The AMD RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 are suddenly great buys

AMD Radeon
AMD Radeon (Image credit: Windows Central)

AMD's RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 never really set the PC gaming world on fire. As good as they were in their own right, compared to what NVIDIA had to offer in its range they were always in the shadows a bit. Vega is about to be superseded by Navi, AMD's brand new 7nm-based architecture, and the Vega cards will be put out to pasture.

This, coupled with a necessity to get rid of old stock presents a very good opportunity for PC builders. The Vega 56 and Vega 64 can now be bought brand new for very attractive, mid-range prices which makes them much easier to recommend.

Certain cards are really affordable

There are some caveats, not least that your location will make a difference. In the U.S. it seems that prices are a little more all over the place than in the UK, for example. But, assuming you're happy to pick up selected versions of the Vega graphics cards, you can get a solid piece of kit for a great price.

There are a couple worth highlighting. The first is the Powercolor Red Dragon Vega 56, which right now is $300. That's $50 less than the new list price of the NVIDIA RTX 2060, and ray tracing aside, the Vega 56 is competitive with NVIDIA's card, edging it in a number of games. But for $300, this is a really good graphics card. A similar card from XFX can be had for the same money (opens in new tab), too.

If you're OK with an open box unit, another worth highlighting right now is the MSI Air Boost Vega 56 which can be had from Newegg for just $247 (opens in new tab). That's an absolute steal, frankly, for a card with one of the higher stock boost clocks found on an aftermarket Vega 56. The Air Boost is also a top buy on the other side of the Atlantic, with eBuyer in the UK selling it new for under £240 (opens in new tab).

Get some free Xbox Game Pass PC time with a new Vega 56 or Vega 64 as well.

Get some free Xbox Game Pass PC time with a new Vega 56 or Vega 64 as well.

Price cuts on the Vega 64 are a little more scarce in the U.S., but in the UK, it's possible to get a reference design from Powercolor for as little as £320 now (opens in new tab). Less than the current price for an RTX 2060 while besting it in outright performance in most cases (again, ray tracing aside).

And don't forget, AMD's current Vega line up is included in the free Xbox Game Pass PC deal as an added sweetener.

But are they actually worth it

Buying something because it's cheap doesn't make it a worthwhile purchase. But when it offers good performance and a low price, suddenly it becomes good value. That's essentially where we're at with the Vega graphics cards now. In both cases, you'll get solid frame rate and high details at 1080p and 1440p, albeit from a more power hungry card than the NVIDIA equivalents. The power draw is perhaps the biggest reason against getting one.

I just snagged a £299 Vega 64 reference design card here in the UK and it takes two 8-pin power connectors with a higher TDP than the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti — without offering 1080 Ti levels of performance. Unless you have a 650W power supply at minimum, more like a 750W for a Vega 64, then the value suddenly disappears.

But, assuming it's a straight swap into your system, it remains an excellent pick. The Vega 56 and Vega 64 were never truly bad GPUs, but many factors combined to make them harder to recommend to anyone but the dedicated AMD fans. The prices went through the roof during the crypto-mining phase of 2018, and even now some variants at different retailers are priced so high they will never sell to anyone capable of doing a simple web search.

The sheer performance is there. Ignoring what you can get from a comparable NVIDIA graphics card, the Vega cards deliver strong performance. Games can look beautiful and run at high frame rates, and now for really good prices if you can get hold of the ones being sold off cheap. And all that's before you consider undervolting or overclocking to unlock a bit of extra performance.

Ultimately, this is where the conclusion lies. For mid-range money, you can pick up AMD's former high-end graphics cards, and they're certainly worth it if you can get hold of one at a low price.

Cheap PC accessories we love

Take a gander at these awesome PC accessories, all of which will enhance your Windows experience.

Anker 4 port USB 3.0 hub (opens in new tab) ($10 at Amazon)

Whether on a desktop or laptop PC, you always need more ports to connect things to. This hub gives you an additional four USB 3.0 Type A ports.

Ikea Fixa Cable Management System (opens in new tab) ($11 at Amazon)

This IKEA cable management kit is your ticket to a clean setup. It's simple and functional.

NZXT Puck (opens in new tab) ($20 at Amazon)

This clever little accessory has powerful magnets on the rear to make it stick to any of the metal panels on your PC case or anything else. It's great for hanging accessories like headsets.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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