Description

BIOS flashed my reference Vega 56 to a Vega 64 BIOS for identical performance in gaming (as revealed by GamersNexus, the extra shaders on Vega 64 currently make ~0fps difference for gaming when both cards are at the same clocks, which is possible through a BIOS flash for voltage changes on Vega 56).

GPU HBM2 memory was overclocked from 800Mhz to 1100Mhz for 563GB/s memory bandwith (484GB/s on GTX 1080Ti). The GPU core was undervolted to maintain higher actual operating frequencies via less power consumption/thermal throttling.

Overall, it performs slightly better in Firestrike (5%) & total game average fps than a stock FE GTX 1080, consumes 10W less than FE GTX 1080 with the undervolt, was cheaper than a 1070 and is perfect for my FreeSync Ultrawide.

The extra 8 CU's on Vega 64 do not seem to be optimised for gaming at the moment and the hardware is practically the same otherwise. Vega 56 is artificially limited in core and memory frequencies to compete against GTX 1070. This is why an ordinary overclock on Vega 56 achieves +15% performance. The HBM2 memory is limited to 1.25v on the Vega 56 BIOS, still allowing an overclock from 800Mhz to 950Mhz. This alone provides a massive boost to gaming performance as memory bandwith seems to be the main bottleneck on RX Vega. However, flashing the RX Vega 64 BIOS onto Vega 56 supplies 1.35v to the HBM2, allowing the same memory overclock as Vega 64 to 1100MHz. Combined with the core undervolt, this gives +22% performance from stock Vega 56 while reducing power consumption by ~70W (from full power limit setting).

OVERCLOCKING:

GPU HBM2 Memory Clock (Vega 56 8GB): 800MHz -> 1100MHz@1.35v (950Mhz@1.25v max OC without BIOS Flash)

GPU Core Clock (Vega 56 8GB): 1156-1471MHz -> 1590-1644MHz stable (1610Mhz max OC without BIOS Flash)

GPU Core Voltage (Vega 56 8GB): Variable upto 1150mV max -> 1050mV max (an undervolt reduces power consumption for achieving the same core clock, this reduces heat output by ~5-10°C on Vega (which seems to be overvolted by default), this decreases thermal throttling meaning consistently higher operating frequencies during actual gaming workloads)

CPU Clock (i5 6600k): 3.5-3.9GHz ->4.6GHz stable @ 1.35v for daily use (4.8Ghz@1.45v for benchmarking, 4.7Ghz@1.41v)

RAM Clock (DDR4 16GB): 2400MHz -> 3000MHz CAS15 XMP enabled

Monitor Refresh Rate (LG 29UM68-P): 75Hz -> 80Hz

Monitor FreeSync Range (LG 29UM68-P): 40-75Hz -> 32-80Hz (new 2.5x range automatically enables AMD Low Framerate Compensation)

CPU was overclocked in the UEFI (BIOS). The correct RAM XMP profile was also enabled in UEFI (stock profile for DDR4 is 2400MHz). GPU was overclocked through Radeon WattMan by AMD. GPU BIOS was flashed using ATIFlash by TechPowerup.

Monitor refresh rate and FreeSync range was flashed through CRU (Custom Resolution Utility) by ToastyX.

Here is stock performance on Firestrike (20,095 GPU score): https://www.3dmark.com/fs/13604249

Flashed to Vega 64 + HBM2 overclock + core undervolt (24,282 GPU score): https://www.3dmark.com/fs/13620187

Used for gaming, studying, music production and sometimes video editing & 3D modelling :) Mining ether the rest of the time ;)

Total PC components cost: $1698AUD (~1220USD)

Storage + Monitor + Peripherals: $1257AUD (~900USD)

I was lucky to get a card from the initial batch of Vega 56 at MSRP ($559AUD HIS Vega 56 from PLE Computers, basically $399USD MSRP + 10% GST). PC was built 1 year ago with RX480 before Ryzen on Sep 22, 2016. Vega installed on Sep 12, 2017.

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Comments

  • 29 months ago
  • 3 points

Well. I'm impressed. I wonder if AIB companies will ever start doing this?

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks and good point. Maybe the Vega chips coming for AIB Vega 56 will actually be different and not just Vega 64 artificially limited? This may explain why AIBs (except some with ASUS) have not received any chips.

  • 29 months ago
  • 3 points

Thanks for the detailed explanations of what you did. This is how the community learns from each other. I dialed back my 4.6ghz OC on my I5-6600k after it became unstable when I upgraded my RAM speed. I think I was running at 1.325v and didn't want to push it any further, cause I was only running a Hyper 212 evo. I recently bought a 360mm AIO and will be redoing my OC. What kind of temps do you get at 1.35v on that AIO ?

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

You're welcome! I'm getting about 60-65C max in CPU-Z stress test @1.35v 4.6GHz (240mm Liquid Cooler, RAM at 3000MHz).

In gaming this is much lower say 50C as it is not at 100% usage (but depends on the game and settings). 55C max in CPU-Z stress test @1.25v 4.4GHz. You should get great results overclocking with the 360mm cooler :) Let me know how it goes.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

That toasty 1.45v on the 6600k overclock for benching...! Ballsy. :)

Cool build! I'm not a fan of AMD generally speaking, but I think the build is pretty sweet and I'm impressed to hear that you've managed a not-to-be-scoffed-at 22% raw performance increase. That's nuts. Awesome job on that!

I've got some reading to do :)

+1!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha yes :P At that level it was a minimal performance improvement (+1.7% in Cinebench from 760 @4.6 to 773@4.8) for a huge gain in power consumption, thermal output and decreased CPU longevity. Apparently Intel's own documents for Skylake say 1.52v max, with 1.45v for risky OC.

And thanks, I was looking at AMD and getting the Vega 64 (mainly for use with my Freesync monitor and future upgrades to the cheaper freesync HDR ultrawides). But yes, news on that huge performance increase possible on Vega 56 made me wait it out for its launch instead. Thank you

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Glorious.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Beautiful clean build! +1 Wouldn't a vega 56 be overkill at 1080p 75hz?

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you and yes somewhat at high settings (usually a huge boost in fps with marginal decrease in perceived image quality). At my current resolution of 2560x1080@80Hz with games such as Witcher 3, GTA V, PUBG on Ultra settings I get minimums ~60fps and have maximums locked to 80fps for my Freesync range. This was a big improvement from my RX 480 which had minimums of ~30fps on ultra.

I was playing Metal Gear Solid V recently after hex editing to force 21:9 ultrawide. The game is optimised but locked to 60fps max so GPU usage was only 55% at Ultra. I used Custom Resolution Utility to set my monitor to 3440x1440@60Hz. Although this makes text fuzzy (not the monitors native res) it made the game look much smoother and immersive through supersampling, rather than its FX anti-aliasing alone. GPU usage bumped to 75%.

I plan on getting the HDR ultrawides coming early 2018, such as a Freesync variant of the Predator X35 (3440x1440, upto 200Hz, HDR)

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice. love the cat :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Cat loves you ( ^ ω ^ )

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Clean and good looking build, also props for that monitor, I have the same one, it's gorgeous!

Only if you had Ryzen in there could be my favorite build of the week lol.

Nice work with the Vega Bios flash + OC.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you, it is a great gaming monitor and the extended freesync + refresh rate overclock makes it even smoother.

And I feel the same way about having Ryzen. Based on the early leaks I was hyped to wait for Ryzen before building. But eventually, I bought the RX 480 and built with the 6600k in Sep 2016. It was okay in the end because Ryzen took another 6 months for release and the OC performance of 6600k in gaming is excellent.

I am looking forward to Zen 2 on 7nm and Navi on 7nm with Infinity Fabric for next build :D.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Gorgeous Build +1

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Siiiiick build man. Subscribed!

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that plastic on the side or is that tempered glass??

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Sweet Jesus!

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

However, flashing the RX Vega 64 BIOS onto Vega 56 supplies 1.35v to the HBM2, allowing the same memory overclock as Vega 64 to 1100MHz. Combined with the core undervolt, this gives +22% performance from stock Vega 56 while reducing power consumption by ~70W (from full power limit setting).

this gets me really excited.

I'm guessing that you got lucky with Samsung HBM2???

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  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much :D

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