Synthetics and Closing Thoughts

Our synthetic 3DMark scores show impressive scaling, 87% in Fire Strike Extreme and 91% in Fire Strike Ultra – very respectful and AMD usually does very well in Futuremark tests.

Unigine Heaven scales at 88% for the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition cards in CrossFire, though that barely is enough of an increase to overtake the single GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Closing Thoughts

The only test from our professional results page of the single GPU review that scales with multiple GPUs is LuxMark. Our score with the pair of Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics cards was 10042, a difference of 2.14x. (Note that SPECviewperf and Cinebench do not utilize multiple GPUs in their benchmarks.)

As I stated at the beginning of this story, the performance measurements we see here today should really be taken as a “current state” of CrossFire and multi-GPU for the Vega architecture. There likely will be performance and scaling improvements in the CrossFire architecture by the time we see Radeon RX Vega in gamers’ hands. To what degree won’t be known until launch and the succeeding drivers after that point, but AMD has previously touted its dedication to multiple GPUs as a major part of the future of graphics in an interview I did with Raja Koduri last year.

The current state of CrossFire for Vega isn’t amazing me. Scaling at 2560×1440 is abysmal with only The Witcher 3 going above 20% improvement by adding the second card. At 4K we do see a better result, ranging from 54% to 84% depending on the game. Hitman in DX12 was the outlier though, with zero scaling, indicative of the continued concerns over the new API and the pressure it puts on developers going forward.

Even if scaling works when looking at average frame rates, the frame time variance of many of our results are higher than we want to see. Take Witcher 3 as the perfect example – we see great scaling from the single Radeon Vega Frontier Edition to two in CrossFire but at the same time we have frame to frame variance going well above 10ms at the 95th percentile. That is a straight up bad experience, and though its front weighted in our testing scenario in Witcher 3, it was continuous in Dirt Rally and GTA V. As we stated at the outset, getting multi-GPU scaling correct is extremely difficult.

We are early in the CrossFire process for Vega, but it’s worth pointing out that position that NVIDIA has put them in. With two Radeon Vega Frontier Edition cards in CrossFire, AMD is having trouble keeping pace with a single GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. That presents problems for AMD in terms of pricing and positioning and leaves NVIDIA in a dominant spot, with the ability to hold serve and maintain performance leadership for the foreseeable future.

We still have several weeks to find out for certain how Vega will affect and shift the high-end GPU market but our looks at Vega Frontier Edition are giving us a peek into the future.

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