What the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition's specs and pricing mean for PC gamers

The first Radeon Vega graphics card is here, and it isn't cheap.

After months of trickles and teases, the full hardware details about the first Radeon Vega graphics card are finally here. Preorders for the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition apparently opened late yesterday ahead of the card’s June 27 launch.

Don’t get too excited though, as this hardware is intended for “data scientists, immersion engineers, and product designers” rather than gamers. And that professional focus reflects in the pricing, with the air-cooled Frontier Edition costing $1,200 and the liquid-cooled Vega going for a cool $1,800 at SabrePC. (Exxact also has Radeon’s new card up for preorder.) But the Vega Frontier Edition’s specs give us a ballpark glimpse of what we might expect from consumer Radeon RX Vega graphics cards when they launch at the very end of July.

Here are the key Radeon Vega Frontier Edition details, pulled from the listings on those two stores and previously revealed information. The air-cooled and liquid-cooled configurations have identical specifications aside from the thermal design power (TDP) rating.

  • Stream processors: 4096
  • Compute units: 64
  • Single precision floating point performance: 13.1 TFLOPS
  • Double-precision floating point performance: 26.2 TFLOPS
  • Pixel fill rate: 90 gigapixels per second
  • Memory: 16GB HBM2 in two stacks
  • Memory bandwidth: 483GBps
  • TDP: 300 watts (air-cooled) 375W (liquid-cooled)
  • Display outputs: 3x DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI “4K60”

The final core clock speed for the cards weren’t announced, but knowing what we do about the Frontier Edition’s teraflops performance and hardware details, it will likely peak around 1,600MHz.

At $1,200, the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition has Nvidia’s similarly prosumer-focused Titan Xp squarely in its sights. Here’s how the two cards stack up in a handful of scenarios, courtesy of Exxact.

radeon vega fe vs titan xp Exxact Corp

Radeon Vega Frontier Edition vs. Nvidia Titan Xp (click to enlarge).

What it means for gamers

Trying to puzzle out what this portends for consumer graphics cards is a tricky task, especially since Radeon boss Raja Koduri already said that the Frontier Edition doesn’t represent Vega’s pinnacle of gaming performance.

“Consumer RX will be much better optimized for all the top gaming titles and flavors of RX Vega will actually be faster than Frontier version!” Koduri said during a Reddit AMA in May. That likely means a higher core clock, though the 300W maximum TDP of the air-cooled version is already 50W higher than Nvidia’s Titan Xp and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

radeon rx vega AMD

Vega Frontier Edition’s stream processor and compute unit configuration matches the Radeon Fury X’s one-to-one. It’s enticing to combine that information with the Fury X’s known performance and the Vega Frontier Edition’s estimated core clock speeds to guess at Vega’s potency, but things aren’t quite that cut and dry. Radeon Vega’s packing all sorts of fresh tech—including “Next-gen compute units,” primitive shaders, a new programmable geometry pipeline, and tile-based rendering—that makes such straightforward comparisons between Fury and Vega feel like a treacherous task.

If you did want to do that though, the Vega Frontier Edition is clocked about 55 percent faster than the Fury X. Adding 55 percent more oomph to the Fury X’s sees it land somewhere between the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti in gaming performance, depending on the game and resolution. But again, do not take that estimate as gospel.

Speaking of hardware configurations, Apple’s iMac Pro rocks Radeon Vega graphics, including an option that packs 56 compute units. That’s eight less than the Vega Frontier Edition, but the CU count lines up exactly with the air-cooled Radeon Fury from last generation, providing yet another hint at what we may see when the consumer Radeon RX Vega lineup launches later this summer.

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Brad Chacos

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