August 14, 2017 // 2 p.m.
The Radeon RX Vega 56 is easily the best card of this launch. It is cooler, quieter, and more efficient than the Radeon RX Vega 64 and delivers only 10 percent less performance at 20 percent less price.
It's also a real competitor to the GTX 1070, outclassing at stock speed even a heavily overclocked Nvidia SKU and offering fantastic overclocking potential itself. Over the weekend, you may have seen GTX 1070 prices fall – at the time of writing, a Zotac GTX 1070 can be pre-ordered from Ebuyer for £330 – and this is undoubtedly in anticipation of the RX Vega 56. This makes the £400 AMD is asking for a little harder to swallow, but honestly prices are likely to fluctuate a fair bit in the coming weeks as the market settles and adjusts.
Given that Pascal remains the more efficient architecture, that Nvidia has already responded with price cuts, and that the reference cooler still leaves a little to be desired (it's much better situation to this GPU than the RX Vega 64, however), we won't be reaching for our top award, but the RX Vega 56 has brought enough of a fight to Nvidia to deserve our Recommended award – remember it retains the FreeSync advantage discussed before as well.
Ultimately, Vega has not been the launch many hoped it would be. Nvidia still rules the roost by a fair margin in performance and also in efficiency, and it's had over a year to be developing its Volta cards. Still, competition at the high-end is better than what we had before. AMD still has a long way to go, but hopefully the RX Vega 56 is a sign that it is now on a catchup trajectory.