The Competition

One of the issues in testing an unusual card like the R9 Nano is figuring out what to test it against. By and large most of the video cards we receive are, well, large, which is suitable for evaluating high performance cards, but presents a bit more of a problem when looking for something to compare the R9 Nano to.

Anticipating this problem, AMD offered to send us a competitive NVIDIA card as well, ASUS’s GeForce GTX 970 DirectCU Mini. As a matter of policy we typically don’t accept rival cards from a vendor in this fashion in order to avoid testing pre-arranged (and contrived) scenarios. However in this case we had already been looking into NVIDIA Mini-ITX cards for this review and had previously settled on trying to get one of the GTX 970 minis, so we opted to break from standard policy and accept the card. As a result we want to be transparent about accepting an NVIDIA card from AMD.

Left: AMD Radeon R9 Nano. Right: ASUS GeForce GTX 970 DirectCU Mini

The Test

Meanwhile after some early experimentation on how to best evaluate the R9 Nano, we have opted to break from tradition a little bit here as well and test the card in two rigs. For our published numbers and for the purposes of apples-to-apples comparisons we are using our standard AnandTech GPU Testbed, a full-tower ATX system.

However in order to also test the R9 Nano in cozier conditions more fitting of its small size, we have also run a limited selection of cards within a second testbed as a control. Unfortunately we don’t have any true Mini-ITX systems around that are suitable for testing the R9 Nano, but for the next best thing we have turned to our frame capture workstation. Based on a Silverstone Sugo SG09 microATX case, this rig is built around a Core i7-3770 and typically houses our frame capture hardware for frame time analysis. For our testing we have pulled this out and set it up with some of our video cards in order to ensure that these cards operate similarly in cramped conditions.

The AnandTech microATX Video Capture Workstation w/R9 Nano

By and large the microATX case simply confirmed our results on our regular testbed after accounting for CPU differences, satisfying that testing in our larger regular testbed wasn’t unfairly impacting any of our major cards. However we’ll revisit the microATX case for our look at power, temperature, and noise.

CPU: Intel Core i7-4960X @ 4.2GHz
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Professional
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200i
Hard Disk: Samsung SSD 840 EVO (750GB)
Memory: G.Skill RipjawZ DDR3-1866 4 x 8GB (9-10-9-26)
Case: NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition
Monitor: Asus PQ321
Video Cards: AMD Radeon R9 Fury X
AMD Radeon R9 Nano
Club3D R9 390X 8GB royalQueen OC (Underclocked to 1050MHz)
AMD Radeon R9 290X
AMD Radeon R9 285
AMD Radeon HD 7970
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
ASUS GeForce GTX 970 DirectCU Mini
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580
Video Drivers: NVIDIA Release 355.82
AMD Catalyst Cat 15.201.1102
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro
Meet The Radeon R9 Nano Battlefield 4
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  • ImSpartacus - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    Good to see that Anandtech got a Nano.
  • Wreckage - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    I'm sure they agreed to give a "fair" review. I think everyone should wait for independent reviews after the whole Roy Taylor incident.
  • HOOfan 1 - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    I bet AMD knew the numbers would be exactly the same at all the big name sites. It is the conclusions they were worried about.
  • close - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    Wreckage, you would say that of course after being "motivated" by no less then two 980 graphic cards as gifts just in the last 6 weeks. What kind of credibility do you expect after this?
  • theduckofdeath - Saturday, September 12, 2015 - link

    New review on a hardware review site, comment section full of bitching.
    Yeah, this is the tech news of 2015. Whining and trolling instead of discussing tech.
  • LoganPowell - Friday, November 27, 2015 - link

    It's too bad that the AMD Radeon r9 Nano does so bad among consumer based rankings (see for example...)
  • theNiZer - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    Spot on mate! (sry for double posting)
  • gw74 - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    The R9 Nano was about to make me interested in AMD cards finally. On finding out about what they've been up to denying review copies to certain outlets, I am now not interested any more and they are dead to me as a brand.
  • silverblue - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    Roy apologised to Scott Wasson and said that he didn't consider The Tech Report as an unfair site, however the reason for their exclusion still hasn't been made known. I suspect he got confused between TechPowerUp and TheTechReport. :)

    Still, excluding anybody, intentional or otherwise, does your reputation a world of hurt, and starts to provoke questions about those who were included. What a tangled web we weave.
  • milli - Thursday, September 10, 2015 - link

    I don't want to burst your bubble but Scott Wasson has been very pro nVidia for the past ten years. He's just very good at doing it very subliminally, so most won't even notice. As a long time TR reader, it has been pretty obvious to me.

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