Undervolting the AMD Radeon RX Vega: better performance at lower voltage

Higher clocking speeds at lower voltage - it works!

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Introduction

Do you get better performance for free? That would be nice. We are used to getting the most of the lesser CPUs or GPUs via overclocking, but it seems that with Vega you can use undervolting instead. We put this to the test.


How is it possible that undervolting, or lowering the voltage supplied to the component, improves performance in Vega? To understand this, we need to remember how dynamic the clocking speeds of the graphics cards are these days. None of the cards, either Nvidia nor AMD ones actually run at the advertised speeds. This is the result of the so-called GPU boost where the voltage supplied to the card and the temperature of the card is what regulates the clocking frequency.

In reality, most of the Nvidia cards run at higher MHz than the advertised boost speeds. With AMD the boost speeds are the actual absolute maximum and due to this AMD have started calling the clocking frequency “peak frequency” instead.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

The RX Vega 64’s boost speed is 1630 MHz, which this air-cooled graphics card never reaches in real life due to the power consumption and temperature limiters set in the hardware. It clocks down to stay within the limits and this has an impact on the performance.

This brings us to the subject of undervolting. By limiting the voltage, the power consumption is lowered, and the temperature does not rise as quickly. By limiting the supplied current, you should get higher performance.


Compare

two products discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56

Vega, 3584 cores, 1156 MHz, 8192 MB, 2048 bit, DirectX 12 fl 12_1, PCI-Express 3.0 x16

Specifications Test results Reviews

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

Vega, 4096 cores, 1247 MHz, 8192 MB, 2048 bit, DirectX 12 fl 12_1, PCI-Express 3.0 x16

Specifications Test results Reviews

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