After a long wait, AMD finally launched its consumer-focused Vega-based graphics cards last night. However, unable to boast a significant performance advantage over rival Nvidia, the company was keen to assert that it would provide smoother gameplay, especially when paired with a FreeSync monitor.
The Radeon Vega GPUs were unveiled ahead of the Siggraph graphics show in Los Angeles, California this week, and will initially feature in a series of four graphics cards.
The air-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64 will be priced at $499 (around £450, although UK prices are yet to be confirmed), while a Liquid Cooled Edition will be available at the premium price of $699 (around £550).
In between the two, at $599, will be a Limited Edition version, with the extra $100 buying smart casing and intended to appeal to the kind of people who build their own PCs in windowed cases. The Radeon RX Vega 56 entry level graphics card, meanwhile, has been pegged at $399 (around £350).
As the performance of the graphics cards are on a par with Nvidia's 10-series, rather than blowing them out of the water as many had (over-optimistically) hoped, the company was instead keen to assert the optimised drivers for the cards, alongside a renewed push from AMD for monitor manufacturers to produce more FreeSync displays.
AMD's pitch is that, while Vega is pretty much on a par with Nvidia's 10-series, pairing one of them with a FreeSync monitor will provide a smoother gaming experience. Monitors bearing Nvidia's own G-Sync technology, its alternative to FreeSync, are typically more expensive.
Demonstrating the new models last night, AMD claimed that the liquid-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64 could achieve between 53 frames per second (FPS) and 76 FPS at a range of games at 4K - in the same ballpark as the Nvidia GeForce GTX1080.
The model closest to most people's pockets, meanwhile - the $399 Radeon RX Vega 56 - features a cut-down Vega 10 die, a lower base clock speed and 10.5 teraflops of computer power against the liquid-cooled RX Vega 64's 13.7 teraflops. But it will have the same 8GB of HBM2 video RAM.
The cards will be available from 14th August.
Next up, according to Raja Koduri, AMD Radeon Technologies Group senior vice president and chief architect, will be the Radeon RX Vega Nano, a cut-down Vega graphics card intended for smaller form-factor PCs.
The devices will also be available in a number of 'packs' for a limited period, with two free games - Wolfenstein 2 and Prey for most of the world, but with Wolfenstein 2 swapped out for Sniper Elite 4 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland - and $100 off a Ryzen 7 1700X or 1800X CPU when bought with one of three X370 motherboards.
Americans, Australians and others can also get $200 off a Samsung 34" ultra-widescreen 1440k monitor in their packs.
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