AMD Radeon R9 Nano

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It’s not the size of your boat...

ONE OF THE BEST THINGS about HBM is how lit­tle space it takes up on the PCB, in lieu of tra­di­tional GDDR5 and 5X mem­ory stacks. Thanks to be­ing able to stack it ver­ti­cally, as op­posed to hor­i­zon­tally next to one an­other, you can shore up a lot of ex­tra space on the PCB. And, of course, if there is ex­cess space, it’s pos­si­ble to elim­i­nate that space en­tirely. Thus, here we are, with the R9 Nano. It houses the ex­act same Fiji graph­ics pro­ces­sor and 4GB of HBM as the Fury X, but—alas— that’s where the sim­i­lar­i­ties end. The Nano is com­posed of a six-inch form fac­tor, a sin­gle eight-pin power, and a core clocked slightly lower at 1,000MHz, as op­posed to the Fury X’s 1,050MHz.

But is that shrink in size enough to war­rant the ex­tra cost? Over­all graph­ics per­for­mance is ex­cep­tional, es­pe­cially for a card with di­men­sions like this. At 1080p, av­er­age frame rates of 60–70fps is com­mon. At 1440p, graph­ics per­for­mance does fal­ter a touch, with av­er­ages drop­ping down to 45 frames per sec­ond, but it’s still a thor­oughly en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence in AAA ti­tles. How­ever, in con­trast to the full might of the Fury X, it does lack sub­stance. There’s a 10–12 per­cent dif­fer­ence in per­for­mance, and when you con­sider that the Nano cur­rently costs more than AMD’s flag­ship by al­most $70, you have to ask who ex­actly is this card for? Af­ter all, al­though it’s only six inches wide, it’s still a full­height card, it still utilizes a sin­gle eight-pin PCIe power, and it still draws al­most as much power from the wall as a Fury X.

What the Nano does show us is just how im­por­tant core clock speed is to the Fiji XT pro­ces­sor. But where does the Nano fit ex­actly? There’s no doubt that its over­all foot­print is far smaller than any­thing we’ve seen, but it’s just not small enough. It’s quiet, but it lacks cool­ing po­ten­tial, and it per­forms well at 1080 and 1440p, but lacks the con­fi­dence that the Fury X pro­vides with higher per­for­mance.

VERDICT7

AMD Radeon R9 Nano

NANITES Small­ish form fac­tor; solid 1080 and 1440p per­for­mance.

JUST NAHH… Per­for­mance drop com­pared to Fury; full-height card.

$ 470, www.amd.com

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