AMD Radeon RX Vega could match GTX 1080’s speed – but maybe not its price

It’s just a few short days now until the official reveal of AMD’s Radeon RX Vega graphics cards, and we’ve had another benchmark leak – this time from a ‘sort of’ official source – plus some potentially alarming news on pricing.

The benchmark is from 3DMark’s Fire Strike test and was conducted by ‘TheGameTechnician’, which is apparently the handle of Jason Evangelho, Senior Technical Marketing Specialist at AMD. Hence the ‘semi-official’ nature – while we can’t be 100% sure that this is Evangelho and not some misinformation-spreading pretender, the latter seems unlikely, particularly as AMD hasn't disavowed the figures.

Unfortunately, the testing doesn’t specify the exact model of card, and whether it’s an air-cooled or water-cooled variant – or indeed what mode the card was in (i.e. overclocked?) – but three benchmarks are listed, two of them for a RX Vega card clocked at 1,630MHz, and the other running at 1,536MHz.

The Fire Strike benchmarks recorded were 22,330, 22,291 and 20,949 (the latter for the slower base clock) respectively, as Digital Trends reports.

So with the card clocked at 1,630MHz the GPU is hitting an average of 22,295, which is just slightly slower than an MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X which recorded a benchmark of 22,585.

We’ve heard before that the consumer version of Vega will be targeted at the GTX 1080 in terms of performance, and this benchmarking certainly bears that out. It’s definitely a long way behind the GTX 1080 Ti, of course, which racks up a score of 29,425.

Price points

These are all very well talking benchmarks, but looking at raw performance doesn’t mean much when you can’t factor in pricing, and how the cost of the RX Vega compares to the GTX 1080 is obviously crucial.

On that score, as eTeknik reports, a Swedish site (Nordic Hardware) claims to have seen the retail price list for Radeon RX Vega, which will allegedly be around 7,000 Swedish kroner plus VAT, which would equate to about $850 plus tax, or £650 plus VAT (AU$1,070).

Obviously, given a direct conversion to pounds or dollars that pricing looks pretty ridiculous, so for some perspective on Swedish GPU prices, note that the cheapest GTX 1080 we could see with a quick Google was around 5,700 kroner (£530, $695, AU$870). It is, then, generally speaking a bit more expensive for graphics cards over in Sweden.

Even so, comparing apples to apples, the Vega still looks a good chunk more expensive than the 1080 in straight Swedish currency, which is worrying. Although this could be the water-cooled variant, perhaps. At any rate we need to bear firmly in mind that this is just a rumor, and likely one that needs not just a pinch, but a shovelful of salt (the source website not being a well-known one).

While we can’t expect AMD to be able to pull off the same budget pricing as seen with Ryzen processors when it comes to GPUs, if it turns out that Vega is more expensive than Nvidia, well, it’s going to be a steeply uphill battle if the aforementioned performance benchmarks are anywhere close to accurate.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).