Details Emerge On The AMD Radeon R9 Nano: Eventually Should Be Nice For Linux Gamers
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 26 August 2015 at 09:47 AM EDT. 29 Comments
RADEON --
This week a slew of details concerning AMD's Radeon R9 Nano have come out with this small form factor graphics card with Fiji GPU expected to begin shipping soon while the official announcement is expected on Thursday.

If you haven't heard yet, the Radeon R9 Nano has a fully-equipped Fiji GPU with 4GB of HBM memory and it's going to pack in 4096 stream processors. There are 64 compute units, a engine clock up to 1GHz, 8.19 TFLOPS of compute power, 256 texture units, 64 ROPs, and the power draw will be up to 175 Watts.

Some unconfirmed reports are suggesting the Radeon R9 Nano will sell for around $499, which puts it at just a bit-less than the air-cooled R9 Fury at $549+ and the R9 Fury X at $649.


Reported Windows performance figures with DirectX showing this graphics card to be the fastest available for its size/class and a perfect fit for a SFF gaming system. Of course, that's under Windows.

The R9 Nano is quite a powerful piece of hardware considering its small size and requiring a single eight-pin connector. From the hardware perspective, the R9 Nano is very interesting and I'm excited about it... But, of course, the current Linux situation will be far from ideal.

As I wrote last month in the first Radeon R9 Fury Linux review, the OpenGL performance on Linux with Catalyst was (very) disappointing compared to the NVIDIA performance where in extreme cases a sub-$200 Maxwell GPU outperforms it. There is open-source support that gets more promising seemingly by the day and with the Linux 4.3 kernel there will be initial Fury/Fiji support. However, with Linux 4.3 these high-end GPUs with HBM memory will lack power management / re-clocking support. I'll publish my R9 Fury open-source benchmarks on Linux 4.3, but the results there will be bad considering the graphics card will be stuck running at low clock frequencies. Power management for dedicated GPUs with the AMDGPU DRM driver won't come until Linux 4.4, a.k.a. still several months away at a minimum. So perhaps by Christmas the R9 Nano/Fury will be a good choice for Linux gamers if the open-source stack gets polished up by then and/or AMD manages to deliver some compelling Catalyst Linux driver updates in the next few months.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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