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Vega Frontier fair value?

badreg
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What is a fair current valuation for a Vega Frontier Edition? I have been casually browsing Craigslist for a cheap 1080ti, and a Vega FE popped up locally a few days ago. It's an intriguing card, because it combines gaming capabilities with pro features (10-bit color, 16GB HBM). It normally costs 2-4x for a Quadro or Radeon Pro compared to an equivalent GeForce or Radeon card. The Vega FE received almost universally poor reviews at launch, but with the prices of Vega cards coming down, is it actually a pretty decent value at or below $400?

 

Given that new Vega 64 cards are selling for $400, I am thinking of offering the seller $350 for the Vega FE. I don't absolutely need the pro features. I am a photographer professionally, so 10-bit color is a nice to have, but not a must. I don't really do anything that would benefit from the 16GB of HBM. For work purposes, I use a 4k60 display, and while I only game lightly, my concern is that the Vega will show its age a lot sooner than a 1080ti at 4k gaming. Also, due to the blower design, I will also have to spend about $100 to upgrade the cooler to a Morpheus II in order not to lose my sanity from the noise.

 

What would you guys do in my situation? I currently run a R9 390X, which performs perfectly well for work, but obviously doesn't keep up with modern games at higher than 1080p.

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2 minutes ago, handymanshandle said:

From what I remember, AMD basically abandoned the card, so I'd say no.

As in no driver support at all? I didn't know this, but that is a pretty shitty move given that these cards were marketed to professionals.

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3 minutes ago, handymanshandle said:

From what I remember, AMD basically abandoned the card, so I'd say no.

The card is still just a V64 if you use the common drivers meaning that if you can find one for about the price of a V56 at least it already makes sense... if you're into an AMD card that is.

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Just now, badreg said:

As in no driver support at all? I didn't know this, but that is a pretty shitty move given that these cards were marketed to professionals.

They still make drivers specific for the card, but they don't seem to come around as often as the normal card drivers do.

They just never really supported the card as intended all that well, for some reason.

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It's the final form of Vega 64 so to say, so at a good price there's no reason why you shouldn't buy it. Sticking to the stock blower is one of the reasons though

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Just now, handymanshandle said:

They still make drivers specific for the card, but they don't seem to come around as often as the normal card drivers do.

They just never really supported the card as intended all that well, for some reason.

As far as I understand it, the Vega FE can switch between the workstation Radeon Pro drivers and the regular gaming drivers. The pro drivers are only updated every few months, regardless of which Radeon Pro card you own, while the gaming drivers are updated every couple of weeks.

 

Are you saying that the Vega FE is poorly supported relative to other Radeon Pro cards? As mentioned above, this is basically a Vega 64, so it gets the same support on the gaming side.

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To the best of my knowledge there is no different between the Vega FE and the Vega 64. Other than the VRAM 16GB vs 8GB on the consumer Vega, they are the same card. As has been said it is very different from GTX vs Quadro, AMD don't care and you can use the Pro driver or the gaming one. I know that on Linux the AMD Compute stack (ROCm) treats all Desktop Vega GPUs the same.

So basically, you don't get any benefit from buying a used Vega FE compared to a used Vega 64, except for double the VRAM.

The Pro benefits are (were) mostly access to business grade customer support and that sort of thing. AMD doesn't artificially lock down cards like Nvidia which is why there is so little difference. Also Vega FE came out first which sort of justified the higher price, just like Nvidia used to do with releasing Titan GPUs then Ti models which were identical but with less VRAM.

If you think the price is good then I would go for it. Just keep in mind that Vega FE is just early access Vega 64 with 2x VRAM.

 

If we get 7nm Vega cards next year (only rumored) then used prices for Vega may suffer.

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13 minutes ago, Madgemade said:

AMD don't care and you can use the Pro driver or the gaming one.

Does this apply to all Radeon cards or just the Vega cards? If that is true for older cards like my 390X, I might just stick with it for a while. Or if this applies to the Vega 56, then it would be a viable option with an aftermarket cooler and overclocking.

 

On the Vega Frontier product page, AMD specifically mentions the following, which makes it seem like it is a special case:

 

Quote

Radeon™ Vega Frontier Edition introduces “Driver Options”5. This allows you to switch from Radeon™ Pro Software to the latest Radeon™ Software Adrenalin Edition for Radeon™ Pro driver (a special version of our Radeon Software driver optimized for this feature downloadable from within Radeon™ Pro Settings) where you can access gaming features for playtesting and performance optimization.

 

If you are focused on game development on a Windows® platform, get your driver here and use “Driver Options” to switch to “Gaming Mode.”

 

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It depends want you want to do. Pro drivers are no better unless you are actually using software they have been optimized for. The 390X is a little old now but I have the 290 which is almost the same and overclocked it is pretty decent at games still. The 290(X) and 390(X) are both gfx702 chips (codenamed Hawaii and Grenada), but unlike Vega the Pro version of Hawaii was not the exact same except for VRAM. The FirePro W9100 is the pro version of the 390X. The Pro chip has lower clockspeeds 4x the VRAM and much higher FP64 performance (useful for scientific work). Vega doesn't have this difference, both FE and 64 have the same Compute performance. Only the 7nm Radeon Instinct MI60 version of Vega has better FP64.

 

The feature you quoted are focused on Game Development, debugging, building in performance optimization, etc. Nothing that would make for better FPS. Usually Pro drivers perform worse, sometimes much worse due to these features. Which is why the normal divers also can be used.

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5 minutes ago, Madgemade said:

It depends want you want to do.

As I mentioned in the OP, I was intrigued by the Vega FE because it is by far the cheapest high-end gaming card that also officially supports 10-bit color. If I am able to achieve 10-bit color with other consumer cards, then I can expand my options. The feature that I quoted is for switching between the Pro drivers (10-bit color) and the gaming drivers (better FPS), which is the best of both worlds.

 

Here is the information page for the latest Radeon Pro drivers:

 

https://www.amd.com/en/support/kb/release-notes/rn-pro-win-18-q3

 

AMD only lists support for the Vega FE and not Vega 64 or 56. Can you clarify how it is possible to run the Pro drivers with a consumer card in Windows?

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3 minutes ago, badreg said:

AMD only lists support for the Vega FE and not Vega 64 or 56. Can you clarify how it is possible to run the Pro drivers with a consumer card in Windows?

I can't, I haven't tried it and don't want to mess up my main system or I would try it, but from what I have read before you can, it's the features baked into the GPU that are unique to Pro cards. As for 10 bit color I don't know really. Radeon setting tells my that I am running 10 bpc on my 4K monitor via my R9 290 so if that's fake and not true 10 bit then I guess the best thing to do would be to get the FE just to be sure. The actual hardware is the same but only AMD know what the differences really are with the drivers and usually they never say anywhere.

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54 minutes ago, Madgemade said:

Radeon setting tells my that I am running 10 bpc on my 4K monitor via my R9 290 so if that's fake and not true 10 bit

It is not fake, but that setting applies to full screen DirectX applications only, so it does work for gaming and video content. As far as I know, full 10-bit support for Photoshop, which uses OpenCL, and other applications requires workstation drivers, even if the actual hardware of the consumer and workstation cards are the same.

 

Edit: I did some more research and it is indeed only the Vega FE that supports 10-bit color. The Vega 64 does not, even though it has seemingly identical hardware.

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