Low Profile Graphics Cards are small form factor graphics cards that are not essentially meant for gaming, but there are some people who buy them for their special needs or requirements. I have also used couple of low profile graphics cards in the past, and they have served my purpose pretty well. Low profile graphic cards are comparatively smaller in size than regular sized graphics cards, and are used mostly in slim cases or low profile computer cases.
Low profile graphics cards may also be categorized into two types, which are low profile graphics cards and low profile ready graphics cards. The difference between the two is the size of the brackets used on the rear side of the cards. The first one comes with pre-installed low profile bracket or half height bracket, and the second one comes with standard size bracket (with low profile bracket included in the box or package). You can interchange the brackets on low profile cards and make them fit in any PC case, whether it is a regular ATX case or a slim low profile case. If your low profile video card did not come with low profile bracket then you can easily find low profile brackets or half height brackets for your low profile card online. Low profile graphics card is also called half height graphics card, slim graphics card or low profile GPU in general. These Low profile video cards have a special place in the computer industry, and they do offer some unique advantages over regular sized graphics cards which are are being mentioned below.
Important Note: The length of low profile graphics cards may vary depending on the manufacturer, but the width of low profile graphics card is always around 69mm to 70mm. Budget low profile graphics cards are generally shorter in length, but a mid-range or a powerful low graphics card can be slightly longer.
Advantages of Low Profile Graphics Cards
Here are the various advantages of using low profile graphics cards.
Small Form Factor – Low profile cards are slimmer than the regular sized graphics cards. This gives them additoinal advantage to fit in slimmer or low profile cases. You can also buy them for use in regular ATX cases to have more room inside your cabinet for better airflow. Most of the low profile graphics cards are single slot but more powerful low profile cards come with dual slot design. These LP cards can fir easily fit in almost all mini-ITX cases. You can also check out this list of best small form factor graphics cards for small form factor cases (not low profile / slim cases).
Less Power Consuming – Because of their small size and lesser components, low profile graphics cards consume less power than the regular sized graphics cards. Almost all of the low profile graphics cards do not need external power connector from the PSU, and they work only on the power supplied by the PCI Express x16 slot. Also, you not need a high Wattage power supply for them, as a budget PSU of 400W is enough for them, given than it is an average PC build.
Less Noisy – These low profile graphics cards are generally less noisy, because most of them come with a single fan, but some of the powerful ones do come with dual fans. However, less powerful low profile graphics cards, especially the entry-level ones come with passive cooling with no fan installed, and they only use a heatsink for cooling. Fanless low profile cards are known as passively cooled low profile graphics cards, and they are completely silent in operation (0dB noise). You may want to check out this list of best passively cooled graphics cards.
Relatively Cheaper – Low profile cards are relatively cheaper than their regular sized counterparts. You can get a good low profile card at under 100 dollars, but a more powerful one will cost you a tad above 100 dollars. However, this may not always be true as sometimes a low profile graphics card may cost you more than its standard variant. You can also check out this list of best graphics cards under 50 dollars.
Applications of Low Profile Graphics Cards
Because of the above mentioned benefits, low profile graphics cards are mostly used in slim SFF cases and for building a HTPC. They are also used in budget PCs for light gaming, and for running multiple monitors for work.
- Best Low Profile Single Slot Graphics Cards for SFF PC
- Best Graphics Cards under 100 dollars for Gaming
- Best Graphics Cards for Video Editing / Rendering
- Build Budget 4K Video Editing PC for Professionals
Best Low Profile Graphics Cards from Nvidia
Here are the best low profile graphics cards for gaming, video editing, photo editing and normal work from Nvidia.
GeForce GT 710 is one of the best and cheapest low profile graphic cards that you can find in the market. First of all this is not a graphics card meant for gaming. This card is the best cheapest solution available when you want to upgrade the graphics of your older computer from integrated or onboard graphics.
GeForce GT 710 low profile graphics card comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and is passively cooled (fanless cooling). This card is good for watching HD movies and Full HD video playback, video editing, photo editing, multiple monitor support and playing web based games or smaller older games. Due to fanless cooling this card is completely silent and it occupies only a single slot in your case.
Power consumption of this low profile card is also very less and is does not need any external power connector from the PSU. GeForce GT 710 low profile graphics card supports DirectX 12, OpenGL and Windows 10 operating system. You may overclock it to get more performance out of it but be gentle as this card does not have fan and you do not want to fry it. It a low power card and comes with VGA, DVI and HDMI connectors. You may get this entry level Low Profile graphics card at under 50 dollars. Exact model number of this card is (ZT-71302-20L).
|Zotac GeForce GT 710 2GB DDR3 Low Profile Specifications|
|GPU Clock||954 MHz|
|Memory Clock||1600 MHz|
|Memory Size||2GB DDR3|
|Bus Interface||PCI Express 2.0|
|Output Ports||VGA, DVI|
Other Good GeForce GT 710 Low Profile Options:
- MSI GeForce GT 710 2GD3 LP (2GB DDR3)
- Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 2GB GDDR5 (GV-N710D5-2GL)
- ASUS GeForce GT 710 2GB GDDR5 (Passive)
- Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 2GB GDDR5 Passive (GV-N710D5SL-2GL)
GeForce GT 730 is a powerful entry level graphics card. It is almost twice as powerful as GT 710. GT 730 comes with 384 CUDA Cores as opposed to 192 CUDA Cores in GT 710. Here we have EVGA GeForce GT 730 2GB GDDR5 low profile graphics card that comes with single fan and heatsink. The card is advertised as single slot but in reality it occupies two slots because of the bigger height of its heatsink and fan combo. If you want it with single slot design then you can get the 128-bit DDR3 version of GT 730.
The card comes with 2GB 64-bit GDDR5 memory that is more than enough for video editing, photo editing and normal gaming on medium settings. Unlike GT 710 this card can run older and mid level games like Skyrim, Call of Duty, Far cry, CSGO on medium-high settings at 720p and 1080p. The card temperature remains well under 60 degrees even at full load. It does not need external PCIe connectors and comes with VGA, DVI and HDMI display ports.
The card supports DirectX 12, OpenGL and latest version of Windows i.e. Windows 10. This is really a great budget low profile graphics card and it is available for or under 100 dollars price mark. If this is not available then you can get Gigabyte GeForce GT 730 2GB GDDR5 that has almost the same specifications and performance.
|EVGA GeForce GT 730 2GB GDDR5 LP Specifications|
|GPU Clock||902 MHz|
|Memory Clock||5010 MHz|
|Memory Size||2GB GDDR5|
|Bus Interface||PCI Express 2.0|
|Output Ports||DVI, VGA, HDMI|
GeForce GT 740 is another powerful budget graphics card. Both GT 730 and GT 740 have 385 CUDA Cores but then also GT 740 is faster than GT 730 because of the newer GPU architecture and greater memory interface of 128-bit.
Here we have Low Profile EVGA GeForce GT 740 that comes with 2GB GDDR5 memory. This card is fairly powerful and can even run latest games like GTA 5, Far cry 4 on medium settings and older games like Diablo 3, Dota 2 at high settings on 720p / 1080p. This card comes with single slot design with one fan for cooling. This low power graphics card draws power only from the PCI-Express x16 slot, and for connectivity, it has got VGA, DVI and HDMI ports.
|EVGA GeForce GT 740 2GB GDDR5 Low Profile Specifications|
|GPU Clock||993 MHz|
|Memory Clock||5000 MHz|
|Memory Size||2GB GDDR5|
|Bus Interface||PCI Express 3.0|
|Output Ports||DVI, HDMI, VGA|