PowerColor has released its new graphics adapter based on AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56 GPU and paired with its own custom PCB. The new Red Dragon RX Vega 56 is based on a rather tiny PCB that it would fit easily into Mini-ITX builds, but ships with a massive triple-fan cooling system that only fits into enthusiast-class PC cases.

PowerColor says that the Red Dragon RX Vega 56 (AXRX VEGA 56 8GBHBM2-2D2HD/OC) video card was designed to make the cost of the board lower without sacrificing performance or reliability. Unlike its Red Devil RX Vega 56 and Red Devil RX 64 brothers, the Red Dragon RX Vega 56 comes on a short PCB and does not offer factory overclocking. Meanwhile, just like more advanced boards, the new graphics card has a BIOS switch for flipping between different performance modes (silent & overclocking). Furthermore, the card has one 8-pin and one 6-pin auxiliary PCIe power connectors, which should be enough even for those who plan to run it at higher frequencies. As for connectivity, the Red Dragon RX Vega 56 has two DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0b outputs.

The Red Dragon RX Vega 56 comes with a large cooling system featuring a copper base, multiple thick heat pipes and three fans. The cooler is two slots wide and 316 mm long, which makes dimensions of the whole construction similar to other graphics adapters based on the Radeon RX Vega. Meanwhile, since the card relies on a short PCB, this potentially opens the door to some aftermarket options; in particular switching out to something more compact (say, a hybrid LCS) in a bid to fit the board into an SFF PC. Obviously, this is something that PowerColor does not recommend doing, but if you want to have a Mini-ITX gaming PC with a Radeon RX Vega inside, buying a custom graphics card and then switching its cooler is the only way to build such a system at present.

Specifications of PowerColor and Reference Radeon RX Vega Cards
  PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX Vega 64
PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX Vega 56 PowerColor
Red Dragon Radeon RX
Vega 56
Radeon RX Vega 64
Radeon RX Vega 56
Stream Processors 4096 3584 4096 3584
Base Clock 1417 MHz 1308 MHz 1177 MHz 1406 MHz (LCS) 1156 MHz
1247 MHz (Air)
Boost Clock 1607 MHz 1526 MHz 1478 MHz 1677 MHz 
1471 MHz
1546 MHz (Air)
VRAM Transfer Rate 1.89 GT/s 1.6 GT/s 1.89 GT/s 1.6 GT/s
Capacity 8 GB
Bus Width 2048-bit
Type HBM2
Board Power unknown 345W (LCS)
295W (Air)
Dimensions 316 × 150 × 55 mm 316×150×40 mm 272 × 112 × 40 mm
Power Connectors 2 × 8-pin 1 × 6-pin
1 × 8-pin
2 × 8-pin
Outputs 2 x HDMI 2.0
2 x DP 1.4
1 x HDMI 2.0
3 x DP 1.4
Launch Price unknown $699 (LCS)
$499 (Air)

The short PCB is probably a bit simpler and cheaper than the long one used for the Red Devil RX Vega boards, which gives the manufacturer some additional flexibility when it comes to pricing of the product. Meanwhile, the shorter and simpler PCB does not necessarily mean that the new graphics adapter has compromises. AMD’s reference design for the Radeon RX Vega uses a 6+1 phase VRM based on the International Rectifier IR35217 power controller with six IR 3598 phase doublers for the GPU power circuity to maximize efficiency. The Red Devil Radeon RX graphics cards use exactly the same VRM as reference cards do, but while it is unclear what is under the hood of the Red Dragon RX Vega 56, it is unlikely that PowerColor sacrificed efficiency for a bit lower BOM cost on a high end product (i.e., the VRM is good enough and it is unlikely that the GPU VRM has less than six phases).

PowerColor says that the Red Dragon RX Vega 56 will be available shortly. When it comes to pricing, the Red Dragon sits below the Red Devil lineup, so expect the new card to cost less than the higher-end products from PowerColor powered by the same GPU.

Related Reading:

Source: PowerColor

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  • Flunk - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    I'm extremely confused, the text claims this is a small card, but your table of values says it's larger than a reference card and the images make it look huge.
  • chuckey - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    The video card itself is tiny, PowerColor just tacked on a giant cooling system on it. We don't have any pictures of the other side of the video card, but I'm curious to see how much of the cooler overlaps the card.
  • dorion - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    I would say it barely extends past the PCI-E clip, you can see the board cut off in the 1st and 3rd picture.
  • Sttm - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Haha WOW. I didn't even notice that. Whats the point of a 3rd fan with what appears to be nothing below it?

    Seems like they got lazy on the cooler design and did one size fits all.
  • aebiv - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    The actual radiator extends that far.
  • WinterCharm - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    The cooler is huge, the card is small. Meaning, you could remove the cooler, cram it in a mini ITX build, and liquid cool the whole thing.
  • Dragonstongue - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    less expensive for them to produce is "good" but the fact that as soon as it hits store shelves price goes through roof is bad..vega 56 ~$1k vega 64 ~$1.2k not bad for cards that should be costing $399-$699 the makers and AMD/Nv say they do not see this amount of extra "gain" someone sure as hell does and is laughing all the way to the bank.

    I will never buy Visiontek or powercolor due to RMA practises or lack of here in Canada (cost-wait time etc) but powercolor does make some sexy looking cards ^.^
  • mrmessma - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    Card prices are coming down, they're right around $700 on Newegg (and in stock) and have been losing about $50/week the last month or more.
  • Alexvrb - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    OEMs and retailers/resellers are making the lion's share of the additional profit. AMD and Nvidia both see increased revenue due to increased sales but their profit per unit sold very likely remains flat (which is what they were saying).
  • zodiacfml - Friday, March 30, 2018 - link

    I easily forgot that HBM allows for smaller PCBs. Jow I wish we are back to normal card prices

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