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Going with a compact system for your gaming, VR, or media editing workstation comes with numerous benefits. The best low-profile graphics card can offer reliable performance for your computing tasks without requiring a complicated configuration dedicated to cooling and powering your PC hardware. However, finding the right one for your PC building can be overwhelming because of the features packed in the compact GPUs.
Some considerations are more important than others when trying to find the best low-profile graphics card. If you are browsing for an upgrade to your current set-up or looking to build a gaming PC, we have outlined the key areas you should focus on. Also, go through the list below if you want detailed recommendations.
5 Best Low Profile Graphics Cards
1. ZOTAC Geforce GT 1030 Low Profile Graphics Card
- Unleash your creativity with stunning photo and video editing
- Windows 10, 8 and 7
- Get easy driver updates and one-click game optimization with GeForce experience
- Tap into the efficient performance of the award-winning NVidia Pascal architecture
- Extended warranty included with every graphics card purchase. User registration required on Zotac website
The GeForce GT 1030 is the best low-profile graphics card for people looking for a reliable and cheap option for casual gaming. Its single-slot form factor does not require a separate power supply unit as it draws its power, a low 30 watts, from the PCIe slot. Plus, you do not need a lot of expertise to install the GPU model.
Admittedly, the video card is not designed for high-performance gaming but more towards ensuring general-purpose tasks are done efficiently. The low-profile GPU relies on a 64-bit bus and has 2GB of onboard virtual memory that can be accessed at 6000 MHz. Plus, the 14 nm technology offers decent performance thanks to the 1227 MHz base clock. The boost clock speed of 1468 MHz will deliver minus the pesky thermal throttling seen in larger models if you want faster speeds.
The small form factor of the GPU makes it ideal for many compact systems. Additionally, you get two video output ports; one HDMI and one VGA port.
2. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super OC Graphics Card
- Powered by GeForce GTX 1650 super
- Integrated with 4GB GDDR6
- 90 millimeter fan design
- Intuitive controls with AORUS engine
- 4GB 128-bit GDDR6
If you want a solid choice for better performance in gaming and other video editing tasks, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super is the best low-profile graphics card for you. Upgrading your small form factor PC with this GPU gives you 1280 CUDA cores with an impressive 1740 MHz boost clock speed and 1410 MHz for the base. Plus, the modern 4 GB GDDR6 VRAM ensures gaming performance is slick thanks to the 12000 MHz memory clock.
The OC GeForce GTX GPU model offers more cores and bandwidth than its predecessor. Admittedly, you will need a 6-pin power supply connector to cater to the high consumption of 75 watts. However, the one fan cooling system ensures these low-profile graphics cards remain at relatively cool temperatures when performing.
3. ZOTAC GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition Graphics Card
- A great upgrade for your integrated graphics, the GeForce GT 730 accelerates the overall performance of your PC. The GeForce GT 730 packs powerful NVIDIA CUDA Cores and abundant amounts of memory that deliver a performance punch in all the latest 3D games and applications. You'll get super fast web browsing, incredible photo and video editing, and ultra detailed gaming. An array of NVIDIA innovations such as NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, and the new FXAA Anti Aliasing Mode offers more than one way to elevate your gaming experience. This card features a low profile design, and is pre configured with a full height bracket. Two low profile brackets are included in the package for easy integration into HTPCs and other small form factor systems. The passive cooling solution enables a peaceful, zero noise computing experience.
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 GPU. 384 processor cores. 4GB DDR3. 64-bit memory bus. Engine clock: 902 MHz. Memory clock: 1600 MHz. PCI Express 2.0 (x8 lanes)
- 1 x DL-DVI-D. 1 x VGA. 1 x HDMI. Triple simultaneous display capable. HDCP compliant.
- 300-watt power supply recomillimeterended. 25-watt max power consumption
- HDTV READY : ED 480p. HD 720p. HD 1080i. Full HD 1080p. Quad Full HD (4K).
With a base clock speed of 902 MHz, the GeForce GT 730 Zone Edition GPU can still offer reliable performance thanks to a combination of effective features. For starters, this GPU model comes with 384 CUDA cores for more efficient processing. Secondly, the 4 GB VRAM is impressive as most low-profile GPUs have 2 GB offerings. Plus, the clock speeds for the memory are rated highly at 1600 MHz.
You can get great performance when using this compact graphics card for a home theater PC or multi-monitor setup. The GPU is suitable for video and photo editing tasks, thanks to the hardware-accelerated Blu-ray 3D playback. Plus, the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio ensure the sound quality meets audiophile standards.
4. VisionTek Radeon 7750 Graphics Card
- 6 4K DISPLAY SETUP - Connect up to 6 4k displays with 6 included Mini DisplayPort cables featuring lock down screws for secure cable connection. NOTE: Included active cables are required for 4k monitors
- INDEPENDENTLY POWERED - 70W max power draw and requires no additional power source (minimum of 300W PC power supply is required)
- AMD EYEFINITY 2.0 - Delivers flawless graphics and unbelievable frame rates at the highest resolutions in tandem with DirectX 11
- 4K CONTENT - Watch 4k content (4096 x 2160 max @ 60 Hz) with exceptional frame rate and hear in brilliant 7.1 Surround Sound without additional drivers
- VERSATILE USE - HD graphics and wrap-around capabilities, 5x1 landscape, stereo 3D and universal bezel compensation. Great for healthcare, marketing, stock exchange, and any space needing more display setups
The VisionTek Radeon 7750 Low Profile Graphics Card offers buyers a reliable option for turning their compact PC into a setup built for multiple monitors. Admittedly, excellent gaming performance is not the purpose of this GPU. However, its 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM, rated at 6008 MHz, and 512 cores can deliver high-quality viewing performance.
This GPU model stands out from the rest thanks to its six mini Display Ports and the numerous adapters for ensuring compatibility with your screens. Despite having a small form factor that allows it to fit inside a compact PC case, this low-profile graphics card can output 4K quality through all six ports. Additionally, the audio card on the GPU can output 7.1 surround sound.
5. MSI GeForce GTX 1050 TI Low Profile Graphics Card
- 1 x DL-DVI-D, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
- Video Memory: 4GB GDDR5;75 Watts
- Memory Interface: 128-bit.Item dimensions L x W x H 7.09 x 2.72 x 3.5 inches.Power consumption 75 W
- Bus: PCI-Express 3.0 x16
- Optional Low Profile Bracket is required for small form factor desktop computer.
The MSI GeForce GTX 1050 TI OC Low Profile GPU has a 9.49-inch height that allows it to fit inside virtually any PC case. Get high performance when playing recent AAA games with the ability to support up to 3 video outputs; DL DVI-D, a Display Port and one HDMI port.
This affordable piece offers top-notch overclocking and cooling. For starters, it relies on two fans that remain relatively quiet even when you are pushing for high performance. Then, the 4 GB GDDR5 7008 MHz memory rating and the base clock of 1290 MHz, and a boosted speed of 1292 MHz give you enough power for playing many indie games.
Factors to Consider When Buying Low Profile Graphics Cards
Compact graphics cards should come at the ideal height, length and width to ensure your current PC has enough room to house the unit. Suppose you have numerous peripherals installed on the computer. In that case, you need to find a device with a single slot design to ensure the other expansion cards will remain accessible after installation.
On the other hand, compact GPUs still require cooling when operating. Thus, you need to check if you have space in the PC build to ensure the fan and heatsink do not obstruct any slots. However, if you use mini ITX cases, it would be best to confirm the sizing specs of the GPU before purchasing.
b). Power Consumption
Low-profile graphics cards use less power when compared with full-sized models. Consequently, you may not need to buy a power supply unit and use the one you have to save money since these variations draw directly from the x16 PCIe slot. Plus, you can redirect the power to other components if you decide to go with compact GPUs.
The placement of the power-pin connecting ports is a key consideration for the kind of graphics cards to buy. Additionally, using low-profile GPUs can be disadvantageous when it comes to receiving sufficient power. The PCIe connection may not supply the necessary watts for powering the device to its full potential.
Consequently, it is vital to figure out how much power your system can supply before buying graphics cards. Ensure your power supply has connectors capable of ensuring that you do not get sub-par performance when overclocking, gaming or doing media-related computing tasks.
c). Multi-Monitor Setup
Buying low-profile graphics cards is an affordable way to improve your gaming performance or increase your effectiveness when dealing with video and photo editing tasks. However, your purchase should match your current compact PC specifications and the monitor you are using. Hence, if your display cannot meet 4K standards, it would be a waste to get a GPU capable of high-quality video output. Still, if you have plans to upgrade your setup eventually, a high-end graphics card will do.
Most low-profile GPUs have one or two HDMI ports, a VGA port, a display port or a DVI- D port. Setting up multiple monitors is useful when gaming or multitasking. However, you can get an adapter if you foresee compatibility issues with your current setup.
d). Processing Power
Clock speeds have a bearing on the performance of the best low-profile GPUs, especially when an overclocking feature is available. Nevertheless, going by the raw figures of these units may be confusing as higher does not necessarily mean better since there are other considerations for the speed of the graphics cards. In other words, PC builders should strive to get more information on the purchase to ensure it can meet their needs.
If you have two low-profile GPU options made using the same architecture and comparing the number of cores is your best bet to figure out which one offers better performance. Ideally, it is advisable to compare the base clock speed figures to decide which version is better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Low Profile Graphics Cards
1. What is a low-profile GPU?
A low-profile GPU is a card designed to have a small surface area, thanks to their reduced height, to fit compact PCs with few ports to spare. The appeal of these devices lies in their small footprint that enables you to keep adjacent slots free for other attachments. Additionally, the best low-profile graphics card will not be in the same price bracket but still delivers when playing many recent AAA games.
2. What is the most powerful low-profile graphics card?
The most powerful low-profile GPU is the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super. This device has a base clock speed of 1410 MHz combined with a modern 4 GB GDDR6 VRAM clocked at 12000 MHz. The product offers a decent balance between price and value in a small form factor.
3. Are low-profile graphics cards worse?
Low-profile graphics cards are better than full-height ones in that they can fit into a compact PC. On the downside, these GPU models are not as powerful or efficient at cooling as their counterparts. For instance, the low-profile ones will not allow you to enable ray tracing at the highest video output settings when playing.
Nevertheless, they can be a worthwhile investment as some are reader-supported and offer the best value for casual gamers. If you want top-notch performance with high video memory, it is best to go for a full-sized one.