On September 10th, Graphic card company AMD will release a micro version of its ultra-performance R9 Series cards dubbed the R9 Nano. Currently, the R9 Nano is the fastest Mini-ITX form factored GPU on the market today – even going as far as to outperform Nvidia’s top tier full sized GTX 980 cards at a fraction of the size and power. In terms of its Fiji core architecture and performance per watt, this mini card is in a league of its own.
From a technical perspective, it is a definite step-up from anything ever done with a card this size. AMD spared no expense by incorporated enthusiast-grade components into the R9 Nano. The Radeon R9 Nano features 64 compute units which have 64 stream processors per CU, these round up to a total of 4096 stream processors which is the same core count featured on the flagship R9 Fury X graphics card. Due to the R9 Nano’s efficient Fiji architecture, the R9 Nano Mini-ITX card running at (175W) can pull 8.19 TFlops with a 1000Mhz engine clock, thus, matching AMD’s highest-tier Radeon R9 Fury X card running at (275W) with 8.6 TFlop 1050Mhz engine clock. That’s 100 watt less power and half the size for identical performance.
With all the power under a small chassis, any enthusiast would immediately think that heat would be an issue. For this particular card, that would not be a big issue. In this case, AMD designed the R9 Nano around cooling. It features copper heat pipes all around the unit itself, including the voltage regulator. This, and it’s intelligently designed full card heat sink that runs horizontally across the PCB along with the power efficient Fiji GPU core keep the card running 20 degrees cooler than its full size equivalent R9 290X or GTX 980 all on a single blower fan.
Victor Camardo, Product Manager of Radeon Graphics at AMD mentions in a recent interview at E3 that “There’s really nothing else in this class,” He adds, “For anyone who wants to build a small form factor chassis capable of playing 4K, the Nano is really interesting and that’s exactly where we targeted it: For those people who want power efficiency, who want high-performance, who want a good overall gaming solution that’s optimized to take advantage of all aspects of the product, and not just push one curve or the other to the max.”
The real question at this point is “Is this worth it?” That all depends. If you plan on building a small powerful HTPC/Mini-ITX computer, are a serious gamer and have the spare cash, by all means give it a shot. If you just plan on just upgrading your GPU, you might want to hold out or look elsewhere until a mass unbiased YouTube reviews show up the following weeks after the September 10th release date. The R9 Nano GPU price point on launch is a premium $650 USD – or the same price as the technically equivalent Radeon Fury X and Nvidia’s own GTX 980 Ti.
For more info on the R9 Nano or you want to pick one up for yourself on release, check out http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/graphics/desktop/r9