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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

Final Thoughts 2.0

 

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is a good video card, but falls short of greatness. But in saying that, the R9 Nano is the most exciting card that AMD has made in quite some time. The last time AMD had me this impressed was with the R9 290X, and before that it was a very long time ago.

 

amd-radeon-r9-nano-video-card-review-fury-dead_08

 

The R9 Nano offers Fury X-like performance, where it is only 10-15% slower than the full-fledged, AIO cooler-powered Fury X. But, this is not a traditional video card that comes out and competes with X, Y or Z from NVIDIA. The R9 Nano stands on its own, in a market that it could easily dominate, but it won't.

 

 

Right now, I can no longer recommend the Fury X. That card is dead to me. The card that AMD has that it now needs to push into as many consumers' hands as possible, is the R9 Nano. It's a tiny card that packs performance well above it size, but then we arrive into the second big issue: price. At $649, it's not a cheap card. But AMD can't price it any lower considering it's pretty much a Fury X that has had a little cut off the edges.

 

If the R9 Nano was priced at $399, then... well... it would be a completely different picture. But when the R9 Nano is priced at $649, and the Fury X is priced at $649, what do you buy? Do you want the additional performance from the Fury X, or do you want the simplicity and look of the R9 Nano. Hint: get the R9 Nano. If the R9 Nano uses 175W of power and comes within ~15% of the performance of the water cooling-required Fury X, then what the hell is that additional 100W doing? It's not providing another 50% in performance, that's for sure.

 

This doesn't make the R9 Nano a bad card, but it definitely makes the Fury X an even worse card than it was at launch. There's absolutely no need for the Fiji GPU or HBM to be water cooled, so the Fury X is dead. The R9 Nano is now the crown jewel of AMD's setup, but it has some roadblocks. The $649 price doesn't help, and nor will the lack of HDMI 2.0. The omission of HDMI 2.0 makes no sense to me, as it feels like the Fiji architecture is stuck somewhere in 2013, while using 2015 technology in the form of HBM. Why in the world would AMD cram HDMI 1.4 into their latest and greatest video cards, I'll never know.

 

Wrapping up, do I recommend the R9 Nano? Definitely. If you're a member of Team Red, this is the card you have been waiting for, especially if you skipped over the Fury X. If you're in the market of building a new mini-ITX gaming PC, then the R9 Nano should be the only card you're looking at. It's going to introduce an entire new class of gaming PCs that can be super-small, but super-powerful. The Fury X need not apply.

 

But for everyone else, no. I think right now that the best video card for gaming is the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, as it offers some incredible value for money and there's a slew of different cards from the likes of ASUS, ZOTAC, MSI, and countless others who have weird and whacky GM200-powered cards. What AMD has here with the R9 Nano is the most interesting and in a way, innovative video card we've seen in quite a while. It's all thanks to HBM, but I think that AMD has a bit of tweaking to do before it really hits its stride. Even though it's not a perfect video card, it still earns our Best Features award given what it did do right.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (overclocking, power)90%
Quality (build, design, cooling)95%
General Features (display outputs, etc)80%
Bundle, Packaging & Software95%
Value for Money90%
Overall TweakTown Rating90%

The Bottom Line: AMD's Radeon R9 Nano is one of the most unique video cards ever. It's flawed, but it's a great evolution of the Fury X. This is what the Fury X should've been, so I'll say it again: the Fury X is dead.

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