Are you a gaming enthusiast but don’t have a hulking great, full-tower PC? If yes, then go for a low-profile PC. But remember, you cannot install a powerful GPU in a compact PC since they don’t have enough room. But if you prefer moderate gaming without a high-end GPU, small form factors are for you.
Speaking of Small form factor GPUs, you might not be very fortunate in finding the best of them in the past few years, but today, many options are available. You can achieve decent frame rates for your titles and perform graphical tasks with those GPUs.
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But how do you find a GPU that goes head-to-head with your demands and comes in a small size? Don’t worry. We are here with hours of research and benchmarking results. Here is the list of best small form factor GPUs:
Quick Comparison Chart of Best Small Form Factor GPU
|Graphics Card||RAM||Video Output||CUDA||Boost Clock Speed||Base Clock Speed||Bandwidth||Memory Interface||Dimensions (mm)|
|ASUS RTX 3060||12 GB||3x DisplayPort 1.4a, 1x HDMI 2.1||3584||1807 MHz||1320 MHz||360 GB/s||192-bit||299 x 131 x 54|
|MSI GTX 1650 4GT LP OC||4 GB||1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x DVI-D||896||1695 MHz||1485 MHz||128 GB/s||128-bit||182 x 69 x 35|
|Nvidia GT 1030 OC Mini ITX||2 GB||HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, DL-DVI-D||384||1468 MHz||1227 MHz||48.06 GB/s||64-bit||153 x 69 x 38|
|MSI GT 710 2GD3H LP||2 GB||HDMI 2.0b, DL-DVI-D, VGA||192||No||954 MHz||12.8 GB/s||64-bit||146 x 69 x 19|
Our Picks for Best Small Form Factor Graphics Cards
Here we are discussing some of the best picks for small form factor graphics cards in detail. So let’s get to it:
1. ASUS RTX 3060
Reasons to Consider
If you want a power punch for your small PC build, look no further than RTX 3060. It is unlikely to see a 12GB VRAM in a small form factor GPU, but this one has it and offers the best in-game performance. Not only that, but you can also do 3D animation and CAD projects with this GPU, and don’t worry it will not ask for much PC space.
- Ram: 12 GB GDDR6
- Video Output: 3x DisplayPort 1.4a, 1x HDMI 2.1
- CUDA: 3584 cores
- Boost Clock Speed: 1807 MHz
- Base Clock Speed: 1320 MHz
- Bandwidth: 360 GB/s
- Memory Interface: 192-bit
- Dimensions: 299 x 131 x 54 mm
If you ask if there is any powerful GPU that does not ask for much PC space, yes it’s ASUS’s Phoenix RTX 3060 that goes hand in hand with your in-game needs while staying compact.
In fact, you can play titles like Destiny 3 and Doomsday in HD with over 100 FPS thanks to its 12 GB VRAM. Speaking of its benchmarks, this card does have something. You can play titles like Cyberpunk in 10-20 FPS in 4k resolution, spending on RT and DLSS settings. Next, for the most modern titles like metro exodus enhanced, you can achieve 30 FPS with DLSS and RT for 4k resolution.
While this card does entail a bit higher price tag but at the end of the day, it suffices for its price.
Now if you ask about its dimensions, this card sits in the low profile GPUs category as it is 299 x 131 x 54 mm. While this card can fit in most mid-tower PCs but for severely tight spaces or slim cases, this card is not a good candidate.
Aesthetically this GPU does not receive any high marks, as many users complain that its RGB is not good quality. it often stuck on some specific color. Besides that, this card often flickers during gaming sessions.
Next, looking at its power consumption, it remains power efficient since it asks for 170W TDP. And its dual fans are completely silent during the operation and maintain the system temperature at safe levels.
Overall, this card’s minimum power consumption, small form factor, and reasonable (compared to others) make it a good choice for PC building enthusiasts.
2. MSI GeForce GTX 1650 4GT LP OC
Reasons to Consider
Small GPUs are essential for the compact system but if you have a tight budget as well then look no further than this MSI GeForce GTX 1650 4GT LP OC. This GPU has a super small footprint, and it comes with 4GB DDR5, which makes it good for moderate gaming. However, you cannot do intense graphic work with this GPU for mid-tier PCs this GPU does suffice.
- Ram: 4 GB GDDR5
- Video Output: 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x DVI-D
- CUDA: 896 cores
- Boost Clock Speed: 1695 MHz
- Base Clock Speed: 1485 MHz
- Bandwidth: 128 GB/s
- Memory Interface: 128-bit
- Dimensions: 182 x 69 x 35 mm
MSI GeForce GTX 1650 4GT LP OC is a budget pick for those who don’t have much space and money to spend on top-tier GPUs. If you look at its dimensions, it features a 182 x 69 x 35 mm footprint, which fits in most iTX cases.
Performance-wise, this GPU provides a good experience as you can play most AAA titles at 50-80 FPS on ultra settings. Games like Assasin’s Creed, Call Of Duty, GTA V, and Witcher 3 can be a nice shot with these GPUs.
Overheating can be an issue with this GPU, but it’s not severe enough to lead to system throttling. Moreover, with increasing speed, the fan speed also increases, which makes for a bit noisy experience. Still, you can leverage the MSI afterburner software to tweak the fan speed and GPU performance.
This GPU does offer a lot of connectivity options, but it lacks DisplayPort 1.2, which is a bit disappointing as many other competitive cards do. And yet another edging feature of this GPU is its ability to connect with almost every PC with an x16 PCIe slot.
All in all, this NVIDIA’s Turing-based GPU houses a 4GB VRAM and 128-bit interface with a 128 GB/s data rate, which is a good combo to provide an amazing gaming experience for most titles. Although it does cost a bit more than other rivaling cards performance-wise, it does suffice.
3. MSI Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 OC Mini ITX
super tight budget
Reasons to Consider
If you have a super tight budget and can’t afford even our previous GPU then go for this one. This MSI Nvidia GPU can be a good upgrade to your PC if it lacks a GPU. Although you won’t be able to play games in the best settings, it does the job for moderate games. Moreover, this GPU has a small footprint which makes it ideal for small build PCs.
- Ram: 2 GB GDDR5
- Video Output: HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, DL-DVI-D
- CUDA: 384 cores
- Boost Clock Speed: 1468 MHz
- Base Clock Speed: 1227 MHz MHz
- Bandwidth: 48.06 GB/s
- Memory Interface: 64-bit
- Dimensions: 153 x 69 x 38 mm
For budget buyers who don’t have more than 100 bucks to spend on a GPU luxury, this GPU is a great option. While it does not come with many bells and whistles, as it only has 2 GB DDR5 VRAM and a mere 48.06 GB/sec bandwidth, it does perform well for moderate gaming.
Note that there is debate regarding this GPU’s VRAM as some customers complain it has DDR4 not DDR5 so when buying this GPU keep this in mind.
Speaking of its performance you can play titles like Minecraft, RAFT, and 7 Days Alpha 19 for 1080p for 60-120 FPS depending on the in-game settings. Although its 2GB VRAM is not good for 3D tasks and AutoCAD projects for office use and light gaming this GPU is good.
Moreover, this GPU is good for older games but not modern titles because of its limited bandwidth. And if you have a bit more money to spend we recommend going for a GTX 1050 instead of 1030.
Speaking of its temperature and cooling, this card has a passive cooling system, so you have to get an adequately ventilated case for this card. However, in terms of cooling this card does not overheat even after intense gaming sessions. And even if you overclock this GPU and turn off the fans it does not overheat to its limits. Now that’s amazing.
All in all, for light gaming and daily use, this GPU is good. And owing to its smaller footprint you can fit it inside a small case.
4. MSI GT 710 2GD3H LP
Reasons to Consider
Small form factor GPUs do come with less performance efficiency and this one also does the basic tasks. For serious gamers, this card is not a good choice but for basic office tasks and light gaming, this is the best choice since it remains a budget pic.
- Ram: 2 GB GDDR3
- Video Output: HDMI 2.0b, DL-DVI-D, VGA
- CUDA: 192 cores
- Boost Clock Speed: No
- Base Clock Speed: 954 MHz
- Bandwidth: 12.8 GB/s
- Memory Interface: 64-bit
- Dimensions: 146 x 69 x 19 mm
The MSI GT 710 2GD3H LP is an entry-level GPU that goes toe to toe with your daily tasks and light gaming. But if you are planning to play high-end GPU or want a future-proof GPU this one is not for you.
But if you want a graphic card that is dead silent and requires no external power connectors then this is for you. Since it comes fitted with HDMI 1.4, which supports up to 4K 30Hz, you can achieve good frame rates.
Moreover, this GPU lacks a fan and houses 2 half-height brackets; it is best for small form factor PCs. Speaking of its in-game performance, its 2 GB DDR3 VRAM is enough for most old games like Angry Bird but not for AAA modern titles. In fact, any games released after 2012 will not exceed 60FPS for gaming.
With no boost clock, you will also miss the overclocking capacity in this GPU but since it lacks an adequate cooling system it does suffice. In addition, this GPU also lacks DisplayPort which might limit you in terms of connectivity.
On the whole, this GPU is not for gaming but for modest office tasks, web browsing, and more. This GPU does suffice. And considering its super low price tag this card offers good value for the money.
What are low-profile GPUs?
Low-profile GPUs are those that have a small footprint and require minimum PC space. In other words, low-profile GPUs are ground reality for those who don’t have much PC space to spare. Moreover, they are not power-hungry so for those who don’t want full-size GPUs that require more PSU wattage the low-profile GPU is the way to go. And since low-profile GPUs are not very efficient so overheating is a rare problem with them.
Although a low profile is not the most potent there are some variants that offer power punch despite having a low profile. GPUs like Nvidia GT 1030, GTX 1050 or RX 560, or the AMD Radeon RX 550 are some of the budget options for low-profile GPUs.
Why Choose a low-profile or compact GPU?
Low-profile GPu or SFF graphics cards can be the best option for those who don’t have much PC space. Moreover, those who have small form factor PCs can go for it. Since low profile GPUs can likewise come with basic features that can help PC-build enthusiasts create home theater PCs. Moreover, the low-profile GPU does not ask for much power since it mostly needs around 70W to 250W for running it also does not overheat and stays quiet.
Why Not Choose a Low Profile GPU?
Don’t go for the Low profile GPU if you are an avid gamer or professional 3D artist because it might not provide the same performance as a standard-size GPU. Moreover, this type of GPU is also susceptible to overheating since it lacks an adequate cooling system. And in some cases, mini ITX graphics cards also need additional power connectors or adapters. And last but not least the small form factor GPUs are rare and hence cost some handsome bucks for the performance it offers.
Is A Mini or Low-Profile Video Card Right for You?
You should choose an SFF GPU or low-profile card if you don’t have much PC space. Not only that but also small PC builders can also leverage the SFF GPUs. Since these GPUs come with a lot of connectivity options they are amazing for Home Theatres as well. Although you can do light gaming with low-profile GPUs for more intense and high-end gaming you will need a hefty GPU. So it all boils down to your preference whether you want light gaming or heavy-duty 3D rendering.
Moreover, the cost is also a factor to consider because for budget buyers the low-profile GPU serves best. In addition, the GPU can only be right for you if it can go toe to toe with your existing PC hardware. If a GPU connects to an available 19-pin socket on the motherboard it is good and vice versa. Moreover, you should also consider your power supply constraints, and check if your desired GPU can go with it or not.
After considering all these scenarios, check for the best small form factor graphics card that can go toe to toe with your needs and wants.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Small-Form Factor Graphics Card
Whenever you plan to buy a small-form-factor GPU keep the following points in mind.
Size: Since you will be fitting a card into a mini ITX or small case you need to make sure the card can sit well in it. Check if your PC case will have some spare space left after installing GPU because they lack a proper cooling system so you should ensure that the system is well-ventilated.
Power Consumption: Although the small form factor GPUs are not power hungry you should look out if they can go with your existing PSU PCIe slots or not.
Performance: We all know that small form factors are not meant to be a performance-efficient GPU but still, you should weigh your performance needs and choose a GPU that can fit the criteria. You should check its VRAM capacity and the number of CUDA cores.
Cooling: Although the small form factor GPU does not have an impressive cooling system you should ensure that the GPU stays under the temperature threshold to ensure system safety.
Compatibility: Compatibility can be a major problem with SFF GPUs since they often lack essential ports like DisplayPort 1.2a. So before buying, you must dually check if the GPU has all the necessary ports for connecting GPU to the motherboard, PSU, and monitor.
Price: Performance wise the small form factor GPUs do not offer much value since many larger counterparts offer great bang for the buck. But still, if you direly need a low-profile GPU make sure it fits your budget and offers good value.
Can you put a Graphics Card in a small form factor PC?
Yes, Mini-ITX motherboards or small form factor PCs can house a GPU, but here is a catch. You should check the available size in the case and GPU’s dimension if they can fit.
Although there are some Mini-ITX cases that can house full-size GPU without any airflow blocking, there are some that do not have enough space for full-size GPU and need SFF GPU. So you must ensure that your small form factor PC has all the kit and caboodle to fit a GPU.
Small form factor GPUs are the way to go for those who don’t have much PC space left. Besides, for those who want basic office tasks and light gaming the small form factor GPUs can suffice. While there are many SFF GPUs that are likewise powerful to play most modern titles, you have to search and put some effort to buy one.
Remember if you are a professional 3D artist or hardcore gamer the SFF GPU is not for you. Still, if you want a good GPU you can check out our above-mentioned GPU list.