AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Video Card Review

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AMD Radeon R9 Nano Overclocking

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is heavily optimized for power efficiency, so unless you increase the power limit settings in AMD OverDrive the card will always stay at 175 Watts. This means that if you overclock the GPU clock that you’ll likely end up lowering the performance you get from the card as it will lower the clock speeds even further. We tried to overclock the GPU core clock just 5% and got a lower score, so remember that raising clock speeds means that you are running higher voltages and that means more power and lower scores on this small form factor card.
amd-overdrive-nano

 

The good news is that you can crank the hell out of the power limit settings and get better performance. We increased the power limit settings all the way up to 50% and noticed nice performance boosts across the board.

bf4-oc

For example in BF4 we got a 6% performance improvement by raising the power limit setting so the card can run higher than 175 Watts.

core-clock

Here is a look at the core clock speed on the AMD Radeon R9 Nano when running stock settings and then with the power limit maxed out. As you can see we averaged 921 MHz the card with the default settings and then with the power limit maxed out the core clock was pegged at 1000MHz for pretty much the entire time we played BF4. Every five minutes or so it might dip for a second, but it was mostly running at 1000MHz.

oc-power

The downside of raising the power limit is that the power consumption of the system went up by 75 Watts (21.5%) and the fan on the card was running at nearly 3,000 RPM to keep the higher temperatures at bay. AMD said they already picked the most efficient clocked settings for the AMD Radeon R9 Nano and we have no reason to doubt that claim!

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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…