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AMD Radeon R9 Nano Video Card Review - The Fury X Is Dead

By: Anthony Garreffa | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Sep 10, 2015 12:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: AMD

AMD Now Owns the Mini-ITX GPU Market

 

There's no doubt about it: AMD has killed the mini-ITX gaming PC market with the new R9 Nano. It's a card that provides Fury X like performance for the same $649 price, all while doing so without the AIO cooler, and of course a much smaller size.

 

Below, we have the performance summary for our four resolutions, with the inclusion of 3440x1440 - our new UltraWide 21:9 resolution. I think that the new R9 Nano is the perfect card for a small PC, where it really shines. Outside of that, if you were to buy one and install it into your current gaming PC that could house anything up to a bigger GTX 980 Ti or Titan X, I think - no, I know you're better off on the NVIDIA GeForce side of things.

 

 

But in all of AMD's marketing materials, the company compares it against the GTX 970; that is a card that can be found for $349, compared to the $649 on the R9 Nano. At $649, NVIDIA has the GTX 980 Ti, which smacks the pants off of the R9 Nano, but AMD wouldn't want to compare their new R9 Nano against a card that easily beats it, right?

 

 

Performance at 1080p

 

We won't spend too much time at 1080p, as you won't be spending $649 on the R9 Nano to game at 1080p. But, there will be some people who will buy the R9 Nano and game at 1080p, so we want to see 60FPS minimum and into the 100-120FPS from the Fiji-powered card. Starting with Battlefield 4, the R9 Nano is more than capable of delivering an awesome gaming experience with an average of 91FPS. With a few details turned down, you could easily sail pass 120FPS for those with 120-144Hz monitors.

 

GRID: Autosport slides around the tracks with 116FPS, just 2FPS south of the 118FPS on the full-fledged Fury X. Metro: Last Light Redux is another game that sees the R9 Nano spitting out way more than playable numbers at 1080p, with an average of 95FPS - just 10FPS behind the Fury X.

 

Even in a stressful game like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, the super-small R9 Nano manages 96FPS average - not bad considering the Fury X is only ahead by 7FPS with 103FPS average. Thief pushes out 86FPS average at 1080p on the R9 Nano, while Tomb Raider soars with a huge 176FPS average.

 

All in all, 1080p is an excellent experience on the R9 Nano. This is the type of resolution you're going to be playing with it on, especially with AMD pushing for these cards to be used in the living room. And with the lack of HDMI 2.0, at least you can enjoy some 60FPS gaming at 1080p with HDMI 1.4.

 

 

Performance at 1440p

 

Performance at 2560x1440 is just as impressive on the R9 Nano as it was at 1080p, with Battlefield 4 managing 91FPS - the same result that we saw at 1080p. Again, with a few details turned down, you could be enjoying 120-144FPS on the R9 Nano on those high refresh rate monitors that I love to game on. And with FreeSync thrown into the mix, you're in for a real gaming treat.

 

60FPS is where we're aiming for an enjoyable experience on the R9 Nano, and with any card priced at the heights of $649, with Metro: Last Light Redux seeing 62FPS on the R9 Nano. The Fury X is a bit more capable here, with 71FPS average.

 

Moving onto Shadow of Mordor, where the R9 Nano sees 70FPS average compared to the Fury X with 77FPS. Again, anything over 60FPS here is gravy. Thief keeps things over 60FPS average, with the R9 Nano managing 64FPS average at 1440p versus 68FPS average on the Fury X. Lastly, we have Tomb Raider with not a care in the world about the resolution, with Lara Croft enjoying 114FPS average on the R9 Nano compared to 123FPS on the Fury X.

 

 

Performance at 4K

 

This is where AMD is pushing the R9 Nano; 4K gaming. The Fiji-powered, HBM-based card is more than capable of 4K gaming, except for its limitation of not having HDMI 2.0. We've talked about this before, but you can still enjoy 4K gaming over the DisplayPort connectivity on the card - but how does it perform? Kicking things off with Battlefield 4, the R9 Nano gets close to 60FPS with 55FPS average, while the Fury X hits the 60FPS boundary. With a detail or two notched down, 60FPS in Battlefield 4 is very, very achievable.

 

Metro: Last Light Redux is a lot harder on a video card at 4K, with the R9 Nano managing 31FPS average compared to 35FPS on the Fury X. We have similar results with Shadow of Mordor, with 39FPS average on the R9 Nano versus 45FPS on the Fury X. Not too bad at all for a game as strenuous as Shadow of Mordor. I expected a little more from Thief, but the R9 Nano manages 35FPS average, while Tomb Raider has the super-small R9 Nano pushing a much more playable 52FPS. Wrapping up 4K performance, with a few in-game visual settings, you could hit 60FPS at 4K without a problem on the R9 Nano.

 

 

Performance at 3440x1440 (UltraWide)

 

This is the newest part of our video card coverage, the inclusion of UltraWide 21:9 results at 3440x1440. It's an interesting resolution, as it's a great middle ground between 2560x1440 (1440p) and 3840x2160 (4K).

 

Starting with Battlefield 4, the new HBM-powered R9 Nano is capable of 78FPS average, a great result and more than playable as it's over 60FPS. The Fury X is only just ahead at 3440x1440, with 81FPS average. Metro: Last Light Redux is another interesting game for UltraWide, with the R9 Nano spitting out 48FPS average, compared to 31FPS at 4K. This is a big reason why we're looking at UltraWide results now - that's 54% improvement in frame rates between 4K and 3440x1440.

 

Shadow of Mordor lapped up the R9 Nano's power at 3440x1440 with 49FPS average, compared to the 55FPS on the Fury X - an improvement of 26% from the results at 4K. Moving over to Thief, the R9 Nano managed a more than playable 54FPS average - a 54% increase from the 4K results which were just 35FPS.

 

Lastly, we have Tomb Raider which the R9 Nano performed admirably, with 89FPS average. Looking back at the 4K results of Tomb Raider on the R9 Nano with 52FPS, this means we're looking at a 71% increase in performance by using 3440x1440 instead of 4K.

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