AMD Reveals Radeon R9 Nano Performance and Efficiency Numbers at Hot Chips 2015 – Been Prototyping HBM Since July ’14

Hassan Mujtaba
Posted 1 year ago

The first performance numbers of AMD’s Radeon R9 Nano graphics cards have been unveiled at Hot Chips 2015. The performance numbers come as a part of presentation which was delivered by AMD’s CTO (Chief Technology Officer), Joe Macri who revealed some key information regarding AMD’s Fiji GPU and the HBM (High-Bandwidth Memory) architecture powering these high-performance chips.

AMD Radeon R9 Nano is Faster Than The Radeon R9 290X – Rocks Full Fiji GPU Core

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is one of the most anticipated card of the Radeon 300 series lineup that was showed by AMD at their E3 event. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is a tiny card, that’s what AMD said it themselves. It might be tiny but for a card this small, it has some shocking performance and efficiency numbers. This card is actually based on the same 8.9 Billion transistor boasting, 28nm TSMC HPX made, Fiji GPU core which is featured on the Radeon R9 Fury X and has 4 GB HBM VRAM dedicated for gaming that runs along a 1024-bit wide bus interface clocked at 500 MHz (1 Gbps effective) that pumps out 512 GB/s bandwidth. This card boasts 2 times the performance per watt compared to Hawaii (R9 290X) and comes with the full Fiji GPU core that is clocked a bit slower while featuring 4096 stream processors, 256 Texture Mapping Units, 64 ROPs and 2 MB of L2 cache.

The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is faster than Hawaii and we mean the full fat Hawaii chip featured on the Radeon R9 290X. The proves that AMD has done some crazy work designing this little beast of a card which is just an amazing engineering feat by the team at Red. The other thing is that, the card has a 175W thermal design power. AMD has given this card a single 8-Pin power connector to feed power to it. It has 2 times the performance density and is 2 times the performance per watt compared to R9 290X. The card is fully equipped with the new Fiji core technologies that include Delta Color compression, Tessellation re-distribution, SRIOV virtualization, Improved clock gating and comes with 4 Asynchronous compute units.


The slide published by AMD in their Hot Chips presentation shows that the Radeon R9 Nano will deliver 33 FPS compared to 30.5 FPS (Radeon R9 290X), while the Radeon R9 Fury X blisters past 40 FPS at an exact FPS rate of 42. The benchmarks were obtained at 4K resolution so its quite obvious that AMD Fiji based parts will have higher performance due to higher bandwidth (512 GB/s). The performance per watt with these results was insane with Hawaii taken at reference at 1.0% while the Fury X has 1.25x and the R9 Nano at 1.9x (up to 2.0x) times more energy efficient compared to Radeon R9 290X which is insane. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano is allegedly launching this week on 27th so it will be interesting to see at what price does AMD deliver the Nano as it could prove to be a quite competitive graphics solution.

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AMD Has Been Prototyping HBM Since Early 2014

Aside from the R9 Nano, some interesting slides were shown by AMD on their path to HBM and Fiji GPU. AMD has been prototyping on-chip memory solutions since 2007 with their first prototype taped out in mid-2007 with the RV635 GPU (Radeon 3000 series). This chip was featured on an interposer with GDDR3 DRAM and 100 samples of this chip were prototyped. In 2011, AMD once again prototyped an MCM die with their Cypress GPU die (HD 5000 series) that had an interposer equipped with routing for daisy chain stack. Less than 5000 samples of these chips were prototype and formed the basis of the Fiji GPU die lay out and interposer design. Also up till July 2014, AMD had begun to migrate to larger discrete GPUs and made a 502mm2 ASIC design on an 818mm2 interposer that featured HBM prototype stacks. This is interesting as AMD did have samples and a second HBM enabled GPU which never made it to the market. Finally, Fiji GPU design was formulated in July 2014 and AMD had been prototyping it ever since until it made its way to the market. More than 5000 samples were prototyped before the chip made its way to the Radeon R9 Fury X, Radeon R9 Fury and the upcoming Radeon R9 Nano graphics cards.

AMD Hot Chips 2015 Presentation Slides:

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