Early on in the year, AMD’s Vega was launched, and it proved to be a bit of a disappointment. At no fault of their own, people believed it was capable of a slick 70 MH/s with little to no effort – unfortunately, people believe anything when it’s written on the internet.
Now, three months after launch, we indeed see that the Vega is capable of these kinds of speeds – but not without a little work. It’s shaping up to be a beast of a card, but HBM2 is unstudied, untested and unstable.
Remember that when VBIOS modding became public thanks to cryptocurrency mining, it was backed by almost five years of optimization work built by gamers, overclocking enthusiasts and the like. Furthermore, the JEDEC standard allowed us to further understand GDDR5 and how it could be optimized for specific algorithms.
HBM2 hasn’t benefited for any of these things. HBM2 stands as a unique memory stack without much documentation, information, or experimentation. It bothers me that the world at large is not happy with this card, because it -is- capable of so much more, but people – companies included – need to give it more time.
In the coming weeks – with permission from my overlords – I’ll be releasing an updated version of OhGodATool that supports Vega, along with a brief guide on the road to optimization so far.
One of the things I am quite happy about with Vega is the new ISA. There’s a whole host of little features that allow us to tune and optimize Ethereum and ZCash, and my favorite has been abusing v_add3_u32, which allows us to tune Decred, of all coins, to make solo mining profitable. I’m still working my way through the RRG, which you can find here, but it’s shaping up to be the card for rendering, mining and low-level neural networks.
What does need work, however, are the drivers. Currently Vega is crippled on Linux, and will continue to be crippled due to multiple things: the forced usage of the ROCm stack; the poor compiler (goodbye Catalyst, hello LLVM, my old friend…); the power consumption during VPGR useage; and subpar security. This is to be expected on release, and I really hope the community can chip in and help give the team behind ROCm a fresh set of eyes to help make this the end-all, be-all stack for future AMD GPUs.
The power throttling on the Vega is awful with Linux, and I’ve got little to say about it because I’ve been more focused on a hash rate increase than power tuning. That’ll come later, along with more of these update logs if they’re well received.
Until next time, folks – happy hashing.