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!
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
Stock photos (Courtesy of AMD)
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)