As far as I can recall, a graphics card unveiling has never been quite as hyped as AMD’s Radeon RX Vega reveal and yet delivered so little. We’ve been reading about ‘Vega this’, ‘Vega that’ for the best part of two years now, the mythical unicorn cresting a horizon that we could never quite reach. Then some 14 months ago, Nvidia turned up and blew us away with its Pascal GPU and the GeForce GTX 10 Series. It felt like a true generational leap, delivering far superior performance to the already impressive Maxwell-powered GTX 900 Series.
Fast forward 430 days and AMD is finally on the scene with its own answer. The Radeon RX Vega is indeed a generational leap, but only on AMD’s own terms, pushing aside the Radeon Fury series with ease. RX Vega is still eclipsed by Nvidia’s biggest heavyweights, leaving plenty of us pondering just what all this means for the red team.
And before Nvidia fans get on their high horses, Radeon RX Vega matching a 14-month old graphics card isn’t good for anyone. The automatic assumption with Vega was that Nvidia would just have something else waiting in the wings, ready to outstrip AMD’s flagship at a moment’s notice. Only Nvidia still has the upper hand in the performance stakes, with no less than three GTX 10 graphics cards outperforming the highest tier AMD Radeon RX Vega 64. These high-end graphics cards aren’t where the bulk of the money is being spent, far from it, but public perception of AMD and Nvidia is inevitably guided by who’s capable of the best of the best. If Nvidia can create the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and make it an absolute monster, it makes sense that you’d trust them with a GTX 1060.
With Nvidia sat in pole position, they have literally no need to release the next generation of graphics cards, whether that be the rumoured Pascal refresh or the Volta overhaul. Why bother when you’re already king of the heap? Just stockpile your best for later.
All of this isn’t to make it seem like I’m laying into AMD. Far from it, in fact. The Radeon RX Vega graphics cards look like decent buys, even if they are thoroughly underwhelming when taken in context. AMD is making great strides in performance and reliability, delivering an experience which AMD believes is superior to playing on Nvidia. We’ll have to wait and see for ourselves whether there’s any truth in that. As it stands, AMD hasn’t revealed anything which screams ‘Must Buy’. It’s business as usual. Only, AMD’s turned up at closing time and everybody’s already heading home, pleased with the 14 months loyal service their GeForce GTX 1080’s have given them.
We asked earlier this month whether AMD had waited too long to launch Radeon RX Vega. I think we may have got our answer.
So over to you. Now everything bar independent benchmarks is out there in the wild, where do you stand on Radeon RX Vega? Still planning to buy one? Or is this all you needed to know before you waited for Volta? Let us know!