AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Video Card Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions


The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is an impressive video card in that you get an astonishing amount of performance with all the flagship GPU features in a six inch form factor. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano won’t be winning at price versus performance charts, but we feel that AMD is trying to get some momentum behind small form factor systems. Mini ITX motherboard sales have been slowly rising over the past five years and many gamers are starting to take note that you can build a smaller desktop PC that is still very capable with regards to gaming performance. The engineers at AMD did a great job putting enough performance for 4K gaming into a card of this size. The GPU cooler on the Radeon R9 Nano has a horizontal fin block stack that has a larger surface area than the one used on the Radeon R9 290X, despite being 40% shorter. AMD focused on using premium components on the Radeon R9 Nano and it’s noticeable the from the second you pick the card up as it has a metal fan shroud and some heft to it!

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. Looking back at our AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and Radeon R9 Fury performance numbers on the same test system when it had Windows 8 on it and you’ll see that the Radeon R9 Nano is about 10% slower than the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X for the same price though, so while it leads the tiny card revolution it won’t be too appealing for gamers with plenty of space in their towers that are looking for the best gaming performance for the dollar. You also need to keep in mind that the AMD Radeon R9 Nano lacks HDMI 2.0 support, which has been disappointing for HTPC enthusiasts.

The suggested retail price for the AMD Radeon R9 Nano is $649 and a couple are already available on several popular online retailers. The Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano (21249-00-40G) is one of the cards listed at $649.00 as is the XFX Radeon R9 Nano (R9-NANO-4SF6) that is listed for $649.99 shipped, but both are listed as being temporarily out of stock. The ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX 4GB video card that we looked at here today is priced at $334.99 shipped after rebate, so the AMD Radeon R9 Nano does come with a rather steep price tag. You are paying a premium to have a tiny 6-inch discrete graphics card!

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano isn’t for everyone, but we see where AMD is headed with the Nano and we do think that there is a market for it. If you are building in a real Mini-ITX case or doing a custom build that needs a powerful small form factor video card that can handle 4K 60Hz gaming then you should give this card your consideration!

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is a niche card, but we like it!

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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 –

        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. –

      • 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:

          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…