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AMD’s Vega Battles Nvidia for the Pole Position in Forza Motorsport 7

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AMD’s Vega architecture launched in August with the Vega 64 and Vega 56, but while these GPUs put AMD back on the board with higher-end architectures, they weren’t the clean sweep of Nvidia many would-be buyers had hoped for. The Vega 56 is a strong competitor for the GTX 1070, but the Vega 64 was less competitive with the GTX 1080, and the GTX 1080 Ti is out of reach. At least, it’s out-of-reach most of the time. Forza Motorsport 7 appears to buck this trend, at least initially.

According to Computerbase.de, the AMD Vega 64 and Vega 56 both burn past the GTX 1080 Ti in 1920×1080, which is downright unusual–historically, AMD’s architectures have favored higher resolutions and lost less performance as resolution scaled up than their Nvidia counterparts. In Forza 7, that’s less true, and Nvidia gains more ground as the resolution scales up. With that said, the 4K figures still leave both companies in a respectable position.

Forza7-Perf

Keep in mind the GTX 1080 Ti isn’t really the Vega 64’s main competitor, and these results are still quite strong. The Vega 56 is even with the GTX 1080, Vega 64 is faster, and AMD manages to clinch the 99th percentile top positions, with the 1080 and 1070 well behind. That’s a strong showing for AMD overall, and while we’d expect driver updates from Teams Red and Green to improve things in the future, it at least shows that Vega could have a bit more life in it than initially expected. GCN is quite strong up and down the stack–while only high-end cards can drive 4K, 1080p shows the RX 580 ahead of the GTX 1060, with the R9 Fury X and R9 390 also beating that GPU. Even the R9 380 manages to turn in frame rates above 50fps at 1080p.

When AMD launched Vega, one of the arguments it made was the architecture would have strong legs and prove to be well-balanced in future workloads. Obviously a single title isn’t going to prove that theory one way or the other, but it’s good to see Vega hitting well out of the gate. Overall power consumption continues to favor Nvidia, but desktop gamers tend to treat noise as a rough proxy for power consumption–which is to say that while there are definitely buyers who care about both, most customers want quiet cards first, and lower-power cards second.

If Vega keeps performing well in newer DX12 titles, it could spur more interest in the card overall. It’s going to be something of an uphill battle, however, and as glad as we are to see AMD back in the high-end game, we’re also hoping the company will have an improved Vega refresh in-market sooner rather than later. Hopefully Ryzen and the Xbox One X’s upcoming launch will also give AMD some additional R&D funds to play with, particularly if Epyc starts nibbling away at Intel’s server market share.

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