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AMD Vega Frontier Edition Mining Performance Review

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AMD Vega is one of the new-gen AMD GPUs that are based on a new architecture. There was a lot of hype around Vega GPUs, until the Vega Frontier Edition came out. While most people now feel disappointed about the card, it is important to stay unbiased when reviewing gear. In this article I will try to sort out what is true and what is not about the Vega FE, as well as will discuss about the possible prospects of this GPU.

AMD Vega FE Specs

Here is a comparison of the basic specs with its predecessor, as well as with the competency:

Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Radeon RX 580 GTX 1080 Ti
GPU AMD Vega 10 AMD Polaris 20 Nvidia GP102
Architecture GCN 4.0 GCN 4.0 Pascal
Lithography 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET 16nm FinFET
Stream Processors 4,096 2,304 3,584
Texture units 256 144 224
Render output units 64 32 88
Memory Capacity 16GB HBM2 8GB GDDR5 11GB GDDR5X
Memory bus 2,048-bit 256-bit 352-bit
Performance 12.5 TFLOPs 5.8 TFLOPs 11.8 TFLOPs
TDP < 300W 185W 250W

Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Air Retail
List Price: $964.99
Price: $964.99
Price Disclaimer

AMD Vega FE Usage

Now, before we dive into hashrate and profitability, it is worth mentioning that the Vega Frontier Edition is not meant to be used for mining or gaming. The card already received poor reviews from gamers, who were disappointed by the price/performance ratio. It looks like some people don’t bother to read descriptions and buy the card because “YOLO”. Their frustration is understandable since good gaming GPUs are mostly out of stock due to the mining craze. However, getting a Vega FE for gaming is not a solution either.

The Vega FE is meant to be a budget GPU for those who are working in visualization fields (CG, CAD, medical, etc). I meant the word budget since there are more expensive alternatives. AMD was honest about this and they advertised the Vega FE as a workstation card from the beginning.

AMD Vega FE Mining Hashrate and Profitability

Here’s where comes the most interesting (and sad) part.

The MRP of this card is $ 999. One would expect at least 70 MH/s on Ethereum for such elevated price. However, we got what we got. I will list below the best OC settings I could find:

Setup #1: No OC
  • Ethereum Hashrate: 29 MH/s
  • Power Draw: ~300 W
Setup #2 EVGA FE Dual Mining:
  • Memory clock: +1000
  • Core Clock:200
  • -dcri: ~ 49/50
  • Primary Hashrate: 37-38 MH/s ETH
  • Secondary Hashrate: 500 SC
  • Temperature: ~ 85 C
  • Power Draw: ~300 W
Setup #3 Ethereum alone:
  • Roughly the same clocks as above
  • Primary Hashrate: 38.5 MH/s
  • Some spikes reached the 40 MH/s mark, but the average is 38.5 MH/s

Other Hashrates

Using sgminer:

  • Lbry: 275.700 MH/s
  • X11Gost: 11.2 MH/s
  • DaggerHashimoto: 27.5 MH/s
  • CryptoNight: 900.0 H/s

Excavator server:

  • Pascal: 1.372 GH/s
  • Decred: 4.193 GH/s
  • Sia: 1.31 GH/s
  • CryptoNight: 310.800 H/s

While Ethereum hashrate is rather poor, you probably noticed that the GPU handles dual mining quite well. This is due to the unmatched bandwidth of the card.

Usually, small bandwidth bottlenecks the amount of data that can be processed by the GPU core. Therefore, people overclock (and sometimes overcook) the memory to allow the core to work at 100% or even more. However, Vega FE’s memory size and bandwidth allows it to handle the Ethereum DAG file without the need to alter the memo clocks too much.

Temperature and Cooling

It is worth mentioning that the card is rather hot. People report that the GPU will stay at 85 C at ambient temperature of 25 C.

This also makes the card fans work at maximum speed during mining, which means high noise levels. You could say that the Vega FE is noisier than the average high-tier GPU.

Compatibility Issues

As for today, the card is not compatible with certain available mining software.

Here is a list of software that does not work with the Vega FE

  • Nicehash miner
  • zCash miner
  • Claymore Dual Miner*

Here are the miners that do work with the card:

  • Genoil miner
  • Ethminer 0.9.41
  • Claymore 9.7*

Hashrate Drop Prospects

Plainbroadcast made a good point that the Vega FE might not look very exciting today, but since DAG file size steadily increases every day, Polaris-based cards will soon lose a big chunk of their hashrate, which will make the Vegas FE shine.

This is due to the VRAM size and bandwidth of the Vega FE, which is rather impressive. It is unlikely that its performance will be affected by DAG file size anytime soon. However, according to the latest news, AMD is working on a fix that will help Polaris-based GPUs overcome the hashrate drop. If this is indeed true, then the RX 400 and 500 will probably keep hashing the usual 28-31 MH/s until Ethereum goes POS.

Once AMD releases the new drivers, the new Vega FE will lose one of its few advantages compared to its predecessors. This might be the reason why AMD is releasing the BIOS fix to begin with – maybe the company wants to avoid stock shortages on their new Vega FE cards; AMD probably does not want to lose touch with the group of people who use their GPUs for graphic design rather than gaming or mining.

Where to buy

Amazon
Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Air Retail
List Price: $964.99
Price: $964.99
Price Disclaimer

In Conclusion

  • I wouldn’t mine, or game with this. I would put it on my desk and admire it all day.

  • Luis Diego Hamill

    Howdy, I’m working with a Vega FE sadly only once out of a dozen times will ubuntu 16.4.2 will actually boot with official AMDGPUPRO 17.20 and 17.30 driver. Long story short ROCm drivers and Opencl SDK’s with ubuntu 16.4.2 and a lil’ porting of claymore can get the VEGA FE hashing to the moon! Help anyone out there a level 99 linux expert help me get VEGA FE at 2000 hashes!!! Windows to weak for VEGA FE currently. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b5d39e7c3a02dc40e7173a1c31e3505acc8e969853e92639cb886f9ec77109f8.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78cec2bc013834874da311135660e7e2ee15af8eab0818af8b48a2059959d69c.jpg

    • maRiohd_64

      What coin(s) are you mining with your Vega fe? And does ROCm drivers on Ubuntu really make a huge difference? Also what did you do it get claymore to work/port it by the way?

      This might be a lot since I don’t use Linux in general but if it does improve hashing performance I might have to.

      • Luis Diego Hamill

        Sadly right now my Vegas are not mining anything:/ Too much heat and power usage to justify leaving them on. all my vegas work as good as a gtx1060-gtx1070 with 400watts . The good news is with the realse of RX Vega for 600$ on August 14 . AMD is realsing new drivers. Word is the current Vega drivers have half the memory stack off and power limit all the way up . Along with many other bugs :screen flicker, no control in wattman…. ect… different gpu kernals installed helped boot but no stellar mining. @claymore ur our only hope! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/177fb8c5fe0a49d7d86d036a9d516830ca6e21d7823630d12b88a1c2a4e44cf5.jpg

        • maRiohd_64

          Ah I see. I did see someone get there monero hashrate to 1100 hashes. But ya I am currently get 33-35 mhs on gencoil ethminer 1.1.7 on Windows 10.

          But I am hoping that the release of rx Vega drivers to improve our performance.

          • Claudiu Gafton

            Some new infos about vega?

  • car1999

    claymore updated his miner, could test the card using the new miner?

  • Sarah Krebs

    What’s the Equihash performance?

  • Jason Dela Cruz

    Can we preorder AMD VEGA 64? if yes, where? tried to check newegg but no chance.

    • wait two more days 🙂

      • Jason Dela Cruz

        cant wait to grab one.. would it be advisable to wait for others to buy and see the actual hashrate?.. they say that VEGA 64 has the same memory type w/ R9 FURYx double the speed. does this mean that possible hashrate would run at 50-60Mhs? some say 100Mhs but im not convince until i see it.. 🙂

        the things is, if i wait. that time, VEGA are all sold out lol

  • HamsterNet

    VEGA 64 ETH setting are Meme to 1100, core DOWN to 1100, Power limit to +40-+50%. Will give you over 44MHhas at around 150W total.

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