AMD has launched its Radeon R9 Nano, a very tiny, yet very powerful graphics card. The Nano uses the same chip that is in the Fury X, but heavily binned and carefully power-controlled in order to bring down power consumption and thermals.
So, how is the card?
- The Nano does not need a beefy heatsink like the Fury, or water-cooling like the Fury X.
- The card is very small. It will fit in pretty much any case.
- Power consumption is low, relative to its performance.
- Good temps and lower noise.
- Excellent performance for the small size.
- The card suffers from coil/inductor whine.
- It’s aimed at small form factor enthusiasts, but does not have HDMI 2.0.
- This $650 card has 5-10% lower performance than the $550 R9 Fury.
- Worth repeating: This card is more expensive and lower performing than AMD’s own R9 Fury.
In a somewhat puzzling move, AMD is offering prospective buyers a card that costs more, and performs worse, than its own alternative card. From the reviews above, we can see that AMD is clearly aiming this card at people who want high gaming performance in an ultra small form factor; a niche within a niche.
For normal gamers, this card is not worth getting over the better performing and similarly priced R9 Fury X and 980 Ti, and it is not worth getting over the better performing and cheaper R9 Fury, either. This is strictly a card for small form factor enthusiasts, and not gamers in general.
Unless the R9 Nano comes down in price, it will not be logical for our parts recommendations.
These are not good times for enthusiast wallets. AMD’s top 3 cards are priced at $650, $650, and $550. NVIDIA’s top three cards are $1000, $650, and $450. When will we be getting flagship launches for under $500 again?