AMD Radeon Fury cards debut, from the tiny R9 Nano to the water-cooled R9 Fury X


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At a major launch event timed to coincide with E3, AMD announced its new lineup of Radeon Fury GPUs. As expected, the company formally declared that the leaked “Fury” brand name was legitimate and that the upcoming GPU would feature 4GB of HBM memory and 4096 cores in total. What was less expected were the three SKUs the company announced and its claims regarding performance per watt improvements and capabilities of the next-gen GPU. Fiji, now known as the Radeon R9 Fury, will pack one heck of a punch if the hardware performs as advertised.

First up, there’s the water-cooled R9 Fury X. The GPU is entirely water-cooled — AMD showed off the loop, sans the top cover, and it relies on a combination of a CoolerMaster radiator block, Nidec fan, and a reported decibel level of just 32db, compared to 45db (AMD claims) for the GTX Titan X. That’s a huge advantage for AMD if testing proves out the gains, given that the decibel scale is logarithmic, not linear. Furthermore, AMD has told us that the GPU’s target temperature is just 50C (end-users will have the ability to set their own manual targets if they so desire).

This version of the card will pack two 8-pin PCIe connectors, but power consumption is much lower than that, at an estimated 250-275W per board. The dual eight-pins are provided solely for extra overclocking headroom. The R9 Fury X will pack three DP 1.2 connectors and one HDMI connector (no word yet on whether that’s HDMI 2.0 or not). The GPU can drive up to six displays from a single card provided that a DP 1.2 hub is used. The second Radeon Fury GPU is an air-cooled variant in the same 7.5-inch form factor, but AMD generally glossed over this card, including its spec sheets and final capabilities.

The real star of the show was the tiny R9 Nano — a six-inch GPU that packs a significant performance improvement over the R9 290X, but in a fraction of the space. One of the major advantages of these new cards is the ability to squeeze a lot more GPU into an equivalent area. The R9 290X is a 11.5-inch GPU, compared to just 7.5-inches for the Fury X and Fury (both the air and water-cooled versions are the same length). Nano shrinks this down to six inches, and according to AMD executive Richard Huddy, the card could be even smaller than that — but not while fitting into a full-sized PCI-Express slot.

We’ll have images and additional details on the cards up as soon as possible, but it’s fair to say that the Radeon R9 Nano stole the show. AMD is projecting a 1.5x performance-per-watt gain for Radeon R9 Fury X over the R9 290X, but the figures for the Nano are even higher — 2x higher performance/watt compared to R9 290X. Unlike the Radeon R9 Fury X, the Nano won’t be available until later in the summer. AMD declined to name an exact release date for either it or the upcoming dual GPU Fury card, which is also scheduled for release later this year. We know that clocks won’t be as high on Nano, but its power consumption will also be significantly better.

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