AMD’s $600 RX Vega Nova rumoured to be the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti killer

AMD Vega performance

All aboard today’s express service on the AMD Vega hype train… the first three AMD RX Vega GPUs are rumoured to start at $399 and be lining up to directly compete with Nvidia’s GTX 1070, 1080 and 1080 Ti.

Vega could be set to shake up the GPU hierarchy, but which cards are currently on top in the constant power struggle? Read our guide to the best GPUs on the market to find out.

Various tech sites have reported the prices with Expreview (via SegmentNextand laterDigiworthy)claiming to know the details of the three-GPU launch line-up for AMD’s Vega, namely the RX Vega Core ($399), RX Vega Eclipse ($499) and RX Vega Nova ($599). Not numbers to be trifled with, but given the asking prices of Nvidia’s cards this would put the Vega cards in laser-focused competition with the GTX 1070, 1080 and 1080 Ti respectively.

With the Polaris-based AMD RX 500 Series looking after the sub-$300 GPU market this would give Team Radeon a full product stack for the first time in ages.

Particularly interesting is Vega Nova’s reported $599 price tag, which will put it a full $100 below Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti. Whether this is because the Nova will be $100 worse remains to be seen – initial estimates on the TechPowerUp GPU Database show its 1.5GHz base clock and 1.6GHz boost clock match up with the 1080 Ti’s GPU while it sports an 8GB HBM2 memory array as opposed to the Ti’s 11GB of speedy GDDR5X. But as those performance details are for an unspecified Vega engineering sample it’s possible a version with more memory is on the way. That said though there’s a good chance AMD are holding back the pricey 16GB HBM2 setup for their pro-level Vega cards.

Of course any performance details remain sketchy right up until the GPUs are actually released, but if AMD’s RX Vega Nova is indeed the 1080 Ti’s equal, but for $100 less, we could see Radeons riding high again at the top of the GPU tech tree in the near future. We could also have Nvidia dropping their GPU prices to remain competitive. Either way, it’s us gamers who win. Yay.

Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti verdict

Further down the stack, the Vega Core and Eclipse cards are supposedly entering the market at more or less the same price as their Geforce GTX equivalents. Rather than undercutting Nvidia on price, could we see these cards exceeding the performance of the 1070 and 1080? For a company with a recent reputation for making budget-conscious components it could be seen as a brave move to price their GPUs similarly to Nvidia’s. Whether these iterations of the Vega cards can make good on said bravery is another question.

The phrase ‘pinch of salt’ inevitably flies around a lot leading up to product release times, and with good reason. Digiworthy’s claim that the leak ‘reportedly comes from very reliable sources within AMD’s headquarters’ (which is where the source trail ends) confirms these details are still firmly in the realm of speculation. So it’s worth tempering your excitement until we start seeing harder evidence or get Vega into the test rig.

The Red Team is pretty confident about their graphics cards ruling the roost, however, as AMD’s Roy Taylor told us at last month’s VR World Congress. “Over the next three years we will continue to develop our new Ryzen CPUs, so we’ll have world-class CPUs – better than anybody else’s for virtual reality in particular – and we will continue to lead with GPUs. And yes, we will lead with GPUs.”

Whether the Vega GPUs can actually stand toe to toe with Nvidia’s high end cards or not, it’ll be exciting to see AMD compete in the high-end GPU market for the first time since 2015’s Radeon R9 Fury X.