from the searching-for-bitcoin-in-all-the-right-places dept.
AMD's Vega 64 GPU is an underwhelming chip that competes against the GTX 1080, which is a 15 month old GPU. Nvidia could lower the price of the GTX 1080 and 1070 to better compete against Vega 64 and 56, or launch Volta-based consumer GPUs in the coming months. But Vega 64 is sold out everywhere due to cryptocurrency miners.
AMD has released an updated (Windows-only) driver called Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition Beta for Blockchain Compute. The driver improves the hash rate for Ethereum mining significantly, and Vega 56 performance may even exceed that of Vega 64 (it is a beta driver so these results are subject to change):
As you can see, we're getting some pretty significant gains already (at stock speeds) with this beta driver. We wouldn't be surprised if there are even further optimizations to be found, once AMD is ready to go with a production driver, but we'll take what we can get right now. We did have one performance anomaly that we ran into, however. When cranking up the memory speeds, the Vega 56 actually vaulted past the Vega 64, cranking out 36.48 MH/s. That's not bad for a card that's supposed to retail for $399.
Unfortunately, there is some confusion over the true price of Vega 64, although they are out of stock anyway aside from some hardware and game bundles.
Nvidia's market cap hit $100 billion on the day of the Vega 64 launch. Nvidia's CEO told investors that the company has the ability to "rock and roll" with the volatile cryptocurrency market (implying less shortages).
2017 has been a great year for the tech enthusiast, with the return of meaningful competition in the PC space. Today, AMD announced their third quarter earnings, which beat expectations, and put the company's ledgers back in the black in their GAAP earnings. For the quarter, AMD had revenues of $1.64 billion, compared to $1.31 billion a year ago, which is a gain of just over 25%. Operating income was $126 million, compared to a $293 million loss a year ago, and net income was $71 million, compared to a net loss of $406 million a year ago. This resulted in earnings per share of $0.07, compared to a loss per share of $0.50 in Q3 2016.
[...] The Computing and Graphics segment has been a key to these numbers, with some impressive launches this year, especially on the CPU side. Revenue for this segment was up 74% to $819 million, and AMD attributes this to strong sales of both Radeon GPUs and Ryzen desktop processors. Average Selling Price (ASP) was also up significantly thanks to Ryzen sales. AMD is still undercutting Intel on price, but they don't have to almost give things away like they did the last couple of years. ASP of GPUs was also up significantly, and the proliferation of cryptocurrency likely played a large part in that. Operating income for the segment was an impressive $70 million, compared to an operating loss of $66 million last year.
Previously: AMD Ryzen Launch News
AMD GPU Supply Exhausted By Cryptocurrency Mining, AIBs Now Directly Advertising To Miners
AMD Epyc 7000-Series Launched With Up to 32 Cores
Cryptocoin GPU Bubble?
Ethereum Mining Craze Leads to GPU Shortages
Used GPUs Flood the Market as Ethereum's Price Crashes Below $150
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and 56 Announced
First Two AMD Threadripper Chips Out on Aug. 10, New 8-Core Version on Aug. 31
Cryptocurrency Mining Wipes Out Vega 64 Stock
AMD Expected to Release Ryzen CPUs on a 12nm Process in Q1 2018
AMD's new Vega 64 GPU offers comparable performance at a similar price to Nvidia's GTX 1080, which was released over a year ago. But it does so while consuming a lot more power under load (over 100 Watts more). Vega 56, however, runs faster than the GTX 1070 at a slightly lower price:
So how does AMD fare? The answer to that is ultimately going to hinge on your option on power efficiency. But before we get too far, let's start with the Radeon RX Vega 64, AMD's flagship card. Previously we've been told that it would trade blows with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080, and indeed it does just that. At 3840x2160, the Vega 64 is on average neck-and-neck with the GeForce GTX 1080 in gaming performance, with the two cards routinely trading the lead, and AMD holding it more often. Of course the "anything but identical" principle applies here, as while the cards are equal on average, they can sometimes be quite far apart on individual games.
Unfortunately for AMD, their GTX 1080-like performance doesn't come cheap from a power perspective. The Vega 64 has a board power rating of 295W, and it lives up to that rating. Relative to the GeForce GTX 1080, we've seen power measurements at the wall anywhere between 110W and 150W higher than the GeForce GTX 1080, all for the same performance. Thankfully for AMD, buyers are focused on price and performance first and foremost (and in that order), so if all you're looking for is a fast AMD card at a reasonable price, the Vega 64 delivers where it needs to: it is a solid AMD counterpart to the GeForce GTX 1080. However if you care about the power consumption and the heat generated by your GPU, the Vega 64 is in a very rough spot.
On the other hand, the Radeon RX Vega 56 looks better for AMD, so it's easy to see why in recent days they have shifted their promotional efforts to the cheaper member of the RX Vega family. Though a step down from the RX Vega 64, the Vega 56 delivers around 90% of Vega 64's performance for 80% of the price. Furthermore, when compared head-to-head with the GeForce GTX 1070, its closest competition, the Vega 56 enjoys a small but none the less significant 8% performance advantage over its NVIDIA counterpart. Whereas the Vega 64 could only draw to a tie, the Vega 56 can win in its market segment.
[...] The one wildcard here with the RX Vega 56 is going to be where retail prices actually end up. AMD's $399 MSRP is rather aggressive, especially when GTX 1070 cards are retailing for closer to $449 due to cryptocurrency miner demand. If they can sustain that price, then Vega 56 is going to be real hot stuff, besting GTX 1070 in price and performance. Otherwise at GTX 1070-like prices it still has the performance advantage, but not the initiative on pricing. At any rate, this is a question we can't answer today; the Vega 56 won't be launching for another two weeks.
Both the Vega 64 and Vega 56 include 8 GB of HBM2 memory.
Also at Tom's Hardware.