AMD’s Radeon RX Vega is set to be announced and fully detailed at the company’s SIGGRAPH presentation on Sunday. It’s been on the tongues of many hardware enthusiasts since it appeared on AMD’s roadmap two years ago, and it is set to be the company’s highest-performing flagship GPU when it launches, which might be happening in mid-August. Pricing for Radeon RX Vega hasn’t been available, and very few leaks have pointed to any particular price point. When AMD’s Vega Frontier Edition launched locally, its mind-boggling R18,000 price point seemed to point to RX Vega being priced just as high.
A recent price leak from distributor Frontosa on the AMD subreddit seems to confirm a price for the RX Vega 8GB card, and also confirms that there will be two versions launching soon – one using a reference air cooler design, and another using an all-in-one water cooling loop, presumably designed by AMD and Cooler Master. And the prices, considering the expected performance at the level of a GeForce GTX 1080, are astounding.
The model numbers for both cards are SC-AVX64-8 for the air-cooled card and SC-AVX64-8WO for the water-cooled edition, which also sports an overclock. The brand is said to be ASUS, and there’s otherwise nothing else to tell us about the card’s performance, clock speeds, or its expected arrival date. Frontosa’s prices are excluding VAT, which is why prices for other products have been blurred to protect pricing information for retailers that might be purchasing their stock from Frontosa.
Curious about the leak’s validity, I reached out to some sources about this and one source confirmed that the prices and model numbers are real, and they are likely not placeholder pricing either. That same source even told me that stock levels for the cards are not expected to be high, with less than six units total coming into the country in the first wave, with more landing later as AMD ramps up production. RX Vega isn’t suitable for mining cryptocurrency just yet, so for the moment it’s not going to be affected by any surges in the price of Bitcoin.
If we add VAT and a typical 7% mark-up on the price for the air-cooled Vega, we arrive at an expected retail price of just under R17,200. That’s around R1,500 less than the air-cooled Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, which is aimed at professional use rather than consumer workloads like gaming. The water-cooled RX Vega works out to around R19,500, which is just over R6800 cheaper than the Frontier Edition version.
Converted to dollars, the air-cooled RX Vega is priced at $1081, while the water-cooled variant is $1221. The air-cooled version is priced similarly to the Vega Frontier Edition in the U.S., while the water-cooled RX Vega is $400 cheaper than its Frontier Edition cousin.
Prices are wack, is what I’m trying to say here. These prices are extremely high, and moves RX Vega far out of reach of the typical enthusiast gamer in South Africa.
|Leaked price with VAT and margins||Wootware||Rebel Tech||Raru|
|ASUS Radeon RX Vega SV-AVX64-8 8GB HBM2||R17,198||—||—||—|
|ASUS Radeon RX Vega SV-AVX64-8WO 8GB HBM2||R19,515||—||—||—|
|AMD Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition 16GB HBM2||—||R18,699||R18,690||R19,384|
|ASUS Radeon R9 Fury X 4GB HBM||—||—||R14,376||R14,958|
|ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Turbo 8GB GDDR5X||—||R11,499||R11,501||R11,490|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11GB GDDR5X||—||R14,199||R13,275||R13,258|
|MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Sea Hawk X 11GB GDDR5X||—||—||R15,455||R15,290|
Comparing the leaked pricing with my adjustments against other cards from online retailers, it’s not pretty. If RX Vega only delivers performance equivalent to a GeForce GTX 1080 at the best of times, it won’t sell as well as the GTX 1080 and will only be picked up by die-hard AMD fans. From early reviews by overseas hardware sites, the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition normally performs at, or just under the level of performance offered by the GeForce GTX 1080, and may also occasionally drop to the same level as a GeForce GTX 1070. Part of this is because the Frontier Edition card has an issue with throttling, and the other part is because drivers might not be able to extract all the performance the card can deliver.
I hope that Vega RX is good enough to justify its pricing. There are rumours that its clock speed will be much higher than the Frontier Edition cards, but no-one knows if that will come at the cost of higher power consumption. The high bandwidth memory on the card is also not really an issue, because Vega FE only draws 25 watts through the PCI Express slot to power the memory and video outputs. If AMD can’t bring up performance with a better BIOS or faster drivers, then keeping Vega RX at this price point would ensure that it is not successful.
We’ll know a bit more about all of this on Sunday. The anticipation is killing me.