Sat. Feb 4th, 2023

Earlier this year, AMD unveiled three new graphics cards: the R9 Fury X, R9 Fury, and R9 Nano. While the premium water-cooled R9 Fury X and air-cooled R9 Fury have both since been released to positive reviews, the mini-ITX sized R9 Nano has remained a mystery. Fortunately, the Nano appears to have been worth the wait. While the Nano costs the same as a Fury X – $649, or around £530 (UK pricing not confirmed) – the little card also has the same full-fat Fiji chip, crammed into its tiny 6-inch form factor.

With the R9 Nano, you get full 4096 stream processors, 256 texture units, 64 ROPs, and 4 GB of high-bandwidth 4096-bit memory running at 1000 MHz. AMD claims performance is around 8.2 TFLOPS, which is only five percent lower than the Fury X. In fact, the Nano only needs a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, with a typical power consumption of 175W, which is miles below 275W. of the Fury X.

Of course, such dramatic power savings have to come from somewhere, and for the Nano that means a drop in clock speed. The Nano’s GPU is rated for “up to 1000MHz”, with AMD saying it will run between 850MHz and 900MHz in normal use in most games. That’s about 14 percent less than the Fury X’s 1050MHz, but it’s still impressive considering the size of the Nano. AMD places the performance somewhere between the Fury and Fury X, with the full shader count helping to mitigate the drop in clock speed over the Fury.

Keeping the Nano cool is a combination vapor chamber and heat pipe solution with a single fan, which exhausts hot air largely outside the case, making it great for smaller mini-ITX systems. AMD claims that because the Nano is aimed at the sweet spot of the Fiji power/performance curve, the target temperature under load (albeit with decent case cooling) is 75 degrees Celsius. In fact, the card doesn’t start throttling until it reaches 85 degrees, which is the typical load temperature for most high-end graphics cards.

Specifications at a glance R9 nano R9 Anger X R9 rage R9 390X R9 290X
Stream processors 4096 4096 3584 2816 2816
Texture Units 256 256 224 176 176
ROPs 64 64 64 64 64
Raise the clock “Up to” 1000 MHz 1050MHz 1000MHz 1050MHz 1000MHz
Memory bus width 4096 bits 4096 bits 4096 bits 512-bit 512-bit
Memory clock 1GHz 1GHz 1GHz 6GHz 5GHz
Memory bandwidth 512 GB/sec 512 GB/sec 512 GB/sec 384 GB/sec 320GB/s
Memory size 4GB HBM 4GB HBM 4GB HBM 8GB DDR5 4GB GDDR5
Typical board power 175W 275W 275W 250W 250W

The Nano shares a similar design theme to the Fury X, with a brushed aluminum finish, full metal shell and matte black circuit board. It will initially only be available in the reference design, but partner cards with different designs will be released later in the year. That said, users brave enough to install a third-party cooling solution, or water-cool the card, can overclock the card to Fury X levels by simply changing the power target in AMD’s Catalyst Control Center software. Further overclocking will be possible with third-party tools such as MSI’s Afterburner software.

So the Nano is an extremely interesting product, and as AMD points out, there isn’t much else on the market. Both the R9 380 Compact and GTX 970 Mini have similar form factors, but both are in a completely different performance category than the Nano. For those building a mini-ITX gaming PC that can’t handle a full graphics card, or even those looking to build a low-powered CrossFire system (there’s support for up to four-way CrossFire), the Nano may be the best option .

At $649 / £530, you’ll have to pay for the privilege when the Nano launches on September 10. But on paper, at least the performance should be excellent compared to the competition. AMD also goes to great lengths to point out that the Nano and Fury X are a “dual flagship stack,” with one “all about performance” and the other “about the form factor.” Whether users will see it that way remains to be seen, but consider our interest piqued.

If the Nano does indeed perform as well as, if not better than, the Fury due to its full shader count, then it’s an excellent card for smaller system builds. Not to mention the potential for overclocking, which could improve performance even further. Hopefully we can put the map through its paces; we’d like to see how the R9 Nano fares under DirectX 12.

By akfire1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.