTX 2060 or GTX 1070 Ti for that task over AMD’s offering. Still, thanks to the Vega 56’s solid performance offering for the price, it’s still the best mid-range AMD graphics card on the market right now.
Which GPU is worth buying? We’ve selected the best graphics cards available and updated them with the latest graphics cards as they are released. In addition to an overall performance champion, we named the best value graphics card and the best budget graphics card to guide your next upgrade.
To give you a good idea of the frame rates you can expect in the latest and most popular games, we’ll show you benchmarks from nine different titles at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, all with very high or ultra graphics. configuration enabled.
We included five cards in total in our comparison: Vega 56 and Vega 64, plus a trio from Nvidia: the GTX 1070, next-gen GTX 1070 Ti, and the new RTX 2060. If you’re interested in seeing how the Vega 56 stacks up against the new Radeon 7, we have a separate article dedicated to answering that exact question: Radeon 7 vs Vega 56 benchmarks.
Our benchmarks are taken from the Radeon RX Vega 56 reference model, shown here. A small number of third-party versions are available with improved coolers and slightly better performance.
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Instead of using traditional reference graphs or videos with permanently “recorded” performance data, we have taken a different approach. If you’re viewing this page on a desktop computer rather than a mobile device, you’ll see that each benchmark is made up of a YouTube video embedded with live data shown below. You can skip through the video and the data will remain synchronized. More importantly, you can also use the controls to the right of the video to add or remove different graphics cards at different resolutions. This makes it easy to see only the data you’re interested in.
There is also a useful graph below the live data, showing the average and the best or worst results of the entire run. You can mouse over the graph to see different metrics and you can click on the bar graph to toggle between actual frame rates and percentage-based values. For more information on the benchmarking system, see our guide on how Digital Foundry’s benchmarking system works here.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a new addition to these benchmarks, allowing us to see how the Vega 56 performs in a very recent title at demanding ultra-high settings. The Vega 56 manages to perform reasonably well in the test, offering a playable average frame rate of 48fps at 1080p. That’s four percent behind the more expensive Vega 64 and just three percent behind the GTX 1070. However, the GTX 1070 Ti and RTX 2060 open up a significant lead, with the Vega 56 falling 18 percent behind Nvidia’s first mainstream RTX card. The 1440p results for Vega 56 are still playable at an average of 41fps, although we recommend users stick with a lower quality graphics preset to achieve 60fps. Even 4K could work on this card, if you’re willing to deal with a console-quality frame rate and/or some serious settings tweaks.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: Ultra High, TAA
Assassin’s Creed Unity
Next up is the 2014 release of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, AC Unity. The game is set on the soon-to-be blood-slick streets of Paris on the cusp of revolution, providing opportunities to stage fancy costumes and brilliant guillotines in equal measure. At 1440p, the Vega 56’s performance is 8 percent behind the Vega 64 and on par with the GTX 1070 – although the AMD card shows a much larger difference between its highest and lowest frame-rates. Meanwhile, the RTX 2060 claims the fastest averages. However, the Vega 56 performs a little better at 4K, claiming a slight advantage over the Nvidia card. However, the actual frame rate of 26 fps is hardly playable. AMD cards suffer here as performance drops significantly each time the depth of field effect is activated.
Assassin’s Creed Unity: Ultra High, FXAA
2016 release Battlefield 1 and the killing fields of the Great War are where we head next, as we follow a British tank as it makes its journey across no man’s land. The Vega 56 is at its best in this DX12 title, beating the GTX 1070 and GTX 1070 Ti by a margin of 17 percent and eight percent, respectively, at 1080p. The trend continues with each higher resolution, and the Vega 56 demonstrates that AMD has a significant architectural advantage in some titles.
Battlefield 1: Ultra, TAA
Surprisingly, Crysis 3 is still a challenge for modern graphics cards six years after its debut in 2013. The Vega 56 is on the same level as the GTX 1070 here, just one frame per second ahead at 1440p and dead even at 4K . The 1440p result of 69 frames per second is exceptional, while the 4K result of 33 frames per second is perhaps a little more “cinematic” but still quite playable. However, Nvidia’s RTX 2060 and GTX 1070 Ti cards are still the best, with the RTX card showing slightly worse performance than the two in older titles like this one.
Crysis 3: Very high, SMAA T2X
Very far away 5
The 2018 release, Far Cry 5, has one of the most relaxing set points we’ve used, with periodic gunshots and swooping planes barely distracting from the picturesque Montana lake and its relaxing soundtrack. All five cards are exceptional at 1080p, and all but the GTX 1070 beat the 100 frames per second average, so let’s look at the 1440p results. The Vega 56 sits here between the GTX 1070 and GTX 1070, while the RTX 2060 is surpassed by the Vega 64 (a rarity). The Vega 56 performs best at 4K, battling the GTX 1070 Ti and RTX 2060 to a standstill and remaining 14 percent ahead of the GTX 1070.
Far Cry 5: Ultra, TAA
Ghost Recon Wildlands
Our most recent and demanding title is Ghost Recon Wildlands, released in 2017. In the challenging ultra preset, none of our cards manage to average more than 60 frames per second, even at 1080p, with the Vega 56 at 54 fps. At 1440p, the popular AMD card achieves a score of 43 fps, between the GTX 1070 (40 fps) and the GTX 1070 Ti (44.5 fps). Once again, moving to 4K seems to improve conditions for AMD cards, and the Vega 56 manages to tie the RTX 2060 and GTX 1070 Ti for the highest resolution. To be honest, high or very high presets are recommended for virtually all 4K-oriented cards.
Ghost Recon Wildlands: Ultra, TAA
The Rise of the Tomb Raider
2016 saw the return of born survivor Lara Croft in Rise of the Tomb Raider. The three-part benchmark is tested under the DX12 rendering path. The Vega 56 boasts a 10 percent lead over the GTX 1070 at 1440p, and comes close to the GTX 1070 Ti once again with a deficit of just four percent. Based on these results, the game can also be played in 4K, with a frame rate of 42 fps, 13 percent better than what the GTX 1070 can manage. What we will say is that this benchmark encourages cheating: in Actual gameplay requires careful settings management to get decent performance.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: Very high, SMAA
The shadow of the Tomb Raider
In the most recent Tomb Raider title from 2018, the Vega 56 does even better against its Nvidia opposition. The card achieves a 12 percent lead at 1080p over the GTX 1070, rising to 14 and then 17 percent at 1440p and 4K. The most exciting thing is that the Vega 56 also wins the fight against the GTX 1070 Ti that was created to defeat it, with narrow leads at all resolutions. However, it is the Vega 64 that leads the pack with almost a 10 percent lead over its little brother.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Taller, TAA
The Witcher 3
The 2015 classic The Witcher 3 is another challenging title in its ultra preset settings, particularly in 4K. The Vega 56 easily surpasses the 60 frames per second we’d like to see in 1440p, but only manages to deliver 40 frames in 4K. However, that 4K result is still a comfortable 7.5 percent ahead of its GTX 1070 competition, and just a few frames per second behind that of the GTX 1070 Ti.
Witcher 3: Ultra, Post-AA, no hairstyles
We’ll conclude with a look at how Vega 56 and Vega 56 compare to their predecessors in Assassin’s Creed Unity. In this unfair fight, Vega cards are pitted against the cheaper RX 570, RX 580, and RX 590, as well as AMD’s previous generation high-end card, the R9 Fury X. You can see that the R9 Fury 12 percent behind. the Vega 56, while the RX 580 is considerably slower with a frame rate 23 percent behind the Vega 56. Meanwhile, the Radeon 7 sets new performance records for a red team GPU.
Assassin’s Creed Unity: Ultra High, FXAA
With this, our look at the Vega 56 benchmarks is finally complete. We recommend you check out our full review of the Vega 56.
Now that you’ve seen a card’s benchmarks, why not check out what PC hardware we recommend to our friends and family? Here are DF’s picks for the best overall graphics cards and best gaming monitors on the market.