Which Low Profile Graphics Card Should You Pick?

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This article talks about whenever you should pick a low profile graphics card in your situation. Are you looking best performance low profile graphics card or just straight budget card for your video output? In this article, we got you covered.

What Is a Low Profile Graphics Card?

Strictly speaking, low profile graphics cards are supposed to be one slot small form factor cards without any need of extra power connectors. These cards are small, quiet, and can fit almost any case. Keep in mind that these cards are not for gaming or work that requires strong GPU performance.

Many of you don’t need a low profile card to fit it in on your case. You only need a shorter graphics card; in that case, getting better value improves. Because you can get even high-end graphics cards, which are much better value vise by that I mean, you get more FPS per dollar spent.

One Slot PCIe Low Profile Graphics Cards

One slot PCIe cards have minimal competition and product line. While Nvidia released only one new low profile one slot PCIe card which is GT 1030, AMD has released none. However, in the meantime, two slots PCIe low profile market is much more dynamic.

Nvidia GT 1030 is most functional for its price

So put best and latest, one slot PCIe small form factor graphics card on the market is GT 1030. This graphics card can output 4k with 60Hz, and you can even do light gaming on this card, and that’s is why it’s the most functional for its price. What is surprising to me is that Nvidia entirely dominates low profile one slot PCIe graphic card market. They only had to make one new card to win this category. Competitor AMD, on the other hand, hasn’t refreshed their cards in this category for a while.

The cheapest card that supports 1080p or full HD is GeForce 210 or GeForce 710. You can get it for around $40 on Newegg.com, and it’s really for only video output and nothing else.

Lesser the performance lesser the value

So Nvidia GT 1030 is the only card in this bracket that can run 4k 60Hz. Other still somewhat relevant graphics cards in one PCIe slot cannot run this resolution, like gt 710 and gt 730. They are suitable only because they are still selling. I would instead run integrated graphics card then any above because of diminishing effect you get by buying this. This effect gets bigger when buying cheaper graphics cards, the smaller you get, the less performance you get while the price doesn’t align accordingly. Don’t forget we are talking about how many frames per second we get in games when assessing value per dollar. For many buyers, this may not mean anything to them since they don’t buy those cards for performance.

If you only need a shorter graphics card, you don’t want a low profile graphics card. In that case, getting better value improves. Since you can get at least mid-tier graph cards which are much better value vise by that I mean you get more FPS per dollar spent.

Two Slot PCIe Graphics Cards

In two slot PCIe category things shift towards AMD. Not only that AMD is competing but value vise this bracket makes a bit more sense to anyone buying cards. It offers more value, which means you get more performance per dollar spends, and you can get actual entry level gaming cards by today standards.

We also have more viable options in this category. For AMD, there is RX 550 and RX 560. For Nvidia, there is GT 1030, GT 1050, and GT 1050ti. The funny thing about these low profile cards is that they are expensive for what they give. The reason is probably they are not selling as much as other graphics cards, and they are close to each other in terms of value. It is almost as someone did deliberately calculated Frames per Dolar and align the prices to those values.

Best Performance Low Profile Graphics Card

Nvidia GT 1050 Ti is clear performance winner, but it’s a lousy value comparing to non-low-profile graphics cards. For example, Low profile GTX 1050 ti, which is $189,99 right now on Newegg and a faster Rx 570, which is $ 129,99. If we weren’t talking about low profile graphics cards, Rx 570 wins in terms of best value by far. That is the reason I don’t recommend low profile graphics card if you don’t need one.

Talking about value winner in this category is hard. A small shift in prices can change the whole game. Almost all “newish” low profile cards are close in terms of value; however, if you can get RX 550 under $100 that would be a good value but for only for low profile category.

What If You Are Building or Getting a New Computer?

If you are building/getting a new computer or if you already own AM4 motherboard I strongly recommend getting AMD Ryzen 2200g or 2400g CPU which has excellent graphics capabilities. With that in a socket, you don’t even need a graphics card. This little chip is on pair with a performance of a gt 1030 if not better and also supports 4k 60Hz.

Conclusion

I don’t advise buying low profile Graphics cards because it’s merely a terrible value. The reason behind this is probably because the market for this category is small and not that competitive. In comparison, any standard form factor graphics card can get you much better value. So if you are buying a low profile graphics card for any other reason than getting your video signal to your monitor, you are getting lousy value period.

Although these cards are not cost effective, they have their place on the market simply because they can fit into almost anything can be super quiet, and they have low power consumption without any extra power connector.

Summary

For outdated products like GT 210/710 or other older cards, they always bring lousy value or bad frames per second on dollar spend. For the more modern graphics cards, the best value is so debatable in this category even the smallest discount can shift the scale in one or the other way.

  • Relative Good value low profile with 4k/60Hz support: AMD RX 550 (better gaming capabilities than GT 1030 if you can get it for a decent price)
  • Cheapest one slot PCIe for FUL HD/1080p: GeForce 210 or GeForce 710
  • Cheapest one slot PCIe for 4k/60Hz: Nvidia GT 1030 (some gaming capabilities)
  • Best performance Nvidia: GTX 1050ti (actual entry-level gaming)
  • Instead of buying a new computer pick AMD Ryzen 2200/2400g, in this case, you don’t even need a graphics card
  • If you only need a shorter card, don’t go for a low profile, diminishing effect are bad, and you will get poor value
  • Prices shift a lot and -$20 off can mean a lot in this bracket.
  • In comparison non-low profile graphics card like RX 570 destroys those cards value wise
  • Overall winner Nvidia GT 1030 (it is most functional for its price)

Image by Recklessstudios from Pixabay

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