Friday, September 4th 2015

AMD Radeon R9 Nano Review by TPU...Not

There won't be a Radeon R9 Nano review on TechPowerUp. AMD says that it has too few review samples for the press. When AMD first held up the Radeon R9 Nano at its "Fiji" GPU unveil, to us it came across as the most promising product based on the chip, even more than the R9 Fury series, its dual-GPU variant, and the food-processor-shaped SFF gaming desktop thing. The prospect of "faster than R9 290X at 175W" is what excited us the most, as that would disrupt NVIDIA's GM204 based products. Unfortunately, the most exciting product by AMD also has the least amount of excitement by AMD itself.

The first signs of that are, AMD making it prohibitively expensive at $650, and not putting it in the hands of the press, for a launch-day review. We're not getting one, and nor do some of our friends on either sides of the Atlantic. AMD is making some of its tallest claims with this product, and it's important (for AMD) that some of those claims are put to the test. A validated product could maybe even convince some to reach for their wallets, to pull out $650.
Are we sourgraping? You tell us. We're one of the few sites that give you noise testing by some really expensive and broad-ranged noise-testing equipment, and more importantly, card-only power-draw. Our reviews also grill graphics cards through 22 real-world tests across four resolutions, each, and offer price-performance graphs. When NVIDIA didn't send us a GeForce GTX TITAN-Z sample, we didn't care. We didn't make an announcement like this. At $2,999, it was just a terrible product and we never wished it was part of our graphs. Its competing R9 295X2 could be had under $700, and so it continues to top our performance charts.

The R9 Nano, on the other hand, has the potential for greatness. Never mind the compact board design and its SFF credentials. Pull out this ASIC, put it on a normal 20-25 cm PCB, price it around $350, and dual-slot cooling that can turn its fans off in idle, and AMD could have had a GM204-killing product. Sadly, there's no way for us to test that, either. We can't emulate an R9 Nano on an R9 Fury X. The Nano appears to have a unique power/temperature based throttling algorithm that we can't copy.

"Fiji" is a good piece of technology, but apparently, very little effort is being made to put it into the hands of as many people as possible (and by that we mean consumers). This is an incoherence between what AMD CEO stated at the "Fiji" unveil, and what her company is doing. It's also great disservice to the people who probably stayed up many nights to get the interposer design right, or sailing through uncharted territory with HBM. Oh well.
Add your own comment

759 Comments on AMD Radeon R9 Nano Review by TPU...Not

#526
remixedcat
Hurricane Roy will hit landfall on 9.11.15 prepare yourselves!
Posted on Reply
#527
Mussels
Moderprator
his ROYal highness has spoken.
Posted on Reply
#528
cadaveca
My name is Dave
"EarthDog said:
LOL, he says "Amen"? Does he not see or not understand the irony in that statement? They are making up rules to play the game by manipulating how games are tested (no AF).
I think you're taking Roy's statement the wrong way. He knows launch coverage can't be fair. So no real reviews, just publicity. I'm fine with that.
Posted on Reply
#529
Cataclysm_ZA
"cadaveca said:
I think you're taking Roy's statement the wrong way. He knows launch coverage can't be fair. So no real reviews, just publicity. I'm fine with that.
I see it this way as well. As much as Roy may agree that reviews should be fair and unbiased, AMD wants the Nano launch to go a specific way, which is why they're picking and choosing who gets a card for review carefully.
Posted on Reply
#530
EarthDog
Im not sure how you hoovered that meaning out of his reply, Dave.

Regardless if that is true, there is irony ooozing out of it!


EDIT: Fair is testing it as users generally run it.... WITH AF. Again, this isn't 2004.
Posted on Reply
#531
dorsetknob
"YOUR RMA REQUEST IS CON-REFUSED"
"cadaveca said:
I think you're taking Roy's statement the wrong way. He knows launch coverage can't be fair.
I think your find that the general opinion over the web is Roy has royally fucked up
yes he is getting Publicity for his Product but its turning nasty over the way he has handeled it

Its becoming a shitstorm of bad tasting Publicity that he could have avoided for AMD
Posted on Reply
#532
GhostRyder
"cadaveca said:
I think you're taking Roy's statement the wrong way. He knows launch coverage can't be fair. So no real reviews, just publicity. I'm fine with that.
It probably could still have been phrased a bit better though. Any word used on the internet without being specific can be interpreted the wrong way in this day and age.

Seems kinda odd as it is, but they really are trying to make the Nano a "Feature Presentation" of their products so they want a specific image of it.
Posted on Reply
#533
cadaveca
My name is Dave
"EarthDog said:
Im not sure how you hoovered that meaning out of his reply, Dave.

Regardless if that is true, there is irony ooozing out of it!


EDIT: Fair is testing it as users generally run it.... WITH AF. Again, this isn't 2004.
Life's not fair though, so whatever. I mean, I'd love for W1zz to get a sample, since that's my only hope of getting my hands on one myself, but if AMD wants to market their products in a specific way, that is their right to do so.

They could be more transparent and various other things, but I still love AMD for being AMD.

"dorsetknob said:
I think your find that the general opinion over the web is Roy has royally fucked up
yes he is getting Publicity for his Product but its turning nasty over the way he has handeled it

Its becoming a shitstorm of bad tasting Publicity that he could have avoided for AMD
Meh, I kind of like an AMD that stands up for itself.

"GhostRyder said:
It probably could still have been phrased a bit better though. Any word used on the internet without being specific can be interpreted the wrong way in this day and age.

Seems kinda odd as it is, but they really are trying to make the Nano a "Feature Presentation" of their products so they want a specific image of it.
Yeah, my words have been twisted more times than I am comfortable with. But again, oh well. ASUS didn't send me a Z170 ROG board, and MSI never sent me the X99 GodLike. Biostar doesn't return my emails, Corsair and Kingston stopped sending samples... such is the life of a product reviewer. I find other samples to keep me busy.
Posted on Reply
#534
EarthDog
Yeah, life isn't fair, but we are not talking about pouting children (but adults and website, LOL!).

We are talking about how the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY runs their video cards (using AF) and AMD not doing that. This, to me, is a bit more than simply 'marketing their products in a specific way'. I mean, it is that, yes, but, they are going against what the majority uses, to make their card look better than it is when the 'overwhelming majority' uses them. It is misleading. If you expect 60 FPS because a review said so, now you are getting 45 because they don't use an incredibly common setting...... how is that OK?

Settings will differ from review to review, no doubt, but no AF? Come on....
Posted on Reply
#536
arbiter
"EarthDog said:
Yeah, life isn't fair, but we are not talking about pouting children (but adults and website, LOL!).
We are talking about how the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY runs their video cards (using AF) and AMD not doing that. This, to me, is a bit more than simply 'marketing their products in a specific way'. I mean, it is that, yes, but, they are going against what the majority uses, to make their card look better than it is when the 'overwhelming majority' uses them. It is misleading. If you expect 60 FPS because a review said so, now you are getting 45 because they don't use an incredibly common setting...... how is that OK?
Settings will differ from review to review, no doubt, but no AF? Come on....
Most review sites tend to use default setting profiles in games so really settings don't diff that much. Usually its high, very high or ultra. So settings don't differ that much from one site to another. But AMD was one using that diff massively from reviewers but selectively turning off any setting that doesn't make use of the cards shaders. AMD trying to rewrite the rules on how tests wouldn't shock me given the whole story what they did for trinity(posted below). If they tried to pull that same thing now it would be pretty sad that they think reviewers would re-test ALL their cards to fit what benifits AMD's PR and not what Real world end users use.

"HumanSmoke said:
The issue is the way AMD is massaging the launch and message. You could argue that AMD has a long history of doing this ( remember the Trinity launch for example), but it doesn't make it any more palatable.
Posted on Reply
#537
EarthDog
"arbiter said:
But AMD was one using that diff massively from reviewers by selectively turning off any setting that doesn't make use of the cards shaders. AMD trying to rewrite the rules
THIS............!
Posted on Reply
#538
Tsukiyomi91
He's a ROYal pain in the arse for me... How can he stoop that low & say TPU is "biased"? He obviously thinks that enabling AF & AO is considered as "unfair". Bzzt. Turning that off for AMD & enable it for Nvidia cards isn't.
Posted on Reply
#539
Tsukiyomi91
"remixedcat said:
hey guys.... dare me to get pikachu involved?? I'll do it...
better not... Pikachu isn't gonna be happy with it xD
Posted on Reply
#540
remixedcat
"Tsukiyomi91 said:
better not... Pikachu isn't gonna be happy with it xD
yeah and charizard'll roast his ass
Posted on Reply
#541
GhostRyder
"arbiter said:
Most review sites tend to use default setting profiles in games so really settings don't diff that much. Usually its high, very high or ultra. So settings don't differ that much from one site to another. But AMD was one using that diff massively from reviewers but selectively turning off any setting that doesn't make use of the cards shaders. AMD trying to rewrite the rules on how tests wouldn't shock me given the whole story what they did for trinity(posted below). If they tried to pull that same thing now it would be pretty sad that they think reviewers would re-test ALL their cards to fit what benifits AMD's PR and not what Real world end users use.
Ok dude, you need to get off the high horse preaching about AMD as being the worst thing when it comes to marketing their cards. I am pretty sure lying about specs on a card is at least as bad to running settings that benefit your card...

"cadaveca said:

Yeah, my words have been twisted more times than I am comfortable with. But again, oh well. ASUS didn't send me a Z170 ROG board, and MSI never sent me the X99 GodLike. Biostar doesn't return my emails, Corsair and Kingston stopped sending samples... such is the life of a product reviewer. I find other samples to keep me busy.
I know that feeling, anything you say can and will be held against you in the court known as the internet where people judge first and ask questions later :P

Though what matters is why in the end and it sounds still like it could very well be low supply mixed with choice of marketing. It won't matter in the end, cards will surface and we will see the benchmarks which in the end will give us the chance to judge all we want. Its unfortunate since I do appreciate seeing so many different scenarios with TPU's/wizards reviews but there is nothing we can do about it now unless someone gets one early and sends it over to him or buys him one.
Posted on Reply
#542
EarthDog
"GhostRyder said:
I am pretty sure lying about specs on a card is at least as bad to running settings that benefit your card...
Not to nit pick, but was it a lie? It has 4GB of vRAM. 500MB are slower than the rest. Perhaps they were not as forthcoming as they should have been, but its not the first time that you saw the split memory configuration either. ;)

Regardless, I hear where you are coming from. :)
Posted on Reply
#543
HumanSmoke
"Mussels said:
his ROYal highness has spoken.
...and inserts foot into open mouth. Not an unusual occurrence - remember when he shot his mouth off about AMD and Intel's processors?
"Basically the CPU is dead. Yes, that processor you see advertised everywhere from Intel. It's run out of steam. The fact is that it no longer makes anything run faster. You don't need a fast one anymore. This is why AMD is in trouble and it's why Intel are panicking," Taylor claimed [...] However, Nvidia claims that the above message does not reflect any official stance whatsoever. According to the company's spokesman Brian Burke, the message is not a public statement and "the views in Roy Taylor's e-mail do not mirror the views of Nvidia."
which resulted in his demotion from VP Content Relations to VP for a whole new division that involved chatting to telephone systems operators, and of course the truly golden...
"The UK is the only place in the world where anyone talks about AMD or ATI". To prove his point, [NVIDIA’s Roy] Taylor went as far as showing us a graph representing the entire market for GPUs last year, both discreet and integrated. Astonishingly, ATI did not feature at all.
Where was ATI among the 366 million graphics chips which had apparently been split exclusively between NVIDIA and Intel in 2007? "No one cares," Taylor says.
AMD discrete desktop graphics market share in 2007: 37-40%.....
AMD discrete desktop graphics market share in Q2 2015: 18%

Nvidia had the common sense to show Roy the door. AMD have already effectively demoted him from chief of global channel sales to VP of Alliances (whatever that translates to). Take the voluntary redundancy Roy, you don't have a leg to stand on if you take it to employment arbitration!
Posted on Reply
#544
GhostRyder
"EarthDog said:
Not to nit pick, but was it a lie? It has 4GB of vRAM. 500MB are slower than the rest. Perhaps they were not as forthcoming as they should have been, but its not the first time that you saw the split memory configuration either. ;)

Regardless, I hear where you are coming from. :)
True but I still count it as a lie. If it was no big deal they would have been up front about it which is why to me it was a lie. Plus if I recall the performance hit on the 660ti (I believe that is what you are referencing, correct me if not) was not near as bad on the last bit of the 2gb card.

I think what we need is the card to show itself in public to get the truth, nothing is going to satisfy until that happens. I think we have been waiting far to long at this point to see something :P
Posted on Reply
#545
remixedcat
he worked for NV?
"HumanSmoke said:
...and inserts foot into open mouth. Not an unusual occurrence - remember when he shot his mouth off about AMD and Intel's processors?

which resulted in his demotion from VP Content Relations to VP for a whole new division that involved chatting to telephone systems operators, and of course the truly golden...

AMD discrete desktop graphics market share in 2007: 37-40%.....
AMD discrete desktop graphics market share in Q2 2015: 18%

Nvidia had the common sense to show Roy the door. AMD have already effectively demoted him from chief of global channel sales to VP of Alliances (whatever that translates to). Take the voluntary redundancy Roy, you don't have a leg to stand on if you take it to employment arbitration!
Posted on Reply
#546
EarthDog
I dont think any testing was done on the 660ti (excellent job there remembering!). When we reviewed it, I don't think we broke 1.5GB or wherever the threshold was at the time. There are complaints abound about the 660ti, more so after the info about the 970 came out...
Posted on Reply
#547
HumanSmoke
"remixedcat said:
he worked for NV?
Oh yes. Did you think that Roy limits his public embarrassment antics to just a single company?

A lot of industry names tend to swap positions on a regular basis. The PR variety tend to garner more attention being more visible. AMD's other resident shoutcaster, Richard Huddy (thankfully muzzled at the moment) also did a stint at Nvidia, as well as Intel.
Posted on Reply
#548
remixedcat
jees.... -_- o_O What fuckery did he do at NV?
Posted on Reply
#549
HumanSmoke
"remixedcat said:
jees.... -_- o_O What fuckery did he do at NV?
It is probably no exaggeration to say that AMD's biggest marketing advantage occurred when Roy was given a speaking role at Nvidia. Roy seems ready to prove that lightning can indeed strike twice in the same exec.
Posted on Reply
#550
arbiter
"GhostRyder said:
Ok dude, you need to get off the high horse preaching about AMD as being the worst thing when it comes to marketing their cards. I am pretty sure lying about specs on a card is at least as bad to running settings that benefit your card...
"GhostRyder said:
True but I still count it as a lie. If it was no big deal they would have been up front about it which is why to me it was a lie. Plus if I recall the performance hit on the 660ti (I believe that is what you are referencing, correct me if not) was not near as bad on the last bit of the 2gb card.
That is was 1 lie for Nvidia, Lets count AMD's lie's. Lie #1, Radeon 300 series isn't a rebrand, Lie #2 Fury X is 20% faster then 980ti, About to be Lie #3 Nano being 30% faster then a gtx970. If want to go back even more then could come up with a lot more about AMD. So lies are 2-1 atm but soon to be 3-1 most likely. I don't expect any AMD fan to let gtx970 issue go since its old issue and only thing you have to use.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment