AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Video Card Review

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AMD Radeon R9 Nano – Best Mini-ITX Card Ever?

AMD today released the tiny six inch long Radeon R9 Nano into the market. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is a very interesting graphics card since it features a fully enabled AMD Fiji XT GPU that has a core clock of up to 1000 MHz and a TDP of just 175 Watts. The Radeon R9 Nano was paper launched back in August, so all of the specifications have already been published.

AMD Radeon R9 Nano Specifications

The Radeon R9 Nano features the full AMD ‘Fiji’ GPU with 4096 Stream Processors and 64 Compute units running at 1000MHz. This is good for 8.19 TFLOPS of GPU compute performance or 1.365 TFLOPS per inch! The 4GB of HBM 1 memory running at 500MHz uses a 4096-bit bus and has 512 GB/s of memory bandwidth. When it comes to power the card is shown as using 175W under typical scenarios and has just one 8-pin PCIe power connector on the end of the card. The AMD Radeon R9 Fury X is a 275W card, so AMD will be lowering clock speeds and voltages to get the R9 Nano to fit in the power envelope that it is designed for. This means that it will likely be running in the 800-1000 MHz range and if the card hits 85C it will be thermally constrained by the cards software. 

 

AMD went with a ‘premium industrial design’ for the cards GPU cooler. This means you have a dual vapor chamber and heat-pipe copper block that helps transfer heat to the cooling fins. The Nano card also has a dedicated heat-pipe for Voltage Regulator cooling. The GPU cooler is topped off with a full metal shroud. AMD says that this cooler will prevent the Nano from being thermally constrained. We should make it clear that AMD is now allowing any of their board partners to build custom Nano boards, so of the AIB partners will be just adding stickers to this card to differentiate themselves from one another.

fiji-cooler

When it comes to performance the folks over at AMD believe that the AMD Radeon R9 Nano is the fastest Mini-ITX graphics card to ever be released. They included some 4K performance results against the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX graphics card to show that this tiny card is superior and has enough horsepower to beat one of NVIDIA’s flagship series cards.

AMD Radeon R9 Nano Peformance

The one big hurdle that the AMD Radeon R9 Nano has is its suggested retail price of $649 or £520 for our friends across the pond. AMD is hoping that the smaller form factor design will win over the hearts and minds of enthusiasts and make them willing to pay a premium. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Mini ITX Overclocked 4GB video card is priced at $304.99 shipped after rebate and the ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX 4GB card is priced at $334.99 shipped after rebate, so the AMD Radeon R9 Nano is $314 to $344 more expensive than competing cards from NVIDIA’s board partners.

gtx970-radeon-r9-nano

Today we’ll be taking a look at the AMD Radeon R9 Nano ($649) and will be comparing it to the ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX card to see who has the fastest graphics card for those looking for something really tiny!

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  • BaronMatrix

    This is the perfect card for ATX tower systems as two in XFire will beat almost everything and would only be rated at 350W…

    With water-cooling it’s easier to build a more compact system… SSDs take up a lot less space than HDDs and RAM is relatively cheap…

  • Cobalt39

    Quote: “When it comes to gaming performance the AMD Radeon R9 Nano didn’t disappoint and we found it to be faster than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Mini ITX card in the majority of the benchmarks that we looked at today.”

    For a $315 price premium (almost double the cost) I’d expect it to be markedly faster in every situation. I’m not saying it’s not a nice card, it’s just way overpriced for what it is, in my opinion.

    • rs

      There are TVs with DisplayPort support. You can also buy DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 adapters if you need that.

      The Nano also is faster in every situation. Up to 30% or even more. Which is very impressive for such a tiny card. The only exception might be Nvidia biased games like GTA V or Project Cars. But that’s not the problem of the Nano. Blame the developers that got bought by Nvidia and crippled performance of the competition.

      • legitreviews

        rs – What DP to HDMI adapter works? I had a friend try one of these months ago and it didn’t work – http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Displayport-HDMI-Adapter-Supports/dp/B001NIEHIO

        The folks over at Parade were supposed to come out with one at the end of Q2 2015, but I haven’t heard from them lately. – http://www.paradetech.com/

      • Cobalt39

        Sorry but there’s no excuse for a just released card to not support HDMI 2.0, especially one that’s niche designed to be in a HTPC.

        I would expect a card that’s almost double the price of the competition to be faster. That’s like saying a Porsche is faster than a Prius. There’s absolutely nothing worth writing home about about when you pay so much more for it. Price for price it competes with the 980TI which it loses to in every single case.

        • rs

          As I said before, you can use DisplayPort or HDMI 2.0 adapters. Direct HDMI 2.0 support is a nice to have feature, but in fact not necessary. Even for such a card.

          And no, the 980 Ti is no competition because it cannot be used for the same form factors. Pricing doesn’t change that. 980 Ti also doesn’t win every single case. The Nano has much better video support (e.g. much better H.265 performance). I don’t know why some sites don’t test that, especially for HTPC cards. Other sites do. Look here:

          http://www.computerbase.de/2015-09/amd-radeon-r9-nano-test/6/#diagramm-videos-abspielen-h265-lav-filters

          And of course the Nano is better at computing like all AMD cards compared to their competition.

        • BaronMatrix

          Since when haven’t ULV types chips cost more… You’re paying more to use A LOT LESS POWER…