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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

Card Specifications

 

The R9 Nano is virtually a full Fury X card, with the same Fiji GPU and HBM technology. We have 4096 stream processors, with the Fiji GPU clocked at 'up to' 1GHz resulting in 8.19 TFLOPS of performance. AMD has used 256 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and 4GB of HBM spread out on a 4096-bit memory bus which provides up to 512GB/sec of memory bandwidth. These specs, are all identical to the Fury X apart from the GPU clock where the Fury X reaches up to 1050MHz.

 

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Where the R9 Nano does things different, is that it requires just a single 8-pin PCIe power connector using just 175W of power. Comparing this to the 8+6-pin PCIe required on the Fury X and its 275W TDP, AMD has made some dramatic internal changes to the R9 Nano. We still have DirectX 12 and Vulkan support, as well as FreeSync, Virtual Super Resolution, and Frame Rate Targeting Control being featured on all of AMD's latest Fiji-powered offerings.

 

 

Cooling Setup

 

This is the one major area which defines the R9 Nano, is that it has a target GPU temperature of 75C. Under load, the R9 Nano will reach 75C quite easily (and boy can you feel the heat being pumped out of the card) which is 20C lower than the 95C ceiling on the Hawaii-based Radeon R9 290X.

 

 

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If the R9 Nano needs to be pushed above 75C, it will reach an absolute maximum of 85C, something it does "without comprising on fan acoustic or engine clocks", according to AMD. Yet, during our testing, we had some very serious whine and annoyance from the card. While I write this review, it is making some of the most annoying noise I've ever heard from a video card. It's absolutely distracting.

 

I talked to AMD about this where I was told it could possibly be a fan-related issue, but it's not, as you can tell the difference between a fan issue and a whine. The whine only happens under load, while the fan gracefully spins keeping the Fiji GPU cool.

 

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The R9 Nano itself uses a dual vapor chamber mixed with a heat pipe thermal solution to keep its Fiji GPU and HBM under its 75C operating temperature, and holy heck does the card blow some hot air into the system. This is both a good and bad thing, as it's going to pump some seriously hot (75C+) air into your PC. That's not exactly what you want in a tiny gaming PC, is it?

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