AMD's R9 Nano Details Emerge! Launch Imminent!

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It has been a few weeks since the big guns in AMD’s Fiji line were released in late June (24th). The water cooled and flagship Fury X and the Fury with HBM blasted on to the scene with kudos and boo’s alike, similar to nearly all product releases, frankly. When these cards came out, its ‘little’ brother, the R9 Nano wasn’t anywhere to be found and wasn’t due to be released for a short while after that. But the time is drawing closer now and we have some specifications and information on the card we can share with your this morning!

AMD R9 Nano

AMD R9 Nano

As some may know from the Fiij article we published in June, the Nano is a small form factor “ITX” sized GPU measuring in at ~6″. At the time, it was stated that the card will be “significantly faster” than the 290x. Speculation was all over the map on how AMD defined “significantly,” but we have some answers now, and should have the complete story (review) on its official September 10th launch day (AMD states there will be availability on that day). Before we get into those details (yes, that was a cliffhanger folks), take a look at the card, check out its specifications, and read what AMD had to say about it in our briefing.

Marketing/Slides from the AMD Briefing

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Stock photos (Courtesy of AMD)

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Specifications (Courtesy of AMD)



After taking a look at the specifications, slides, and pictures you can see that outside of the clockspeeds and typical board power (275W vs 175W), it has the same exact architecture as the Fury X. Same number of Stream Processors (4096), Compute units (64), Texture units (256), and ROPs (64). The clock speeds max out at 1000 MHz, versus 1050 in the Fury X as we see above, but this is during “lighter loads.” When you have heavy loads the clocks speeds will vary and go up to 950 MHz. The reason for this is the 175W board power “limit: that is on the Nano. The board will manage clockspeeds accordingly to match its board power limit. My suggestion is to raise that power limit out of the box to the let the Nano rip away.

The temperature target is 75° C, but it will not throttle due to temperatures until 85° C. It is kept cool by a “new from the ground up” cooler with horizontal fins that work to minimize warm air exhausting into the PC, which help keep its small form factor small (think heatpipes that creep out over the top of the PCB). As far as thermals go, I personally look at the card and its single fan, see 175W, and think ‘that may be loud’. However, AMD states they shoot for a 42db target which is as quiet as a whisper. A pretty unique feature to this heatsink is that it gives the VRM its own heatpipe/sink, which helps with dissipating the heat load from that area of the card.

So how does its performance stack up? A question was asked in the briefing about the delta between the Fury X and Nano considering its striking similarities. The answer was that it will more or less match the Fury as it sits. The 175W power target lowers the clocks accordingly to meet that limit is where the difference comes in. They mentioned that the 10% difference between Nano and the Fury X “would cost 50% power increase” which puts it right back up there at the 275W typical board power of the Fury X.

AMD set out to create a card that had the power of their flagship but in a small form factor, and it looks like on paper they certainly achieved this. Availability of the card will be September 10th. We hope to get a review sample from AMD and give you all the details you want to know. Keep a close eye out on the front page and forums!

Earthdog (Joe Shields)

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  1. $550 inc tax, duty and other costs would be just right price for me. In my area I expect it in price at least $800.


    I was close. R9 Nano from 8 manufacturers is listed at about $790 in central EU stores. It means that price is as high as gaming series GTX980 Ti ( MSI Gaming, EVGA Superclocked etc ). Now who will buy that ...
    Can't say I recall that, however, I have a poor memory.

    Anyway, here are some reviews...

    (BF4 it average 879 Mhz...only a few % behind the Fury).

    just finished reading the anandtech review. the product is fine, but not impressive. Still costs about $100 too much, niche or not.
    I was actually thinking to get one some time ago but after calculating all costs it will be too much right now.

    Looking at performance it's better option than Fury but lack of overclocking is causing that GTX980 is better option and if anyone really wants then will find large enough ITX case to put there GTX980 or other large card.

    Nano is good product but as with all AMD products lately, too late and too expensive.

    I will maybe think about it when prices drop and someone figure out how to overclock it ~20%+. Power design is good enough for ~225W in total so there is a chance to make it run higher.
    Can't say I recall that, however, I have a poor memory.

    Anyway, here are some reviews...

    (BF4 it average 879 Mhz...only a few % behind the Fury).
    I know it was announced later at $650 but before AMD said its price, they said it will be cheaper while still high performance card. Price was even mentioned at about the same level as 290X ... but they could say that 290X just after premiere, not in this year. It's like $200+ difference ;)
    It was announced at $650, but otherwise, I pretty much agree. I feel the card has its niche however. It is likely, a lot faster than the 970 ITX. So yeah, you pay for the best (at its size).
    I have a feeling that limited sampling is also related to limited production. Fury/Fury-X is total fail if you look at amount sold since premiere. Many even bigger stores sold 0-5 cards.

    For some reason Nano was announced as cheaper card but we see it for $650 listed in Amazon. In my local stores after adding tax etc, price will be not much lower than full Fury or cheaper versions of GTX980Ti ... really ? who will decide on a card which is throttling under load while can get something faster what cost not much more or something not much slower like GTX970 ITX but much cheaper.
    I feel that it is a petty action to take (deleting the build thread), but I understand their reasoning. AMD apparently left them out because the Nano did not meet their target audience, yet they give one out to one of the members there (part of their audience) to make a build thread for the card. While free hardware is always nice to receive, the amount of hours and work involved to make up the cost of the hardware is so skewed that it generally isn't worth it except for out of the love of doing the reviews.

    We've been seeing this more and more where companies are terrified of getting bad reviews for their mediocre products so they only ship to those that they can almost be certain won't give a strong negative opinion. I look at this similar to when game publishers are putting NDAs for games at the same time (or even after (!?)) launch of their game because it is so crappy they don't want to lose the pre-order money and day-one purchases.
    Well.. OCF, like some other major players, were shut out of reviewing the we are 0-3 on fiji... :(

    If you would like to see an article on why some feel they were shut out, read this from .. warning, there is strong language here....

    I'll admit, I am not happy about it either, but not that unhappy!

    I see a lot of feeling there and not much reasoning, but when when somebody's Nano build thread gets deleted just because the admin is unhappy about not getting the same free hardware, I think "feeling" isn't the right word. That's bitching and throwing a tantrum.
    Well.. OCF, like some other major players, were shut out of reviewing the we are 0-3 on fiji... :(

    If you would like to see an article on why some feel they were shut out, read this from .. warning, there is strong language here....

    I'll admit, I am not happy about it either, but not that unhappy!
    Thanks, Dave! :D

    Would love to know how they're claiming 175W when it's supposed to pull Fury levels of performance.


    R9 Nano is expected to power throttle under normal circumstances. AMD tells us that the typical gaming clock will be around the 900MHz range, with the precise value depending on the power requirements of the workload being run. As to why AMD is shipping the card at 1000MHz even when they don’t expect it to be able to sustain the clockspeed under most games, AMD tells us that the higher boost clock essentially ensures that the R9 Nano is only ever power limited, and isn’t unnecessarily held back in light workloads where it could support higher clockspeeds.

    It will hit 1000 when your game first loads, then throttle down to some lesser average when actual load is applied and draw ramps up past 175w. You know, right when you'd want it to be running at its max ;)
    No build log, but I posted some photos somewhere. I'm pretty sure the 7970 was a Gigabyte. I used my trusty Cooler Master Hyper 212 to cool the OC'ed i7 4770K. The wiring was a mess to look at but everything stayed nice and cool. If I find some photos, I'll post them here.

    I found a list of the parts:

    i7 4770K (overclocked to 4.4 GHz)

    Cooler Master Hyper 212

    MSI Z87I mini ITX motherboard with WiFi

    8GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1600 (2x4GB)

    Gigabyte HD 7970

    2 7200 RPM drives

    1 Kingston HyperX 120GB SATA III SSD Boot Drive

    Xclio 550W Modular PSU

    Found a photo of the Node 304 with the Gigabyte HD 7970 installed.

    Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Case