The Best Low Profile Graphics Card 2021 – Our Top Picks Reviewed
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We took on the challenge to find the best low profile graphics card that the market has to offer, considering a range of factors like price and performance.
The selection process was simple; find the best gaming graphics cards with a low profile, then compare and review them to find out which options were the best in terms of performance and value for money.
We found that the average low profile graphics card had between 2GB and 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, around 1300 clock speed, and memory bus width that ranged between 64 bits to 128 bits.
As well as looking into specs, we also factored in the price to judge which options we considered to be the best.
We’ll take a look at our best performance pick and our number one budget pick before we explore all other graphics cards from our selection.
I’ve owned 7 gaming PCs in the last 15 years, most of which I built myself, and I’ve personally used over 20 graphics cards, both low profile and standard-sized, within builds that I’ve put together for myself and my friends.
Besides my in-depth knowledge when it comes to graphics cards and building PCs, I spent a large amount of time identifying all of the top graphics cards for consideration within this review.
I then did an in-depth comparison and narrowed down my final selections for the best low profile GPUs that you’ll find below.
We made our selections based on 6 highly-important points:
First and foremost, for a low profile GPU to be considered for this list, it had to be a maximum length of 167.65mm, or 6.6″, and a maximum height of 64.41mm, or 2.54″.
Anything up to those measurements is classed as “low profile” & anything over unfortunately couldn’t be included as it would fall within the category of standard-sized GPUs.
The clock speed of your graphics card is super important. It indicates how quickly the cores of your GPU are. The main function of your graphics card’s cores is to render graphics. The higher your GPU’s clock speed is, the faster the processing and the better performance you are going to get.
Because of this, we made our selection and only picked graphics cards that have an average-to-high clock speed.
VRAM, also known as Video Random Access Memory, plays a vital role in delivering performance when it comes to gaming. VRAM helps with shortening the load time and improving image quality. Generally speaking, the more VRAM your low profile graphics card has, the better experience you will have.
Thus, we have gone for GPUs that offer at least a good level of performance.
Generally speaking, 4GB of VRAM is plenty for 1080p gaming. However, if you are QHD or UHD resolution, you should go for higher.
As a general rule of thumb, you will need at least 2GB for 720p and 4GB for 1080p.
Connectivity ports are vital to displaying the image that your GPU is generating for your monitor. So, we have ensured that our picks offer a wide range of connectivity to achieve high-quality graphics of up to 4K.
Please note that the connectivity ports vary greatly from GPU to GPU.
Though the average PC doesn’t consume an excessive amount of energy, over time it will definitely add up — especially if you play on it for hours every day.
So, we have gone for low profile graphics cards that only provide a decent level of performance but also offer their performance at a relatively low demand for power to save you extra on those energy bills.
Noise is inevitable.
If you have fans on your GPU, there will be noise. However, the noise produced varies greatly from GPU to GPU.
Presuming that people prefer their machine to operate at as low noise levels as possible, we have only opted in for GPUs that are relatively quiet, even when they are pushed to their limits.
The cooling system of your GPU is integral to getting a consistent and enjoyable gaming experience. A poor cooling system can greatly impact your build’s immediate performance or even damage the GPU prematurely.
Because of this, products that made our selection in this guide have passed the cooling system check.
We’ve picked the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 as the best performing true low profile graphics card. If money is no object, we would highly recommend the GTX 1650 for any small-sized or compact build.
The price at the time of writing was $279.66.
About the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1650
Visually, the GTX 1650 looks very clean in an almost matt black cover case that features a twin fan setup for additional cooling. The fans are relatively quiet but bear in mind that they can get just as loud as any other fan-driven GPU when put under pressure.
As for connectivity, the GTX 1650 has 3 ports in total; 1x DisplayPort, 1x DVI, and 1x HDMI.
Surprisingly, this low profile graphics card also supports DirectX 12, which basically makes this GPU VR ready, provided you are planning on using this GPU for virtual reality.
If you care more about standard gaming, let’s jump right into the specifications of this GPU. The GTX 1650 features 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 1695 MHz clock speed, and a 128-bit memory bus width. If you are standing there confused with what these specs actually mean, let me translate them into in-game performance and FPS that you will be getting.
What Performance to Expect
In terms of performance, what you can expect from the GTX 1650 is a very decent gaming experience. We tested this GPU in 4 different games; Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Battlefield 5, Far Cry 5, and Fortnite @ 1080p. Here are the results:
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey managed to pull on average 58 FPS, Battlefield 5 comfortably ran at 74 FPS, Far Cry 5 averaged at 70 FPS, and Fortnite stabilized well at 120 FPS on average.
Bear in mind that the performance that you get depends on the rest of your build. So, as a safety measure, you can rely on getting +/- 10 FPS at any given moment.
Our best value pick goes to the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 Ti, This GPU is the perfect choice for an intermediate gamer who wants to play AAA titles at a decent level without breaking the bank.
The price at the time of writing was $169.99.
About the GTX 1050 Ti
On first look, the GTX 1050 Ti follows a very sleek single fan design. Though it isn’t RGB-enabled, in our personal opinion, this graphics card is one of the most aesthetically pleasing amongst our other top picks.
Despite having a fan, the 1050 Ti isn’t actually that loud. When idle, you can barely hear the fan, and while gaming, there will of course be some noise as with any GPU that has fans. If fan noise worries you, with this one, you have nothing to be concerned about.
When it comes to connectivity, the GTX 1050 Ti has a total of 3 ports; 1x Display Port, 1x HDMI and 1x DVI port. In case you have a multi-monitor setup, this GPU can comfortably support up to 4 monitors.
As for specifications, this graphics card features 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 1442 MHz clock speed, and a 128-bit memory bus width. To put these specs into perspective, continue reading to find out how the GTX 1050 Ti performs.
What Performance to Expect
After running some tests, we can confidently say that the GTX 1050 Ti is a very decent graphics card for its price point. To give you a bit of a perspective, we tested this GPU playing 3 games; Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, and Rainbow Six Siege,
The results; Fortnite @ 100 FPS, Warzone @ 65 FPS, and Rainbow Six Siege @ 75 FPS. These FPS rates are an average over a period of time. There are times when this GPU managed to pull even higher frame rates. Also, note that the frame rate that you will get depends on the rest of your build – though the rest of your build won’t have such a dramatic effect on the performance you get.
Our runner pick goes to Yeston Radeon RX 550. The reason being is that this GPU is the perfect middle when it comes to affordability and performance.
The price at the time of writing was $135.99.
About the Yeston Radeon RX 550
From a design perspective, this RX 550 is a single fan GPU and is actually pink/purple in color (not the fan, the GPU itself), which is very surprising considering most GPUs follow a simple white or black design. While the bright color of the GPU might push people away, if your case is fairly standard with no transparent panels, you won’t see it anyway.
If the color is a deal-breaker, let me tell you a little bit about the connectivity ports and specifications to hopefully change your mind.
When it comes to connectivity, this GPU features a VGA, DVI, and an HDMI port, which are plenty for achieving resolution up to 4K @ 60 Hz,
This low profile graphics card features 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 6000 MHz, and a 128-bit memory bus width. In case these specs mean nothing to you, let me tell you a little bit more about the GPU in terms of actual in-game performance.
What Performance to Expect
We tested the RX 550 while playing 3 different games, Battlefield 5, PUBG, and GTA V. While Battlefield 5 successfully managed to average 50 FPS, GTA V and PUBG only managed to pull an average of 45 in a range of different scenarios.
Our verdict concludes that the RX 550 is perfect for a casual gamer that wants to be able to enjoy a range of different titles at a decent level of performance.
If you are looking for an affordable, reliable, and decent graphics card within the under $100 price bracket, the Asus GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Card is a great start.
The price at the time of writing was $79.99.
About the Asus GeForce GT 1030
Straight out of the box, the GT 1030 follows a very simplistic and straightforward design. The first thing you will notice is that the GT 1030 is actually a fanless GPU, making it the perfect choice for someone who wants to keep the noise levels to a minimum.
Now, you may be thinking, if there is no fan, how is the GPU cooling itself? Surprisingly, the GT 1030 produces very little heat and can passively cool itself down.
As for connectivity, the GT 1030 has a total of 3 ports, 1x Native D-Sub, 1x Native DVI-D, and a Native HDMI 2.0 through which you can play at a maximum resolution of 1920×1200.
In terms of specifications, the GT 1030 features 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 1228 MHz clock speed, and a 64-bit memory bus width. If you are wondering how these specs perform in a real-life environment, continue reading.
What Performance to Expect
With the Asus GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Card, you can expect quite a decent performance. We tested this GPU on 3 mainstream titles; Battlefield 1, Far Cry 5, and Fortnite.
Battlefield 1 @ 1080p scored an average of 60 FPS, Far Cry 5 @ 720p managed to average 50 FPS, while Fortnite at 1080p comfortably locked in above 60 FPS.
Note: These are just benchmark stats without taking into consideration the rest of your build. This means that you may get a little more or a little less in terms of performance, though the difference is nothing significant.
The GIGABYTE GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Card is very similar to the Asus GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Card. There is also a difference of around $30 between the GIGABYTE and the ASUS version. But, is there actually any difference in terms of design or performance that can justify the difference in price?
Let’s find out.
The price at the time of writing was $100.99.
There are two key differences between the GIGABYTE and the ASUS variants of the GT 1030. They are the price and the design.
The GIGABYTE variant of the GT 1030 costs $30 more than then ASUS. In terms of design, the GIGABYTE GT 1030’s circuit board is completely covered with a white-color grid, unlike the ASUS where the circuit board is partly visible as the grid only extends partially.
What Performance to Expect
With the GIGABYTE GT 1030, you can expect the exact same performance as the ASUS variant, an average of around 60 FPS for most games at low to medium settings at 1080p.
The RADEON RX 460 is another very serious contender on this list. First released in August of 2016, this GPU quickly swept the market and became a popular entry-level option for many casual gamers.
About the RADEON RX 460
Visually, the RX 460 follows a very compact, almost square-like design. Right in the middle of the GPU, you will find a single fan cooling system, which is responsible for maintaining a healthy temperature for your GPU while gaming.
When it comes to connectivity, the RX 460 has a total of 2 ports; 1x DisplayPort 1.4 and 1x HDMI port that supports 4K at 60 Hz.
When it comes to the specifications of the RX 460, the GPU features 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 1200 MHz clock speed, and 128-bit memory bus width. If that doesn’t really mean anything to you, check out our in-game tests and results.
What Performance to Expect
We tested the RX 460 on 4 different games, and despite the low price bracket for this GPU, the results were very decent. The games we tested were CS: GO, DOTA 2, Rocket League, Civilization VI.
The results; CS: GO averaged at 141 FPS. DOTA 2 managed to pull around 83 FPS. Rocket League peaked at 70 FPS, while Civilization VI comfortably capped at 50 FPS.
Initially released in 2017, the 560 is a direct upgrade of the RTX 460. If you have a little bit more money to spend, and would like a better performing GPU, we would highly recommend you to go for the 560 as compared to the 460.
About the RADEON RX 560 Graphics Card
The dual-fan GPU follows a fairly slick and compact design. Despite the lack of RGB lights, the RX 560 is visually pleasing and would be a great visual addition to any case with transparent side panels.
As for connectivity, the RX 560 features a DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0, and a DL-DVI-D port. Using the HDMI 2.0, if you want and have a 4K monitor, you can run 4K graphics @ 60Hz.
When specifications are concerned, the RX 560 features 4GB GDDR5 VRAM, 1196 MHz clock speed, and 128-bit memory bus width. In case you aren’t quite sure what those mean, to save you the research, continue reading as below, we will take a look at how this GPU directly performs under a range of circumstances in different games.
What Performance to Expect
If there is one thing that gamers know, that is FPS. So, we will tell you exactly how this GPU performs based on FPS within CS: GO, Rust, and GTA V.
The RX 560 managed to hold at around 170 FPS for CS: GO, 50 FPS for Rust, and an average of 66 for GTA V.
Lastly, we have the single-fan Radeon RX 570 ITX by SAPPHIRE. A truly impressive GPU, considering its relatively compact low profile size.
About the SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 570
Design-wise, the Radeon RX 570 very much looks like a big hard drive. In our opinion, it looks very aesthetically appealing as compared to its direct low profile competitors. The front panel is very modern and sleek, and in the middle, you will find the cooling fan, which also boasts a premium look.
When noise is concerned, this GPU is fairly standard. If you overuse it and push it to its limit, the fan will spin faster, which will in turn cause more noise pollution. Note that when your system is idle, you will barely hear the fan of the RX 570.
As for connectivity, with the RX 570 ITX, you will get 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI, and 1x DisplayPort 1.4. With the DVI-D, you can achieve a maximum resolution of 2560×1600 @ 60 Hz, with the HDMI, you can reach 4096×2160 @ 60 Hz, and finally, with the DisplayPort 1.4, you can go as high up as 5120×2880 @ 60 Hz.
When it comes to the specs, in the RX 570, you will find 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 1244 MHz clock speed, and a 256-bit memory bus width. To put this into perspective, read below to find the results that we obtained from playing some of the most popular games on the market.
What Performance to Expect
The RX 570 was tested playing 3 vastly different games; Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Just Cause 4, and Rust. The results, in order and on average, 56 FPS, 53 FPS, and 80 FPS.
What is a Low Profile Graphics Card?
A low profile graphics card, just like a standard gaming graphics card, is responsible for delivering a feed of output images to your display device. It is one of the key parts of any gaming PC build that will have a direct impact on the level of performance that you will get.
The only difference is that low profile graphics cards — compared to regular GPUs — are much smaller in size. Typically, they also come with a single slot, making them much more suitable for smaller, less comprehensive builds.
To be exact, for a GPU to be considered low profile, it must be a maximum length of 167.64mm (6.6 inches) and a maximum height of 64.41mm (2.536 inches).
Who These Are For
It is no secret that low profile GPUs are significantly more affordable compared to their standard counterparts. As with the cheaper price, their capabilities in terms of performance are also on the lower end.
Don’t get discouraged though as there are some very capable low-profile GPUs on this list, some even better than their standard-sized competitors.
A low profile graphics card is the perfect choice for someone who is after an affordable-yet-capable GPU. For example, if you have minimal space within your PC case, opting to go ‘low profile’ can be a sensible decision.
In terms of gaming, low profile GPUs are a suitable and affordable entry-level option for casual gamers. However, they’re generally not suitable for gamers who are looking to get a very high level of performance or are looking to stream — though there are exceptions.
How to Choose the Best Low Profile Graphics Card
Your graphics card is one of the parts of your PC build that will have a direct impact on the gaming performance that you get. Therefore, it is important for you to know what you should be looking for.
If you are struggling with making the right decision after exploring our selection above, stop thinking, and read over the 4 biggest factors that you need to consider before spending your money. Remember that these depend on your gaming needs and there is no “best” per se.
Price is often the deciding factor for whether or not you decide to go for a particular product. Thus, finding the best (whatever “best” means to you) GPU within your price range is important. If you have money to spend, it is clear that our best performance pick should be the GPU you go for. But, if you have a strict budget, feel free to explore the different low profile GPUs to help you conclude on the right one for you.
Even though some low profile GPUs are indeed smaller, there are plenty of those that are slightly bigger than others, which can be a problem, especially if you are trying to build the smallest gaming PC or are after a particular size.
Remember that “low profile” is just a name for smaller GPUs and this term does not stand behind an exact GPU size.
As a general rule of thumb, low profile GPUs are half the height of the standard GPU. Both often have the same chip size and bracket though they vary quite a lot, so make sure that the low-profile GPU you are buying is also suitable for your case and that there is enough space within the case.
Can the low profile graphics card that you have your eyes on run the titles that you play in the quality and FPS that you desire? Is the low profile graphics card that you like compatible with your current build? Could it possibly bottleneck the overall performance or be an overkill?
These are questions that you need to ask yourself before you make the purchase. There are plenty of compatibility and performance analyzing websites on the internet that you can go on, which will give you an approximation of what you can expect from the low profile GPU that you are looking at.
Though the low profile graphics cards are smaller and have fewer fans, that doesn’t always guarantee a quiet operation. This especially applies if you max out the performance of your GPU, causing the fans to spin even faster to try and prevent your GPU from overheating as a result of you putting tremendous pressure on the GPU.
All of the low profile GPUs in this guide are relatively quiet, even when they are tested to the limit. Yes, some are quieter than others and you will almost never come across a GPU with fans that make 0 noise at all.
If noise is a problem, you should take a look at fanless GPUs.
Higher price often means better performance when it comes to low profile GPUs.
Even the lowest tier GPUs within this selection can comfortably run pretty much any mainstream title at a minimum of 45-50 FPS, which is perfect for casual gamers.
Low profile GPUs are suitable for casual gamers, and not so much for serious gamers that want the best possible performance. This is because you simply cannot fit the technology of a 3080Ti in a 2/3x smaller low profile GPU.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get something decent. You don’t even need to spend a hundred dollars to get a good low profile GPU.