AMD has revealed full details on its upcoming ultra-small form-factor graphics card – the Radeon R9 Nano. It’s a unique offering: a compact six-inch GPU with the horsepower to run the latest games at 4K resolution. Featuring the full complement of hardware features found in the top-end Fury X, the card consumes a typical 175W, with operating volume rated at just 42dB.
It’s a far cry from the air-cooled R9 Fury and the water-cooled Fury X – both relatively power-hungry by comparison (and both rated at 275W). AMD’s methodology in producing the cooler, more efficient Nano is simple enough – core frequencies drop from the 1050MHz found in the Fury X to around 850-900MHz depending on thermal and power budget. In producing the current Fury line, AMD pushed the Fiji chip close to its limits, and the more you push, the higher the power draw, and the amount of heat generated. It’s not a linear relationship, so in dropping core frequency, AMD retains the bulk of the performance but saves a lot of power and temperatures reduce accordingly. The operating temperture holds steady in terms of performance at 75 degrees Celsius, with performance only being throttled once temps reach 85 degrees.
The early benchmarks for the card show a lot of comparisons between the full-fat Fury X, as well as many other top-end offerings from both AMD and Nvidia. The Nano performs admirably compared to multiple high-quality competitors in games like Tomb Raider, Far Cry 4, and The Witcher 3. Some might scoff at the price tag being identical to the better performing Fury X, but AMD is quick to point out that the Nano is a unique offering that’s usefulness is more than it’s form-factor than it’s performance.
It is entirely possible to cram insane amounts of power into small form-factor cases, as this LinusTechTips video points out. So the Nano would definitely help with builds like this. Although the $650 price tag will scare off the budget builders.