The Radeon RX Vega 64 rivaled Nvidia’s high-end GeForce GTX 1080 upon its launch in summer 2017, but over the past eighteen months AMD’s high-end Vega card has fallen behind three new offerings from Team Green : the RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070. With the launch of Radeon 7 in February, Vega 64 has officially given up its place at the top of the Red Team totem pole… but this range GPU could still be worth considering high.
That’s because recent price drops to around £310/$400 mean the Vega 64 is still holding its own, if you can actually find one on sale at this rather exceptional price. It has excellent 1440p performance and often has frames to spare, making it a good choice for 21:9 and 32:9 ultrawide monitors that would overload smaller cards. It’s also the first AMD graphics card that can actually handle 4K gaming, although once again the Radeon 7 can perform this role much better (albeit at a higher price).
A nice benefit of choosing high-end AMD hardware used to be that purchasing a variable refresh rate monitor was much cheaper. AMD’s FreeSync standard adds almost nothing to the cost of a monitor, while Nvidia’s comparable G-Sync module can increase the price by 20 percent or more. However, Nvidia’s recent support for the FreeSync standard has more or less neutralized this advantage.
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.
How does the Vega 64 compare to its little brother, the Vega 56? Well, the Vega 64 is typically around ten percent more powerful than its scaled-down counterpart, although this comes at a cost: higher power consumption, higher temperatures, and also a higher retail price. However, if you’re looking for the best AMD graphics card, you won’t find a more powerful GPU than the Vega 64 outside of the unreleased Radeon 7.
To give you a good idea of in-game performance, we’ll show you exactly how Vega 64 performs in nine different games at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K using maximum settings (with a few exceptions).
Our comparison includes the two Vega cards released so far, Vega 56 and Vega 64, plus three competing Nvidia cards that occupy a similar price sphere: the next-gen GTX 1080 and the current-gen RTX 2060 and RTX 2070. I also included an AMD cross-gen benchmark towards the end of this article, allowing you to see how the Vega 64 compares to its predecessors and successors. If you want to see how Vega 64 compares to Radeon 7, we have a full article on that very topic: Vega 64 vs Radeon 7 benchmarks.
We tested the reference version of the Vega 64, shown here. To be honest, AMD’s design here is not good enough to manage the heat generated by the card.
|GPU cores||Boost the clock||TFLOPS||Memory||memory bandwidth|
You’ll notice that our benchmarks are a little different from those you’ll find on other sites. Instead of using graphs or videos with “recorded” metrics, our system uses a YouTube video with live frame rates and frame times shown below, at least while viewing this page on a computer rather than a mobile device. Because these statistics exist on our site, you can control them: you can add or remove cards from the comparison using the controls to the right of the video, skip or play the video at double speed and everything will work. This makes it easy to see the results you’re interested in, so you can see how up to four cards at the same resolution compare, or see how one or two cards perform at multiple resolutions.
In addition to the live data, there’s also a handy graph a little further down that shows the average results over the entire run. You can hover over different parts of the graph to see other metrics, like worst one percent frame rates, which give you an idea of how bad things can get. You can also click on the bar chart to see how the other cards compare in terms of percentages, possibly easier to follow than just the frame-rate numbers. To learn more about the benchmarking system, you can check out our full introduction to Digital Foundry’s benchmarking system here.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
We start with Odyssey, the most recent release of Assassin’s Creed and the most updated version of the AnvilNext 2.0 engine. The game is challenging to render, with potential CPU bottlenecks at 1080p and 1440p resolutions even on our Core i7-8700K testbed overclocked to 4.7 GHz. It also puts greater strain on the Vega cards than on the GeForce, potentially due to greater overhead from AMD’s mediocre DX11 driver. Even at 1080p, the Vega 64 isn’t capable of hitting the ideal 60fps on the (admittedly punishing) ultra-high graphics preset we’re using here. Even the weakest RTX card released so far, the RTX 2060, is capable of outperforming AMD’s current best card in the test by 15 percent, not to mention the GTX 1080 and RTX 2070. Things are similar to 1440p, and we only see a significant change in 4K where AMD becomes more competitive.
AC Odyssey: Ultra High, TAA
Assassin’s Creed Unity
Vega’s poor performance isn’t just found in the more recent Assassin’s Creed titles. The 2014 version, Unity, shows similar issues for AMD hardware with a 10 percent lead for the RTX 2060 over the Vega 64. Both Vega cards also exhibit massive slowdowns in the later stages of the test when the background is blurred , with frame-rates dropping to just over 30fps even at the lowest resolution we tested. The cards improve relatively with higher resolutions, but the Nvidia cards are still the obvious performance winner.
Assassin’s Creed Unity: Ultra High, FXAA
Now the shoe is on the other foot. Battlefield 1 is a much more friendly game on AMD hardware, with the Vega 64 being six percent ahead of the GTX 1080, four percent ahead of the RTX 2060, and just three percent behind the RTX 2070. 1080p. At 4K, the Vega 64 is the fastest card of the five we’ve included and even averages over 60fps, which is impressive. Unfortunately, this performance is not replicated in many other titles.
Battlefield 1: Ultra, TAA
The explosive train ride that occurs at the beginning of Crysis 3 is a beautiful fireworks display and a challenging benchmark, even for graphics cards released five years after the game first arrived in 2013. The Vega 64 is six percent ahead of its little sister, the Vega 64 and almost at the level of the RTX 2060 at 1080p. However, the GTX 1080 and RTX 2070’s advantage in raw power allows them to be almost 15 percent ahead of the best Vega card at the same resolution. These results are also more or less consistent at different resolutions.
Crysis 3: very high, SMAA T2X
Very far away 5
Far Cry 5’s relaxing landmark is a new favorite, thanks to its soft music and calming scenery. The Vega 64 also delivers some of its best performance in a modern title, with 116fps at 1080p, more than enough for using a high refresh rate monitor. That’s almost exactly the same as a GTX 1080 GPU, but a bit behind the newer RTX 2070. The Vega 64 remains competitive at other resolutions, even coming within one frame per second of the RTX 2070 at 4K. Score a win for AMD here, with the results no doubt influenced by the game’s implementation of the Vega Rapid math standard.
Far Cry 5: Ultra, TAA
Ghost Recon Wildlands
Ghost Recon Wildlands is the most challenging game in our current suite, thanks to its overly demanding ultra preset that eats up VRAM and polishes it with a huge amount of computing power. The Vega 64 simply loses 60fps at 1080p, something that all Nvidia hardware achieves in this test. As we move up the resolution scale, the AMD card becomes more competitive, reaching the level of the RTX 2060 at 1440p and approaching the GTX 1080 at 4K.
Ghost Recon Wildlands: Ultra, TAA
The Rise of the Tomb Raider
In the first of our two Tomb Raider titles, the Vega 64 manages a solid 126fps at 1080p; that puts it ahead of the RTX 2060 but behind the GTX 1080 and RTX 2070. Again we see gains at 1440p, with the best AMD card coming close to both the GTX 1080 and RTX 2060, and at 4K, Vega 64 manages to outperform the GTX 1080 and it’s only 1 fps behind the RTX 2070. Unfortunately, the benchmark for this game is a little less challenging than the game itself, so you may need to opt for a lower graphics setting to ensure 90+ fps at 1440p or 50 fps at 4K.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: Very high, SMAA
The shadow of the Tomb Raider
Even though Shadow of the Tomb Raider became one of Nvidia’s most referenced titles at the launch of the RTX series of graphics cards thanks to its support for real-time ray tracing (RT) and deep learning supersampling ( DLSS), the game still plays. good on AMD hardware. The Vega 64 hits 95fps at 1080p, third behind the GTX 1080 and RTX 2070, then moves into second place at 1440p and 4K.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Taller, TAA
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 is our final benchmark, as our preferred benchmark Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus has compatibility issues with AMD hardware. Unfortunately, it’s not a rosy ending for Vega 64, as all three Nvidia cards we’re looking at show better performance at 1080p and 1440p, even with Nvidia’s wildly inefficient Hairworks implementation disabled. The AMD card beats the RTX 2060 at 4K, but it’s a narrow lead for AMD’s next-gen leader over Nvidia’s current-gen value option.
The Witcher 3: Ultra, POST-AA, no hairstyles
We’ll conclude with a look at how the Vega 64 and 56 compare to their predecessors in the Assassin’s Creed Unity benchmark, including the RX 570 and RX 580, along with AMD’s previous flagship card, the now venerable R9 Fury X. You can see that the Vega 64 is comfortably the second-best AMD graphics card to date, with a seven percent lead over the Vega 56, a 17 percent lead over the Fury 1080p. However, the new Radeon 7 takes first place overall. Progress!
Assassin’s Creed Unity: Ultra High, FXAA
With this, our look at the Vega 64 benchmarks has come to an end. We recommend that you check out our full Vega 64 review for more information on this card if you are considering it.
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.