AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Video Card Review

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Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.  There has been some concern of people testing a cold card versus a hot card, but we’ve always done out testing ‘hot’ since the site started back more than a decade ago.

Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:

  • AMD CATALYST 15.201.1102.0 WHQL
  • NVIDIA GeForce 355.82

nano-test-system

Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform

The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79-E WS motherboard with BIOS 1704 that came out on 05/08/2015. We went with the Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E processor to power this platform as it is PCIe 3.0 certified, so all graphics cards are tested with PCI Express Gen 3 enabled. The Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary 16GB 2400MHz quad channel memory kit was set to XMP Profile #2. This profile defaults to 2133MHz with 1.65v and 11-12-12-30 1T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD was run with latest firmware available. A Corsair AX860i digital power supply provides clean power to the system and is also silent as the fan hardly ever spins up. This is critical to our testing as it lowers the ambient noise level of the room.

Test System Settings

Here are the exact hardware components that we are using on our test system:

The Intel X79 Test Platform

Component

Brand/Model

Live Pricing

Processor Intel Core i7-4960X
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79-E WS
Memory
16GB Kingston 2133MHz
Video Card Various
Solid-State Drive OCZ Vertex 460 240GB
Cooling Intel TS13X (Asetek)
Power Supply Corsair AX860i
Operating System Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
Monitor Sharp PN-K321 32″ 4K

We’ll be comparing the AMD Radeon R9 Nano to the ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX card.

gtx970-radeon-r9-nano

AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Card GPU-Z Info:

nano-gpuz

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX 4GB Card GPU-Z Info:

970-gpuz

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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…