After months of waiting, AMD finally revealed the much anticipated next in line high performance HBM enabled ITX card – The R9 Nano. Known initially as the R9 Fury Nano, the now revealed R9 Nano graphics card utilizes the same core specifications of the R9 Fury X with small iterations to the core clock. Aimed for 4K UHD gaming, AMD self proclaimed that the R9 Nano is the fastest ITX Graphics Card to grace the market.

Specs like the X

Before its launch, the card is speculated to feature a tad lower specifications – even lower than the R9 Fury air-cooled graphics to make up for its TDP. But alas, the only thing that changed are the footprint, and its core clock to make up for that 175W TDP. That said, it should be faster than the standard sized air-cooled Fury, with a full fledged 4096 Stream Processors (64 compute units), and just MHz away (up to 1GHz) from the R9 Fury X’s specifications.

AMD R9 Nano Preview (2)

The card never looked any different from the past unveiling –  conforming to the same 6 Incher form factor dual slot design that looks really professional. For a card that has its bigger brother’s weight on its back, one might expect that its cooling performance is close to abysmal – especially if we’re talking about the Fury X that requires an AIO cooling solution. But then again, that is not the case as AMD did their homework to adequately cool the card as efficient as possible.

Small & Power efficient

Of course, the 175W TDP and single 8-Pin power connector could signal that it should be a cool and power efficient card, but as far as cooling is concerned, AMD employed a dense combination of heat-fins and copper heatpipes in a vapor chamber configuration. Even the VRM is cooled and according to AMD, the card is 20c cooler than the R9 290X at peak load, which should be around 70-ish based on our old review. That puts the card within the optimal 75c threshold so it wont throttle down on heavy usage. Also according to AMD, the card will still operate normally even if it reached 80c.

AMD R9 Nano Preview (3)

A single 92mm fan actively cools the card, and AMD is happy to announce that the card should operate around 42dBA (16dBA less than 290X) which is similar to the silence that you’ll encounter if you’re inside a library. Whisper quite I must say.

AMD R9 Nano Preview (6)

Build quality wise, I cannot complain either – with a 4 part construction consisting of the main PCB, a metal plate that helps to passively cool the other components, the dense vapor chamber heatsink, and the all black metal shroud that just speaks of quality. I/O wise, you’re looking at a card aimed for beyond 1080P usage so it’s just proper to equip the card with 3x DisplayPort and a single HDMI port.

AMD R9 Nano Preview (5)

4K UHD Performance

The card looks cool and all, but how about performance? Well since we don’t have a sample yet AMD disclosed a performance graph comparing the card to an ITX version of the Nvidia GTX 970. It’s no surprise that the card beats it on every benchmarked games that AMD provided, as the GTX 970 is a slower card (based on specs), and has trouble running games at UHD due to its complex 3.5GB + 0.5GB memory configuration. The HBM card on the other hand, behaved properly well without even dipping below the 30 FPS mark.

AMD R9 Nano Preview (4)

According to AMD, the card is on an average, 30% more powerful than the GTX 970. Considering that, the R9 Nano might be 15% faster than the GTX 980 since the said card is just around 15% faster than the GTX 970.

How about the price?

The R9 Fury retails for around 550 USD, while the R9 Fury X retails for around 650 USD. Now with almost the same specifications, & good cooling design, AMD decided to have the card to feature the same MSRP as the R9 Fury X on launch which is on September 10th, 2015. Initially, and without knowing the specifications, we thought that the card will feature 450USD price point, since we’ve known form the “rumors” that it will be based on the lighter air-cooled Fury. But then again, the card is so similar to the Fury X – so AMD felt that the 649.99 USD price point is a must even though it serves a different purpose form factor-wise.

Our thoughts

Based on the figures and information provided by AMD, we could already conclude that the R9 Nano is indeed the fastest ITX card to enter the town. But it comes at a cost –  a cost so high that it’s considered a niche card. Frankly speaking, it’s not bad if you’re going to build the ultimate gaming ITX system, but also do note that majority of ITX cases now supports standard sized graphics, including the GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti both in their NVTTM designs.

AMD R9 Nano Preview (7)

Since we don’t know yet the full potential of the card until September 10th arrives, we could only conclude with the said things above. Do note that according to AMD, AIB partners will be given a 3-4 month rest period until they could launch their own cooling solution for the Nano which might be beneficial for the end user if they proved to significantly lessen the price of the card – similar to the situation of the NVTTM coolers from the competition. All in all, we are curious as what the R9 Nano will offer in the next few days. See you guys around.

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