AMD’s Vega 64 and Vega 56 graphics cards are slated for release on August 14, and the rumors of their potential performance are gaining attention. The most recent tease suggests that Vega could be a powerhouse at mining Ethereum, which could be true, but don’t get fooled by the hype.
Earlier today, Overclock3D.net and Videocardz.com released reports that suggest that AMD’s upcoming Vega cards would offer incredible Ethereum mining performance, the likes of which no single GPU could ever dream of pulling off before Vega. Overclock3D.net reported that Vega cards would offer 70-100 MH/s of Ethereum mining performance, whereas Videocardz.com reported that its source said 60 MH/s.
Those figures are mighty impressive, but you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for those results. To put those numbers into perspective, a GTX 1070, which is currently one of the most powerful Ethereum mining options available, can usually mine between 27MH/s and 32MH/s. AMD’s Fury lineup offers comparable performance to Nvidia’s GTX 1070. A 100MH/s mining machine would typically require three to four GPUs. We expect the Vega cards to perform well, but not as well as the rumors suggest.
It should also be noted that Overclock3D.net’s source is an employee from Overclockers UK known as Gibbo, who posted “Seems the hash rate on VEGA is 70-100 per card, which is insanely good,” without himself offering any form of source for the information.
Videocardz.com’s prediction is somewhat tempered compared to Overclock3D.net’s report, and what it suggests is somewhat more plausible. Even so, we would still suggest you wait for proper tests before you believe the hype. AMD recently started shipping the Vega Frontier Edition, and at least one crypto-mining-centric website took one for a spin to see how well it would perform: 1stminingrig recorded 38.5 MH/s with its Vega Frontier Edition card. We would expect the gaming-focused Vega cards to offer somewhat less mining performance than the $1,000 workstation card, but 30+ MH/s wouldn’t be a surprise.
Apparently, the latest version of Radeon Software Crimson ReLive doubles the hash rate performance of Vega-based GPUs. If that assertion proves true, it could push the Ethereum mining performance of Vega chips into the 70+ MH/s range.
The idea that a driver could double the performance of a GPU isn’t unprecedented–Nvidia just released a driver this week that tripled the compute performance of Titan Xp cards. It’s also not unfathomable that AMD’s next-generation GPUs would offer significant gains over previous generations. Since the genesis of GPU-based crypto mining, AMD GPUs have always offered higher performance generation over generation than Nvidia.
The Vega lineup, especially, has the potential to shake up the cryptomining scene. The algorithms that GPUs crunch through to uncover cryptocoins are much more memory-intensive than they are GPU-intensive. Many cryptominers tune their cards to boost the memory clock as high as possible and undervolt the GPU to keep the power draw as low as possible. The faster the memory, the better the performance. And Vega GPUs are equipped with 16GB of HBM2 memory that offers nearly 500 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
There’s no reason that Vega wouldn’t offer better mining performance than previous generation GPUs, but it’s a little too early to believe that these cards would offer such a dramatic performance jump. Vega launch day is less than two weeks away, so it won’t be long before we know the truth.
We’ve reached out to AMD for comment, but we don’t expect the company to confirm or deny the performance claims ahead of the review embargo.