AMD has announced that the price of its innovative R9 Nano small-form factor graphics card has dropped from its $649 launch price down to $499. UK prices have shifted in line to match, dropping from an initial £510 to something closer to £400 (at the time of writing, Scan has a Sapphire model for £395 plus delivery). At a stroke, AMD is now offering GTX 980-level performance at a similar ballpark price - but with increased power-efficiency, quiet operation and a minuscule six-inch form-factor.
The R9 Nano uses a fully enabled version of the Fiji processor - the same chip used in AMD's top-of-the-line R9 Fury X, along with 4GB of its next-gen HBM (high-bandwidth memory). The cutting-edge memory configuration allows for the much smaller board, but AMD had to get creative in keeping the card cool and quiet. Instead of using a closed loop water cooler like the Fury X, clock-speeds dynamically adjust according to GPU utilisation, ensuring that the card doesn't exceed a 175W power budget. The end result is a small, discrete (but less powerful) card that's a good match for small form-factor PCs. Right now, there's nothing quite like it on the market.
Looking back at our R9 Nano review, we were impressed by the innovative form-factor and the high-quality build, but we were unsure of the pricing bearing in mind that many small form factor cases can accommodate a much more powerful GTX 980 Ti or R9 Fury X, available for much the same price. By dropping prices down to compete more readily with the cheaper GTX 980, AMD clearly hopes to pick up more sales - it's a wise move that addresses the one major downside to what is an impressive product.
Meanwhile, in other news, AMD has also recently confirmed that it has delayed the release of its dual-Fiji graphics card, codenamed Gemini. The firm is targeting the product for VR applications, aiming to release some time in Q2 this year alongside the Oculus Rift and HTC's Vive Pre.