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6 Best Low-Profile Graphics Cards in 2023: Ranked and Reviewed – History-Computer

Low profile graphics cards are designed for smaller computer cases and pre-built office PCs that lack the space and power for a full-sized GPU. While not as powerful as their larger counterparts, low profile cards still offer solid performance for 1080p gaming and powering multiple displays.

In this guide, we look at the top low profile graphics cards available in 2023 based on intended usage:

Best Low Profile GPUs of 2023

Best Overall: MSI GeForce RTX 4070 Ventus 2X

The MSI GeForce RTX 4070 Ventus 2X is the most powerful low profile GPU currently available. Based on Nvidia‘s latest Ada Lovelace architecture, it delivers performance on par with a full-sized RTX 4070 in a tiny form factor.

Key features:

  • 12GB GDDR6X video memory
  • 1920MHz boost clock speed
  • PCIe 4.0 x16 interface
  • 7680 x 4320 max resolution
  • Real-time ray tracing and DLSS 3

Despite the small size, the RTX 4070 still needs a dedicated 8-pin power connector and high wattage PSU. The dual-fan cooling keeps temps in check. It‘s overkill for general use but excellent for maxed out 1080p or 1440p gaming.

Best Nvidia Runner-Up: MSI GeForce RTX 3060 AERO ITX OC

The MSI RTX 3060 AERO ITX packs the power of a desktop RTX 3060 into a low profile form factor. With 12GB VRAM and 1792MHz boost clocks, it handles AAA games at max settings 1080p or medium 1440p.

Key features:

  • 1792MHz boost clock
  • PCIe 3.0 x16 interface
  • 7680 x 4320 max resolution
  • ray tracing and DLSS support

It still requires a dedicated 8-pin connector, but runs much cooler and quieter than the RTX 4070 Ventus. Great choice for small form factor gaming rigs.

Best Budget Nvidia: Nvidia RTX A2000

Don‘t let the enterprise branding fool you – the Nvidia RTX A2000 is a very capable budget gaming card. It delivers performance on par with the desktop GTX 1660 Super in a tiny, bus-powered design.

Key features:

  • 1605 MHz boost clock
  • PCIe 3.0 x16 interface
  • 7680 x 4320 max resolution
  • ray tracing support

The RTX A2000 pulls power directly from the slot with no external power required. It can run modern games at 1080p medium settings. Perfect for upgrading pre-built office PCs.

Best AMD: XFX Speedster Radeon RX 6400

On the AMD side, the XFX RX 6400 is the best low profile option available. Performance lands between a GTX 1650 and GTX 1660, with surprisingly good 1080p capabilities for the size.

Key features:

  • 4GB GDDR6 memory
  • 2321MHz game clock
  • PCIe 4.0 x4 interface
  • 7680 x 4320 max resolution

It works with both low profile and full-sized brackets for flexibility. The RX 6400 is great for eSports and AAA gaming at 900p or 1080p low/medium quality.

Best for Workstations: AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200

The Radeon Pro WX 3200 delivers solid performance for accelerated apps in a low profile design. With 4GB VRAM and 1200MHz clock speeds, it powers up to four 4K displays for desktop or workstation use.

Key features:

  • 4GB GDDR5 memory
  • 1200MHz core clock
  • PCIe 3.0 x16 interface
  • 7680 x 4320 max resolution

It pulls under 30W, making it ideal for pre-built systems. The WX 3200 is perfect for power users needing multi-monitor productivity. Light gaming possible at 1080p.

Best Budget: Nvidia GT 1030 GDDR5 Low Profile

The Nvidia GT 1030 GDDR5 is an ultra affordable option for adding video outputs and light gaming to low power systems. It‘s dated but still decent for eSports and older titles at 1080p.

Key features:

  • 2GB GDDR5 memory
  • 1506MHz core clock
  • PCIe 3.0 x16 interface
  • 4096 x 2304 max resolution

No power connector required – draws under 30W from the PCIe slot. Dual display outputs available on low profile bracket version. Overall best value for office and HTPC builds.

What to Consider When Buying a Low Profile GPU

Here are some key factors to keep in mind when choosing a low profile graphics card for your specific needs:

Power Requirements – Lower profile cards like the RTX 4070 and 3060 still require dedicated power connectors. Make sure your power supply can provide enough wattage and the correct PCIe connectors. Models like the RTX A2000 and GT 1030 draw very little power from the PCIe slot directly.

Case Compatibility – Measure internal clearance to ensure the card will physically fit in your case. Some low profile models come with a dual bracket to work in bigger cases too.

Display Outputs – If you need to drive multiple or higher resolution displays, choose a model with at least three outputs like DisplayPort and HDMI. Lower end options may only have one or two.

Performance Target – Consider the performance you need – 1080p med/high? 1440p? 4K? AAA gaming or esports? Match the card to your target resolution and game requirements.

Budget – Prices range from $100 on the low end to $550+ for the top RTX models. Set a budget and find the best performance available.

Using a Low Profile Graphics Card

Installing a low profile graphics card is the same process as a full sized card. Simply insert it into the PCIe x16 slot and connect any required power cables. Screw the bracket to the rear on the case and connect monitors to the display outputs.

You‘ll need to download the latest drivers from AMD or Nvidia depending on the model. Then you can configure any graphics settings as you would normally through the Radeon or GeForce control panel.

These cards are designed to fit and work in tight spaces. But you may want to pay special attention to case cooling – the smaller GPU fans and heatsinks can get hot in poorly ventilated cases under heavy loads.

With the right low profile card for your needs installed, you can enjoy desktop-class gaming performance, accelerated workflows, and crisp multi-display setups even in the most compact PCs.