AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Video Card Review

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Temperature & Noise Testing

Temperatures are important to enthusiasts and gamers, so we took a bit of time and did some temperature testing on the the ASUS version of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 video card.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX 4GB Temps:

gtx970-idle

The ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX card has fans that run at all times. At idle the fan is spinning at ~1300 RPM and the GPU was at 32C. When gaming we topped out at 74C with the fan spinning at ~1800 RPM in a room that was 68C.

AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Temps:

nano-idle

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano also has fans that run constantly. At an idle the fan is running at ~1500 RPM (GPU-Z 0.8.5 does not correctly show the fan RPMs) and the temperature is 31C. When gaming the temperature got up to 74C, which was the same temp as the ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX video card. The thermal properties of these two cards are very close to one another!

Sound Testing

We test noise levels with an Extech sound level meter that has ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with ‘A’ frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.

nano-noise

When it comes to noise level, the ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Mini-ITX card and the AMD Radeon R9 Nano were basically identical and they were basically a wash. The one thing that we did notice about the AMD Radeon R9 Nano is that our card unfortunately has some coil whine. AMD has only sent us two Fiji based cards and the Fury X has really bad pump whine and the Nano has choke whine. We know that AMD put a ton of time and effort into making the build quality on this card one that was said to be premium, so it’s really shocking to see that another noisy card was delivered to us by AMD to review. The choke noise on the AMD Radeon R9 Nano isn’t nearly as bad as the pump whine on the Fury X, but it’s something we don’t expect to see on a $649 video card here in 2015 where premium components are readily available.

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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…