If you need a low profile graphics card, we’ve got you covered. This list contains eight low profile and compact GPUs for any kind of potential usage. We have the cheapest low-profile card you can find, a couple of passively cooled cards, some cards that are great for HTPCs, and, of course, a number of gaming models.
Best Low Profile Graphics Cards – Our Picks
|Cheapest Low-Profile Graphics Card||MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710|
|Best Passively Cooled Low-Profile Graphics Card||Asus GeForce GT 1030 Passive|
|Best Low-Profile Graphics Card for HTPC||MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 4GT LP OC|
|Best Low-Profile Graphics Card for Multi-Monitor Setup||VisionTek Radeon 7750|
|Best Budget Low-Profile Graphics Card for Gaming||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super OC|
|Best Mid-Range Low-Profile Graphics Card for Gaming||Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super Phoenix Fan Edition|
|Most Affordable Low-Profile RTX Card||Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 Mini ITX|
|Best High-End Low-Profile Graphics Card for Gaming||ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini|
What is a Low Profile Graphics Card?
Low-profile graphics cards usually have shorter PCB (printed circuit board) as well as lower height (width) and thickness compared to standard cards. The PCIe card MD2 standard defines low-profile cards as cards with a max length of 167.64 mm and max height of 64.41 mm, including the edge connector.
Height defined in the MD2 standard usually represents width when it comes to official dimensions found on manufacturers’ websites. Thickness isn’t defined but we presume that low-profile cards should have a single-slot form factor. Again, official dimensions on manufacturers’ websites label MD2 standard thickness as height.
We’ve included low-profile cards that fit into the MD2 standard but we’ve also included gaming models. These aren’t true low profile cards since they have regular height (width). But they have shorter PCBs in order to fit SFF (small form factor) cases. They also usually have two-slot coolers.
We’ve tried to include only cards with length up to 200mm but our high-end gaming pick is a bit longer. Despite its length of 209.6mm, it should fit into virtually any Mini ITX case, even the ultra-compact ones. When it comes to height, our gaming picks cannot fit into HTPC cases, which, in most cases, can fit cards with width (height in the MD2 standard) up to about 70mm.
Now that we explained what exactly low-profile cards are, let’s check our eight best low-profile graphics cards.
Cheapest Low-Profile Graphics Card
If you need any low profile card to replace an integrated GPU and you only need video connectors for hooking up your monitor, then the MSI Gaming Geforce GT 710 is the card to get. It features one VGA, one HDMI, and one DVI video connector and comes with 1GB of video RAM. Yes, it’s laughable to see 1GB of memory in 2020 but hey, this card sells for a laughably low price.
Remember that this is the bare minimum you can find and that we don’t recommend using this card for anything other than just having something with video ports to hook your monitor to. This card won’t play 4K videos, it won’t play any games, and it definitely isn’t made for work. You can maybe use it as a basis for some low-power HTPC used for streaming services or something like that, but even that’s a stretch.
The good sides of this card include the price, as well as the passive cooler. This card emits zero noise. When it comes to dimensions, the card measures 146 x 69 x 19mm. It’s short enough to fit inside most HTPC cases and it will fit any Mini-ITX case without issues. Again, this is a cheap card good enough only as a basic video port provider and nothing else.
Best Passively Cooled Low-Profile Graphics Card
The GT 1030 can be a solid basis for a low-power HTPC. Its TDP is only 30W and it has enough power to run 4K videos. The downside is that Netflix asks for at least 3GB of video memory for its 4K UHD content, and this card only has 2GB of memory. This doesn’t have to be a problem if you own a smart TV with a Netflix app. In that case, play Netflix and other streaming videos on the TV and local videos from the PC.
The good thing about this card is that it has zero noise so if you do own a smart TV and want an HTPC that doesn’t make any noise, this one could be a solid choice. It also has enough power for some light gaming, perfect for classic console emulators and indie games. Hell, you can even play AAA titles. At 720p and with all settings turned to low, but they are playable.
The card comes with one HDMI and one DVI port and it measures at 173 x 69 x40mm, making it suitable for most HTPC cases. If you want a different version of the GT 1030 to remember to get a model with GDDR5 memory since there are GDDR4 variants out there, which are a very bad buy due to the legacy memory standard.
Best Low-Profile Graphics Card for HTPC
While the low profile GTX 1050 with 3GB of memory is recommended as the best HTPC card due to 3GB of memory required for UHD Netflix content and low price, we would rather pick the low profile version of the GTX 1650. New low profile GTX 1050 3GB cards are pretty expensive nowadays and are very hard to find. If you can find a used low profile GTX 1050 3GB for cheap, go for it. But when it comes to new low-profile cards, the GTX 1650 is an excellent choice.
Its price is a bit high so we cannot recommend it for those who can fit a regular card in their PC. If you are among those users, get an RX 570. That’s a great card that packs a lot of punch for gaming. If you don’t care about games, get an RX 560, another cheap card that can run esports and indie titles, and emulators.
But if you need a low profile card with short PCB and decreased height, the model from MSI is an excellent choice. It packs all features found in regular GTX 1650 cards, has TDP of only 75W, and is pretty good for casual gaming. The card’s dimensions are 170 x 69 x 42mm and it comes with one HDMI, one DisplayPort, and one DVI port.
Best Low-Profile Graphics Card for Multi-Monitor Setup
Starting with this card, we will show cards with regular width but shorter PCB. These aren’t technically low-profile cards since they are wider than 65mm. While they cannot fit into ultra-compact HTPC cases they can fit into any Mini-ITX case.
The first one is a card for those looking for lots of video ports. The VisionTek Radeon 7750 is great for a multimonitor setup since it comes with six mini DisplayPort connectors. You can’t use it for 4K video streaming since it only has 2GB of memory but casual gaming isn’t out of the question.
Remember that you need active mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapters in order to use this card without issues. That means six adapters if you want to use every port on the card. The card should fit into most Mini-ITX cases since its shorter than usual and is very thin, with one slot cooler. It’s also quite expensive but it does offer six video ports on a single card and it has a small form factor design.
The alternative would be this PNY Quadro P620. It features regular low-profile design (width lower than 70mm), is based on Nvidia Pascal architecture (GTX 1xxx generation) and it comes with four mini DisplayPort connectors. It’s great for users who need a card with up to four video ports.
It features 2GB of memory so it’s not a great choice for an HTCP but if you require a low-profile card for a 4-monitor setup this is the one to get. Finally, you shouldn’t need any additional mini DisplayPort adapters with this card because it arrives with four mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapters, which is a really nice addition.
Best Budget Low-Profile Graphics Card for Gaming
If your case can fit a card with a normal width (wider than 70mm) and if you want a card capable of running AAA games at 60 frames in 1080p resolution, get this GTX 1650 Super model. It features a short PCB of only 172mm with a width of 122mm and a height of 40mm. When it comes to gaming performance, it should be pretty similar to the GeForce GTX 1650 Super WindForce OC.
In other words, expect 60fps at 1080p with all settings cranked to the max in most AAA games. Some titles may run a bit slower. The card should also provide playable performance at 1440p resolution, which is great for the price. Single-slot design shouldn’t be an issue with the GTX 1650 Super since the card isn’t very hot, with TDP of only 100W.
The card comes with one HDMI, one DisplayPort, and one DVI port. When it comes to alternatives, there aren’t any. There are other 1650 Super models with short PCB and single slot bracket, but they all feature dual-slot coolers. If you need a single-slot card, your best bet is getting a low profile GTX 1650, like the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 Low-Profile found above.
Best Mid-Range Low-Profile Graphics Card for Gaming
The Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super Phoenix Fan Edition is an excellent card for gamers in need of a short PCB card that comes with lots of gaming power. This card is perfect for 1080p gaming, even 1080p high refresh rate gaming, if you are ready to lower some settings in demanding games. AAA games will play at 1080p and 60fps, with all options cranked to the max. Even more demanding titles, such as AC: Odyssey or Red Dead Redemption 2 should run at 60 frames per second with medium/high settings.
On the back, you have one HDMI, one DisplayPort, and one DVI port. The single fan may be an issue if your case doesn’t have great airflow, and while temperatures are higher than average for a GTX 1660 Super card, they aren’t worrying. Also, the fan can be a bit noisy when at max RPM. But that’s the price to pay for an extremely compact card (174 x 121 x39mm) that comes with excellent gaming performance.
There aren’t really alternatives here since you won’t find a card shorter than the Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super Phoenix Fan Edition. Even with its high temperatures, this is the best mid-range low profile card for gaming.
Most Affordable Low-Profile RTX Card
If you want to get a compact Nvidia RTX graphics card, there aren’t many choices out there. The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 Mini ITX is your best bet for the most affordable RTX low profile card on the market. The card’s dimensions are 170 x 121.3 x 36mm and it should fit into virtually any SFF case on the market. When it comes to performance, expect performance in line with regular RTX 2060 cards.
That means excellent 1080p performance with most AAA games running near or just above 100 frames per second with all settings cranked to the maximum. eSports titles will run comfortably over 144 frames per second, making this card a perfect choice for a 1080p high refresh rate gaming small form factor build. Unlike most compact and low profile graphics cards, this one comes with an array of three DisplayPort and one HDMI ports on the back, which is a pleasant surprise.
Now, about that single fan. It’s better than the fan on the Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super Phoenix Fan Edition card since it keeps the RTX 2060 at about 75 degrees Celsius under load. But the impressive performance (for a single fan) makes it quite loud. The noise can reach 45 decibels with the fan set to auto, which can, and will, annoy some users. This isn’t a silent card, but at least it works at pretty solid temperatures.
Best High-End Low-Profile Graphics Card for Gaming
If you want the best compact graphics card for gaming, the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini is the best choice. First of all, well done Zotac! You’ve managed to pack an RTX 2070 GPU into a PCB that’s only 209.6mm long! That’s a bit longer than 200mm but still, this card will fit into any SFF case on the market except those ultra-compact HTPCs that can only take proper low-profile graphics cards.
The incredible size comes with excellent performance. We didn’t find any professional reviews of this card, only its RTX 2070 cousin. But from user reviews, it’s clear this card performs in line with the reference RTX 2070 Super card from Nvidia. That means excellent 1440p performance allowing 1440p high refresh rate gaming. Expect near 100 frames per second in most AAA titles and well above 144 frames in esports titles. In other words, this is the best compact card for gaming on the market at the moment. You won’t find any RTX 2080 Super in such a small package.
The small package brings high temperatures under load. Without solid airflow, the card can go above 80 degrees Celsius so make sure you have lots of case fans and a well-ventilated case. This card can work in ultra-compact cases such as the Node 202 or Loque Ghost S1, but make sure the airflow is high enough. With a well-ventilated case, the card should work at around 70-75 degrees Celsius. Still a bit high but manageable.