The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is a unique graphics card that has serious chops on paper to back its market positioning. While the R9 Nano is clearly intended for high-end SFF (small form-factor) desktop builds, we were curious about whether people would buy more than one of these for, say, micro-ATX gaming PCs (on platforms such as Haswell-E HEDT and Piledriver). It also made us wonder if the larger ATX tower crowd would buy a pair of these cards just for their space-saving design and minimalist appeal.
At the "Fiji" GPU unveil, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled a prototype dual-GPU graphics card based on a pair of these chips, and it drew power from two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. It's probable that AMD could give the chips on that card a similar power-management system to the R9 Nano, and so even if crude, an R9 Nano CrossFire review could give you a very early preview of what to expect from that card. Compared to the Fury X, the power-management on the R9 Nano being implemented on future SKUs is a no-brainer.
We had two of these cards on hand, an AMD review sample and a Sapphire-branded retail card we bought, so it was only natural for us to make lemonade (this CrossFire review). Since AMD CrossFire lets you create a CF setup with different SKUs based on the same chip, we also fed our curiosity by pairing the R9 Nano with the card it's sharing its "flagship" status with, the R9 Fury X. In this review, we'll give you performance numbers for a pair of R9 Nano cards and a combination of the R9 Nano and R9 Fury X to show you how it scales across resolutions compared to a single card.