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AMD at E3: Flagship Radeon R9 Fury X, Fury, and Nano with HBM announced

By Koh Wanzi - on 17 Jun 2015, 4:12am

AMD at E3: Flagship Radeon R9 Fury X, Fury, and Nano with HBM announced

AMD's CEO Lisa Su took to the stage to introduce the Radeon R9 Fury X. (Image Source: AMD)

We've waited, and then we've waited somemore. For too long has NVIDIA's second-generation Maxwell cards gone unanswered by the red camp, but AMD is here at last with a new line-up of flagship cards to take on the best that NVIDIA has to offer. The Radeon R9 Fury X, Fury, and Nano sport the much-anticipated High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) that promises significant improvements in power consumption and performance.

HBM utilizes a stacked architecture that enables it to surpass GDDR5 memory in terms of performance per watt, in addition to shrinking the PCB surface area. (Image Source: AMD)

The new cards will be based on the all-new Fiji microarchitecture, making it first family of graphics cards to feature HBM. The Radeon R9 Fury X is built to tackle ultra-high resolution gaming at up to 5K and it actually has a stunning 4096-bit memory bus width to handle the task. AMD demonstrated the Radeon R9 Fury X running games at 5K resolutions at 45fps, an impressive feat that we can't wait to see for ourselves when we get our hands on a review unit.

Furthermore, the Radeon R9 Fury X has been designed with overclockers in mind, with a 6-phase power design and eight user configurable LEDs that show the GPU load in real time. It also features a premium, black aluminium exoskeleton, nickel-plated chrome finish, and soft-touch textured sides to match the power of its innards.

Image Source: AMD

Thanks to the use of HBM, the Radeon R9 Fury X also offers 1.5x more performance per watt over the Radeon R9 290X. In addition, it features 4096 stream processors, an impressive 8.6 Tflops of compute performance, and 8.9 billion transistors, which incidentally, is more than that on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X.

The Radeon R9 Fury X looks to be significantly faster than the Radeon R9 290X. (Image Source: AMD)

The Fury X comes with its own water-cooling loop, but AMD is also releasing an air-cooled version called the Radeon R9 Fury, which will feature a cut-down Fiji GPU.

AMD has also decided to seriously push the envelope when it comes to graphics card form factors with the Radeon R9 Nano, an ultra-compact 6-inch card that offers 2x performance per watt over the Radeon R9 290X. The Nano is also a Fiji-based card and features HBM, which is how AMD managed to shrink the card down to half the size of its previous-generation flagship (HBM enables significant space savings on the circuit board compared to GDDR5).

It's not every day we see such a powerful card in so small a form factor. (Image Source: AMD)

AMD has really broken with tradition with the Radeon R9 Nano. Graphics card performance has more or less seen a correlation with card length, but the Nano switches things up here by packing more performance into a far smaller footprint. This also means that system builders who are constrained by space will no longer have to sacrifice performance to accomodate the smaller size of their system. AMD may well be correct in saying that the Nano has created a class of its own in the high-performance GPU market.

Finally, AMD is also making a foray into the compact PC market with Project Quantum, a positively tiny cube PC that packs a dual-Fiji card which it claims is currently the world's fastest. A big part of the PC gaming experience is moving into the living room, and the Project Quantum PC definitely looks like a promising fixture in the homes of gaming enthusiasts who want to enjoy 4K gaming in their living room.

All the processing hardware is in the bottom half of the PC, while the cooling components are located in the top. AMD is positioning Project Quantum as the ultimate small form factor (SFF) gaming PC, and we can't say that they are wrong.

Image Source: AMD

And now for the most important details for prospective buyers: price and release dates. The Radeon R9 Fury X will be available on 24 June at US$649, while the Radeon R9 Fury will hit shelves slightly later on 14 July for US$549. It's not yet clear how the cards will stack up against the recently-launched NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti which also launched at US$649, so that will definitely be something we'll be looking into when we have a unit for review.

Unfortunately, AMD was less forthcoming with the details on the Radeon R9 Nano and the dual-Fiji GPU, save for the mention that they will be coming later in the summer and fall respectively.

Source: AMD

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