AMD Releases Graphics BIOS Update for R9 Nano & Fury X

When it comes to updating your BIOS, most users would be probably thinking about their motherboards. However, graphics card also have their own video BIOS which interfaces with the system BIOS and the graphics card hardware. A new VBIOS can add support for UEFI, speed and power profiles as well as improve stability. Today, AMD released an updated BIOS for their R9 Nano and R9 Fury X graphics cards.

According to AMD, the new BIOS is meant to improve UEFI BIOS support. Normally, you would see AMD’s AiB partners release new updates for their specific card models. However, in the case of the Nano and Fury X, these are reference designed Fiji based cards. We may see the Fury cards, which are all custom, get their own BIOS updates soon.

In addition to the UEFI support, some users are reporting that overclocking stability has improved. The Fury X was not particularly well-liked due to its lacklustre overclocking abilities, something this BIOS may fix. This also suggests that the Radeon Pro Duo may also overclock better than the original Fury X.

To update your relevant graphics card, you can download the new BIOS from AMD’s website here. AMD has chosen to release the updates as .roms which will make for a more complicated flashing process. The usual cautions of flashing your BIOS apply of course.

AMD Partners Restricted in R9 Nano Modifications

A week after AMD first revealed their new R9 Nano graphics card, we’re receiving more details about partner versions of the card. Unlike the flagship R9 Fury X, the R9 Nano, based off the same Fiji chip, will feature custom solutions. According to the source, the custom cards will arrive sometime in Q4 2015, or within the next 3 months.

Given that Fury X is locked down in terms of custom cards, many were hoping that custom R9 Nanos would allow have allowed full Fiji cards with better VRMs and PCBs, tuned to allow better overclocks. Unfortunately, our information suggests that AMD is restricting any changes to the specifications, only allowing changes to the cooling. This means that overclocking on the Nano will probably be limited by the 8pin connector and VRM solution before running into any thermal issues.

One of the reasons AMD is restricting modifications is they want to keep the TDP and power consumption in check. This is probably due to the heavy marketing that AMD has done for the Nano, with a focus on efficiency and the form factor. Allowing custom solutions that give off too much heat, hurt efficiency and are too large would defeat much of the niche the Nano resides in. Another reason is that AMD probably doesn’t want the Nano to surpass the flagship Fury X, at least not out of the box.

With all this in mind, the R9 Nano shouldn’t be limited by the VRM or PCB in most overclocking scenarios. If custom coolers are able to outperform the stock heatsink, they should offer more overclocking headroom. However, these custom cards would run smack into the Fury X which costs the same as a reference Nano. Partners will need to find a thermal solution that can at least match the Fury X, without being overly larger or more expensive than the stock Nano heatsink to be competitive. While AMD is following the lead of Nvidia in restricting changes to the flagship cards, it remains to be seen if this strategy will pay off.

AMD May Launch R9 Nano for $649 Today

Later today, AMD is expected to finally launch their much-anticipated R9 Nano GPU. Based off of the full Fiji die, the small form factor card will be a sure hit with the HTPC crowd. Having already had some of their slides with benchmarks and images of the card leak, we’re now getting word on the pricing situation. According a report, AMD is setting the price pretty high, with the Nano set to launch with an MSRP of $649 USD. Keep in mind that this is still unconfirmed right now and AMD may yet launch the card at a different price.

To put that in perspective, the R9 Fury, with a slightly higher clocked but gimped Fiji comes in at $549 while the full Fiji flagship R9 Fury X costs about $649. This puts the R9 Nano in a tough spot despite having a full Fiji. Even with similar top clocks as the Fury X, the Nano is still limited by its cooling, 42dB sound rating and its 75C temperature target. This means the Nano will probably perform closer to the vanilla Fury. Against the green side, the Nano does offer 30% more performance than the competing SFF GTX 970, but will set you back double the price.

With those numbers in mind, it really seems that AMD wants to maintain their margins on the Fiji die and HBM. The serious binning they are doing to get such efficient chips also means the Nano is a rarity. The biggest question is whether or not users are willing shell out top cash to get the fastest and most efficient mini-ITX card on the market or will they simply settle for something else. At this price though, there is little chance the Nano will cannibalize the Fury’s so AMD has at least got that covered.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information 

AMD Gets Help With Fiji Supply Issues

Despite launching earlier this month, AMD has been suffering from low stocks of their new R9 Fury and Fury X GPUs. In many cases, the cards have sold out quickly, meaning many of those looking to go with the red team have been turned away. In an effort to get ahead of demand, it looks like AMD to turning to more sources to get Through Silicon Vias (TSV).

As we all know, AMD uses a silicon interposer to connect the HBM DRAM stack to the GPU die. In order to connect all three parts together, Through Silicon Vias are required, which is an extra step that is not normally required. While there was speculation that AMD was doing this either with Hynix or TSMC, the more likely solution, as we now know, is to get a third-party silicon fab to handle it, in this case, United Microelectronics Corporation. UMC is producing the silicon interposer that the HBM and GPU die are placed, and that is also going into volume production.

It seems that AMD was a bit premature in launching their Fiji lineup with the critical part still in limited production. With the silicon interposer now in full production, the bottleneck to Hynix or TSMC, helping improve the supply situation. Given that it will take some time for the completed dies to be shipped to AIBs and then sent to retailers, it still be may some time till the R9 Fury and Fury X are fully in stock. Hopefully, AMD’s upcoming R9 Fury Nano will arrive in a much better supply situation.

Nvidia AIB Partners Cut Price on GTX 980 and 980Ti

For those of you debating on whether or not to snag a card from the green team, now may be the time. Following the launch of AMD’s R9 Fury many of Nvidia’s AIB partners are cutting prices on their 980 and 980Ti cards. MSRP are dropping about $20 for both cards, with the 980 dropping from $499 USD to $479 while the 980Ti falls from $649 to $629. This time around, the price drop is silent, with no official announcement coming out from anyone.

While a price cut of $20 isn’t much, that’s another extra $20 that can be put to a larger SSD, better case, CPU or power supply. With this price cut, it looks like Nvidia and it’s AIB partners want to have their cards be more competitive. The R9 Fury currently has an MSRP of $550 and the R9 Fury X at $650. While the 980 won’t make too much difference, dropping the price of the 980Ti below the Fury X will make more of an impact.

These price drops will be sure to put more pressure on AMD. Nvidia appeared to have been planning these prices drops for a while already, waiting till AMD had launched their new lineup. It’s important to note that while the MSRP has dropped, not every card has dropped by that amount, with some hitting above and below $20. AMD may not be able to afford to drop prices yet on the Fury’s given their new launch and tech. It will be interesting to see how AMD will react to this price drop in the near future.

AMD R9 Fury X 4GB Graphics Card Crossfire Review

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different, we are extremely excited to bring you the CrossFireX review of the recently released AMD Radeon R9 Fury X. As we all know, the R9 Fury X is AMD’s latest attempt to take the crown from NVIDIA in the top end consumer GPU market. In some ways, AMD has succeeded, thanks to the introduction of a new GPU architecture and the innovative High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). With the use of HBM, it has been proven that the quantity of VRAM isn’t the issue, it is the quality of the connection and bandwidth allowance for the VRAM to do its work; although more VRAM certainly couldn’t hurt.

On the test bench today, we have the XFX version of the AMD R9 Fury X 4GB featuring HBM. As we previously saw in the standalone review, the card had more than enough power to supply 30FPS at 4K; however, 30FPS isn’t enough. Adding another card into the mix should produce very high chances of witnessing 60FPS at 4K.

The two cards in the testing bench together you can get a feel of the size of them compared to the Gigabyte G1 Gaming X99 motherboard. The attention to detail that has gone into every card is simply amazing; there isn’t a piece of cable sleeve or cable tie out of place. All of the screws are perfectly inserted and the metal is buffed up to a gorgeous shine.

A single card is a testament to AMD’s attention to detail. It’s a shame the heat shrink didn’t go all of the way to the fan cowling; leaving about 1″ of coloured cables visible.

Out of the rig, the two cards in all their glory. If the comparison to the motherboard wasn’t enough, how about next to the 120mm radiators? Due to there being no metal heat sink inside the card, it weighs next to nothing compared to the radiators.

 

Up close to the cards, you can see that there isn’t a dimple on the cover plate out of place and there is no frayed cable sleeving protruding from the end of the cards.

 

We inserted both graphics cards onto our Core i7 5820K and X99-based test system, ensuring adequate spacing for optimum cooling and that both have access to sufficient PCI-e bandwidth for CrossFire operation. These cards are the best possible option for configuring a crossfire set-up, both are the reference design, same sub-vendor, exactly the same clock speeds and the same TDP. All of this means that we can achieve the best possible scaling with little to no variations due to the mismatch of graphics cards.

XFX AMD R9 Fury X 4GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


This is what we’ve all been waiting for, the R9 Fury X graphics card is finally here! This particular card has been given a lot of hype in recent weeks and months thanks to rumours and leaked performance benchmarks all pointing towards a ‘Titan X Killer’. These rumours shook the entire enthusiast market and resulted in NVIDIA fighting back with another high-end graphics card; the GTX 980Ti. With the dismissal of a reveal at Computex 2015 by AMD, NVIDIA got the upper hand with the launch of the GTX 980Ti. This meant a huge focus was looming over AMD at the PC Gaming Show event at E3. We covered the event and what it had to provide in terms of graphics cards here!

Previous to this, AMD held multiple conference calls and events to slowly unveil what they had planned for the GPU marketplace. The most notable nugget of information was the ‘Ace’ up AMD’s sleeve; High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). This is the idea of an engineer at AMD and has been in the pipeline for around 7 years. GPU memory technology up until now has been referred to as GDDR memory and in the most popular state, GDDR5 is the current standard of memory technology. HBM hopes to completely demolish what GDDR5 is and bring in a new standard; the key is in the name, High Bandwidth. Compared to traditional GDDR5, the bandwidth will increase from approximately 28BG/s per chip to over 1000GB/s per stack. The key difference between HBM and GDDR5 is the placement of the DRAM chips, in GDDR5, they are laid out around the GPU; in HBM, they are stacked directly onto the GPU die. This massively decreased distance to travel not only increases bandwidth, but also decreases the overall footprint of the PCB. One of the limitations with HBM however, is that HBM v1 will be limited to 4GB, or 1GB per stack; when compared to what NVIDIA has to offer or even the R9 390X, it doesn’t look very appealing.

In our recent news coverage, we have had to gather our information from other sources. This has led us to be portrayed as being critical to AMD due to only primary issues being brought forward. Problems such as poor HBM production speeds have affected the overall availability of the R9 Fury range, undoubtedly annoying water pump buzzing and what can only be described as a poor choice of review linking on the AMD Facebook page; have been the main stories, with very few pro-AMD articles. Due to the poor availability of the R9 Fury X samples, we were skipped over, however, we purchased our own and now we can figure out for ourselves if these issues are in fact issues at all.

The XFX box is very simplistic, with a diamond pattern in the background, it allows focus on the main points of the box.

Inside the box, we find a warranty card, driver disk, manual and screws.

The card is a lot longer than I thought it was going to be, despite all of the pictures I’ve seen already. It has a metal box frame across the entire card with soft touch panels on each side. It is completely closed off apart from a small gap where the pipes enter the card.

Along the top, we see both Radeon logos and the 2x 8pin PCI-e Power connectors; the Radeon logo on the side illuminates when turned on.

A key feature on the R9 Fury X is the load LEDs. These light up depending on how much load the GPU is currently under.


AMD have given the tubing and fan cable extra attention with the addition of dense weave sleeving.

It enters the card so you cannot see any heat shrink or fraying ends.

The radiator is a standard 120mm size design with an addition lip along the top; The OEM for the AIO cooler is Coolermaster.

At the business end of the card, we see no vents for air cooling. However, there is an etched Radeon logo should you forget the manufacturer. The card is also equipped with 3 x DisplayPort and 1 x HDMI.

AMD Releases R9 Fury X Faceplate 3D Model

AMD looks to have mods in mind with their R9 Fury X graphics card. Many readers may have noticed that the faceplate for the Fury X might be removable. AMD has now noted that the move was partially intentional, allowing easy customizability. With that in mind, AMD has released the STP file for CAD software, allowing owners to easily create their own faceplate. I am sure many enterprising makers will create all kinds of designs for their Fury X.

Given the water cooling featured on the Fury X, there is very little need to say mod a fan bracket or something like that. More likely are some AMD inspired designs or maybe a clear window, though the faceplate of the Fury X usually won’t be seen in a regular build. Given some complaints about coil whine and pump buzzing, maybe those impacted can add some sound dampening material to help counter that as well.

As expected from most hardware, AMD will not be covering any damage to the card, faceplate or system caused by removing the faceplate. AMD is urging certain precautions like not tinkering with the card while it is powered, operating, installed in a system, and proper ESD protection. While I’m sure most users are well aware of the risks or lack thereof, you can never be too careful.