When AMD confirmed the brand new Fiji GPUs ultimate yr, they mentioned four products: R9 Fury X, (vanilla) R9 Fury, (miniature) R9 Nano, and a dual-GPU card that becomes ultimately christened the Radeon seasoned Duo. In June, the primary card showed up, observed via the Fury in August and the Nano in September. By way of all rights, the seasoned Duo must have launched not long after the Nano, but that never occurred, and the longer we waited, the more we puzzled what turned into occurring with the twin-GPU halo card. Nowadays is the reliable release of AMD’s Radeon Pro Duo. However, it feels extra than a bit stillborn.
AMD informed us last week that they may not be sampling the Radeon seasoned Duo to reviewers—or at the least, no longer “conventional” reviewers. We’re going to get to that in a moment, but all we need to move on right now are product snapshots and a slide deck, the latter of which includes some benchmarks and a spec sheet. So we’re no longer reviewing the seasoned Duo as such. However, that doesn’t mean we do not have lots to talk about. You spot the Pro Duo is efficaciously CrossFire R9 Nano on a single PCB, so armed with a couple of R9 Nano cards, we can get a pretty clear concept of the way the pro-Duo could perform.
Dual-GPU playing cards have continually been a niche market, and the seasoned Duo takes that to a brand new stage. The last twin-GPU card from AMD, the R9 295X2, become more or less equal to CrossFire R9 290X (with reduced clocks except you overclocked), and it turned into priced at $1499, as compared to $549 for man or woman 290X playing cards. It also launched six months after those playing cards, and the market was nonetheless languishing in 28nm land. Radeon seasoned Duo targets that same price, $1499. However, this time, the R9 Nano has already dropped to $499. Possibly greater difficulty because we’re 9 months after the Fury X, but we’re also about two months before the 14nm FinFET Polaris components are rumored to arrive.
And that, in a nutshell, is why AMD is not sampling the cardboard to reviewers—they can guess what we’d say: “too little, too overdue, and too high-priced.” they are quite much proper. Aside from occupying a single slot and using a single closed-loop liquid cooler, it is now not any faster than a couple of R9 Nano playing cards. However, AMD is throwing a chunk of a curveball right here as they’re touting this as an expert card instead of only a gaming monster.
The marketing is all about content material advent, TFLOPS, LiquidVR, and DX12, and the pro-Duo ought to do nicely in all the regions. To further muddy the waters, it seems AMD will even give proprietors of the pro-Duo a preference between gamer and professional drivers. In a sense, that is a workstation magnificence card. AMD’s first VR geared up author imparting as well, and AMD is partnering up with Crytek and their VR First initiative to assist budding VR developers. If you’re willing to pay the price top class for a dual-GPU card and you want the precise functions that AMD is offering, it might be really worth the rate top rate.
Whilst we do not have a real Radeon pro Duo for trying out, we have multiple R9 Nano playing cards. Performance ought to be equal, maybe with a small variance of some percent. Thinking about you may purchase more than one R9 Nano playing card and save $500, or maybe a pair of GTX 980 Ti cards at the same time as saving $300, even though the benchmarks are by and large a formality. In particular, this is not a card for gamers, no longer with Polaris and Pascal proper across the nook. Our take a look at the platform includes an overclocked i7-5930K, 4x4GB DDR4-2667, two references clocked GTX 980 Ti playing cards, and R9 Nano cards.
For the games, we’re going the entire hog here and along with benchmarks from eleven exclusive games. The video games variety from older titles with SLI and CrossFire profiles for a long time to a few newer titles. We’ve got tested the usage of the trendy AMD red 16.4.2 Hotfix drivers and Nvidia’s 364.seventy-two drivers, at 1920×1080 extremely, 2560×1440 extremely, and 3840×2160 and excessive or extremely, depending on the sport (The division, GTAV, and upward push of the Tomb Raider had been examined the use of their respective high presets). We have blanketed both single GPU and dual GPU outcomes to help shed some mild on what to anticipate.
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Beginning with our 4K trying out, twin Nano GPUs can come close to matching dual GTX 980 Ti and even manage a few wins (in a long way, Cry Primal, GTAV, and Hitman: Absolution). Thinking about their’s an electricity draw benefit for AMD here (350W vs. 500W TDP), not to say the reminiscence drawback (4GB vs. 6GB in keeping with GPU), if we’re talking approximately AMD’s $a thousand pair of cards and Nvidia’s $1200 pair of playing cards, each are great performers. A single 980 Ti is 15 percent faster than an unmarried Nano, but in SLI/CF, the distance at 4K is the best three percentage on common. This is usually an awful lot better scaling on AMD: CrossFire improves AMD’s overall performance with the aid of 85 percent. However, SLI, the simplest, increases the Nvidia overall performance by way of sixty-six percentage.
From a gaming angle, paying $1500 for the same overall performance is a special remembrance. There may be additionally the problem of the minimal frame quotes, in which the 4GB VRAM takes its toll. This time, a single 980 Ti has forty percentage better minimum frame rates on average, though in twin-GPU configurations, space narrows to 19 percent. Interestingly, notwithstanding having much less VRAM, 4K has been one in all AMD’s sturdy positions.