AMD’s “Vega” GPU has surfaced, now available for pre-order on Scan UK and Sabre PC. The listings may have been a mistake, as there hasn’t been an announcement from AMD regarding pricing or release dates, or listings on many other major online computer hardware stores.
The cards are not cheap. The air cooled version sells for $1,199, while the liquid cooled variant sells for $1,799. Unlike AMD’s Fury/Fury X, the liquid cooled version does not provide more usable cores than the air cooled version. The two cards have seemingly identical specs, each boasting 16 GB of HBM2 VRAM and 4096 shader cores.
While the GPU is a workstation card, which is intended for professional use for double precision computing, the card is likely the most powerful AMD GPU available for gaming. Featuring an advertised 13.1 TFLOPS of single precision computing power compared to the Fury X’s 8.6 TFLOPS, AMD’s Vega has the potential to be over 50% faster than the Fury X in terms of computing power while containing 4 times the available VRAM. Of course, it’s not certain that this will translate to real world performance, so it’s best to wait for benchmarks before reaching conclusions.
It’s currently unclear if AMD will release a cheaper variant of the workstation card for gaming use. Usually, both AMD and Nvidia release workstation variants of their cards after the consumer version, with the cheaper consumer versions of the cards having throttled double precision capability. With AMD’s Vega, this may be different. Supply of HBM2 memory, a revolutionary new type of high bandwidth & low power consumption memory, is currently limited, and very expensive. Nvidia has not released any consumer-grade GPUs with HBM2, as they’re using their limited supply for their $7,000+ GP100 GPU, which is intended for datacenter use. It’s likely that AMD will follow a similar pattern due to the scarcity and price of HBM2 memory.
At $1,199(or $1,799 if you want a liquid cooled one), AMD’s Vega is likely not a good purchase for gaming purposes, unless you are committed to using AMD(or use Freesync), want the best performance, don’t want to wait, and price is not an issue.