Clock Speeds, Power Consumption, Pricing and Conclusions
An interesting data point I wanted to compare was the actual clock speeds of the Radeon Pro Duo, versus our R9 Nano cards in CrossFire. If you remember back to the launch of the R9 Nano, we had some issues with highly variable clock speeds that we attributed as the cause of SOME of our frame time variance. The question of whether the dual-GPU PCB would cause the Fiji XT chips to throttle slightly more than the single GPU on each Nano card stuck with me as well, even though the Radeon Pro Duo is water cooled.
As it turns out, thanks to a water cooling setup that keeps the Fiji XT GPUs on the Radeon Pro Duo at around 50C (nice!), the resulting average clock speeds for the GPUs on it are higher than the clock speed on the Radeon R9 Nano cards running separately. The difference isn’t great, only about 40 MHz, but it likely is the reason the Radeon Pro Duo was consistently a SMIDGE faster than the R9 Nano’s in CrossFire.
The Radeon Pro Duo power consumption test results in a maximum draw rate of 498 watts in The Witcher 3. This is total system draw from the wall, not the card alone. If you compare that to the Radeon R9 295X2 from a couple of years back, which hits 615 watts at the wall, the dual-Fiji uses 117 watts less while performing 30-40% faster! That shows the impressive efficiency improvement from Hawaii to Fiji in AMD’s graphics portfolio. The pair of Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards pull 452 watts, giving them a 45 watt advantage.
Pricing and Availability
The Radeon Pro Duo has an MSRP of $1499, and you can expect that price to stick for the foreseeable future, especially with the professional angle from AMD.
- AMD Radeon Pro Duo – $1499
- AMD Radeon R9 Fury X – $629
- AMD Radeon R9 Nano (x2) – $990
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti (x2) – $1220
Remember back to the launch of the Radeon R9 295X2, which also had a starting MSRP of $1499, it’s easy to see how the Radeon Pro Duo could start where it is. If you also remember though, the 295X2 rather quickly dropped to as low as $799 before it finally sold through on the market. The 295X2 was incredibly power hungry, had massive power supply requirements and had unique competition from NVIDIA. The Radeon Pro Duo, in theory, is better positioned as a piece of hardware, but it may be that the software ecosystem around it isn’t so agreeable.
If you have that kind of dough to spend on GPUs, and you are okay with buying into a hardware solution that might be superseded in the very near future, a pair of GTX 980 Tis is actually going to save you $250 (or so) and will give you a smoother gaming experience. Maybe even more directly, if you want to stick with AMD hardware, a pair of R9 Nanos will offer an identical performance scenario but will save you $500 if you have available/can suffer through the additional hardware space required.
AMD started out our most recent conversations about the Radeon Pro Duo by telling us that it wasn’t aimed at the PC gaming market. And I agree – it would be very hard to recommend this card to any PC gamer, including those with a limitless budget. CrossFire still lags behind SLI in the user experience side of things and our Frame Rating capture-based performance comparisons clearly show that is the case. While the Radeon Pro Duo has some impressive raw, average frame rates, the frame time variances are higher and can often be readily felt by the gamer.
What the Radeon Pro Duo can offer is R9 Nano CrossFire-class performance in a smaller form factor that only requires two slots and an open 120mm radiator location in your case. From a pure performance per dollar metric, the RPD won’t beat any single GPU cards running in SLI or CrossFire, but that has never been the goal of multi-GPU cards like this. It’s about size, space, sexiness and having the best hardware that exists in your machine.
For professionals looking to get an AMD multi-GPU configuration in their machine for development and offline rendering, the Radeon Pro Duo is an ideal solution. It takes up less space but also offers the same performance capability, and it might be easier to talk your CTO into a single expensive GPU than a pair of less expensive ones! With no similarly high-performance option from NVIDIA on the market, as there was never a dual-Maxwell solution sold, AMD has this market all to itself (for now). I do hope that developers find a way to integrate this card or any multi-GPU combination into their boxes; that is what it will take to get multi-GPU into DX12 and VR games. Experience with multiple graphics cards will undoubtedly equate to better solutions for gamers in the future.
So there you have it, the review you all wanted on the Radeon Pro Duo. Just as AMD predicted when it decided to not sample the cards to typical hardware enthusiast media, it just doesn’t have a compelling place in the market for gamers today. As a result of delays, the dual-Fiji monster that I hoped would be in our hands early last fall is launching at a time where multi-GPU technology is in a rut. It’s a rut that we will definitely get out of, but until then, the Radeon Pro Duo will remain a purely professional play.
I’d like to see more on
I’d like to see more on the’create’ side eg render benchmark comparison.
At this stage, I think 2 x r9 nanos is a better proposition. In Australia, you can find new Nanos for $800aud each. The Pro Duo is advertised at $2200aud.
Gaming wise, a Nano is about the same as a GTX970. 970 SLI is about the same as a 980Ti.
Rendering wise, a Nano is better than a 980Ti.
But who knows with the next generations from nVidia and Radeon?
I agree some render
I agree some render benchmarks would be good considering the target market for this GPU. However I’ve gotta pick you up on one thing you said; the Nano is about the same as a GTX 980, it’s much faster than a 970, check any review! On the 970 sli versus 980ti, I think the vast majority of people would always recommend a single powerful card over 2 less powerful ones any day as you don’t run the risk of a bad sli profile.
On topic, why did they wait to release this? If it is aimed at developers well they’ve been developing DX12/VR stuff for a few months now, ideally they needed the card when they started that process, not now things are slowly releasing! Clearly a true dual card setup is preferable to this, unless you absolutely need the pro drivers.
This would be grate in my
This would be grate in my mini itx rendering machine. Im just allergic to atx and micro atx builds.
Check out AdoredTv’s latest
Check out AdoredTv’s latest video on youtube. He talks about how traditional sites approach benchmarking and the blunders involved.
The pro duo is AMD’s Nano in
The pro duo is AMD’s Nano in crossfire on one pcb. The testing revealed they performed identically. Those people complaining are not real gamers. Who doesn’t play GTA 5? lol
It would have been nice to see the Division benched though.
You AMD guys are some
You AMD guys are some seriously retarded individuals; it’s not even funny. This card sucks. AMD blows. Crossfire is shit. And you are gay.
Well to be honest, I too
Well to be honest, I too would have liked the DX12 games tested too. Just to see how they did perform on the Pro Duo against the 980Ti SLI setup. Even if it was just to even up the “Gameworks” titles, at least then, a lot of people wouldn’t have screamed at the review. Balance is what was needed in the review, even if it made no difference to the outcome.
Lets face it, I wouldnt buy this card for this kind of money and also because the newer cards are due soon, as well as the CF issues in a lot of newer games too. So three good reasons for this card not suiting my purposes.
All of this however, does not excuse the nasty comments aimed at PC Per in particular Ryan Shrout. Personal insults are the last resort of the desperate fanboy regardless of which team they ‘Support’. Be nice and engage in reasoned debate over this review to get your point across, not go on an all out rant. Ranting does not encourage anyone to even consider what you say, let alone do anything about it.
They are just Graphics cards FFS!! Life is more important than that.
And before you call me an Nvidia Fanboy….I run a Sapphire Fury Tri-X and it has given me lots of happy gaming hours with my XL2730Z Freesync Monitor.
Done with you. I just
Done with you. I just listened to the whole podcast and at every level where AMD were talked about (even if they had the advantage) you made them look bad. You are bias. There’s no getting around that.
I work at a place where we
I work at a place where we sell these incredible cards. I picked one up as I was getting problems with my dual GTX980TIs in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.
Let me tell you this guys… ALL MY GAMES run BUTTER smooth on my 1440P monitor.. I mean like BUTTER with all the graphic details set on high.
I don’t care what these reviewers say, maybe NVIDIA pays them not to test DX12 games, no clue…. BOTTOM LINE IS, this is A DREAM GPU that makes gaming on 1440p and 4k a reality on my X99 Deluxe mobo… and if you guys can afford it, get it! Also Tom Clancy’s The Division in DX12 IS LIKE GLASS! My dual 980TI setup was shuttering as if it was loading textures etc.. I put these GTX on ebay, let someone else deal with this crap….
GET AMD PRO DUO… you won’t regret it! It’s future prof in DX12 and VR!
Well, I hope the bung you
Well, I hope the bung you took from nVidia bought you a new porsche. If not, you have just trashed your reputation for nothing, Ryan. That selection of titles is very poor.
I think I’ll stick to 2 x
I think I’ll stick to 2 x $499 Nanos.
I really love it, when there
I really love it, when there are only Nvidia branded titles in a review. Only Nvidia branded games. Beautiful. Could have at least try to mix it up with one independent game…