Is a low profile graphics card a worthy consumer-level investment?


Why would anyone need a low profile graphics card? What do you think it can do? While there are so many feasible reasons to purchase one, the main reason is, it can fit into any case, literally! It is a versatile item to add to your desktop while saving a lot of space. The name itself denotes that it is not the premium, high-end graphics card that we are talking about. Nonetheless, it is an excellent hardware offering that has fairly high technological developments. 

It is not only the high-end first-tier graphics cards that get the spotlight anymore. People have a wider array of options now with low profile graphics cards. Consumers can opt for a half-sized low profile graphics card now. These come with the punching power that one needs to play AAA games. 

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But what is a low profile graphics card? 

It is usually smaller and more compact than a regular/ standard graphics card. They commonly come with a single slot and must be less in height compared to a standard GPU. Both AMD and Nvidia options are available in this spectrum. 

Guide to choose the best low profile graphics card | The upside 

Just like a standard graphics card, there are factors to consider when it comes to Low profile GPUs. Be it cheap low profile graphics card, or the most functional one; the best one is subject to what you are looking for. Without a saying, it is definitely cheaper than a standard graphics card. Therefore, choosing the one that suits you best needs research. It can be a pretty stressful task if you are not aware of the specifications and functionalities of the low profile graphics card. There are many benefits to purchasing a low profile graphics card if you choose it right. Here are a bunch of aspects to look at when choosing the one for you. 

External Size

This is the first and most needed aspect to look at when choosing a low profile graphics card. Like any other standard GPU, it is a hardware component. And one of the main things everyone should look at is physical size. For consumer-level gamers and basic-level graphics designers, a low-profile GPU can come in handy. The space-saving feature of these GPUs is one of the main reasons people buy them. The overall height of the GPU is what we call as graphics card universe. Anyone that knows about GPUs knows that high-end graphics cards are substantial hardware components. Since these have huge heatsinks and thermal setups, the physical size is quite hefty. A standard GPU takes up a lot of space too. But with a low profile graphics card you would not have to face this issue of keeping a lot of space. 

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Most low profile graphics cards are half the size of a standard graphics card. They can also fit into much thinner casings. Their cooling fans are not as big as the standard GPUs. They have a much smaller and subtle cooling fan compared to the standard GPUs. This means, you cannot use it for excessive overlocking because their cooling system is limited. With that being said, low profile graphics card have a big role to play in the tech world too. 

Power Utilization

While we know that we need a steady, high power supply for standard GPUs, we have a plus point in low profile GPUs. Low profile graphics cards do not utilize a high wattage like standard graphics cards. They can run on a quite lower power supply. The overall design, thermal control, and additional features are some of the reasons for its ability to run low. 

This means you can use a small overall PSU for your build. Since the overall supply is less, the total cost of the set up would not be as much as a standard GPU set up. If you are using a low profile gaming graphics card, the overall power consumption will be much less than a regular GPU. You can also utilize the PSU power elsewhere. Most of the low profile graphics cards do not use any power from the PSU. They usually draw wattage from the PCI-e that you plug into the slot. 


Noise Production 

Noise Production or Noise Output is something that is less concerning when it comes to computer hardware. Nonetheless, this is an area that low profile graphics cards really perform. If you look at the external appearance, it has a rawer finished look with a stripped back. Some of the budget-friendly low profile graphics cards have a passive heatsink, making almost no noise. Therefore, this might be something you can look at. 


The cost-effectiveness of low profile graphics cards goes without saying. As the name goes, low profile graphics cards are less expensive than standard graphics cards. However, there are reasons why a low profile graphics card is less expensive. The performance, thermal design, cooling fans, RGB, and heatsinks are much smaller in low profile graphics cards. 

Low profile graphics cards are for smaller tasks, forms of builds, and small video games. This is not the hardware addition that you would want for a high-stress work. That is why performance is not a priority in their specifications. Keeping the price to a minimum is one of their priorities. While being cost-friendly, you can do a fair bit of work with these low profile graphics cards. 


Just because you are purchasing a low profile graphics card does not mean you should not look for the warranty. Even if you are purchasing an entry-level GPU such as a low profile graphics card 4gb, it is always advisable to go ahaed with a reliable one. Most GPUs, standard and low profile, come with a warranty. Afterall, this is an investment, and it is best to go for a reliable GPU. 

What is the best low profile graphics card? – The difference between low profile and standard GPU

As much as everyone would like to know why they would really need a low profile graphics card, we should also know the difference between a standard and a low profile. If there was no difference, there would not be two kinds of GPUs! While a lot of GPU users look for performance, as they should, low profile GPUs do not really focus on that. Low profile graphics cards mainly focus on being cost-effective. Performing high-stressed, complex video editing or rendering is not their thing! Then what is it good for? Are low profile graphics cards good for gaming? Yes, they are an excellent choice for gamers that play AAA games and want clear graphics. Apart from gaming, you can also use low profile graphics cards for basic photo and video editing purposes. But this does not include high-level, complex editing at all. 

Low-profile graphics cards are not for enterprise-level work at all. This is suitable for small setups for consumers who like to enjoy their gaming a bit fancier. There is no difference between low profile graphics card bracket and the standard one. You can connect it to the same slot in the motherboard. However, you cannot mount a standard graphics card on a low-profile graphics card case because of space limitations. 

How do I install a low profile graphics card into my PC? 

Anyone can buy a low profile graphics card. But how can we install it? One of the main things to look at when purchasing a low profile graphics card is, to ensure that your case is able to mount a low profile graphics card. If your case is not compatible with the low profile graphics card you are buying, you cannot fix it. Therefore, it is vital to check the physical size of your case and the GPU you are purchasing. 

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Nonetheless, imagine you purchased a low profile GPU or maybe got a gift. You come home only to find out your case is not compatible with the GPU. What do you do in a situation like that? You do not have to panic in a situation such as this. All you need to remember is, almost all low profile GPUs are compatible with standard GPU brackets. If your low profile GPU is not compatible with your case, all you have to do is purchase a bracket that lets you connect the low profile GPU. That bracket should be able to connect to the standard PC case. All in all, it is best to buy a low profile GPU that supports the standard bracket size to avoid the additional hassle. 

Low profile GPU Installation process continued…

Low profile graphics cards and standard graphics cards have the same installation process. It is straightforward and not rocket science! You will need the low profile graphics card, the computer set-up, and a screwdriver to install the GPU. If you already have a GPU connected, you will need to remove that first. Then, you have to locate the PCI-e slot in your processor. Once you carefully unscrew the existing GPU from the back of its bracket, you must ensure that nothing is blocking access to the PCI-e slot. Some motherboards have a small latch that latches the graphics card. It is not available on every motherboard. If your motherboard has a latch, you need to remove the existing GPU from the latch carefully. 

Once the old graphics card is out of the processor, you can install the new graphics card. When installing your GPU, ensure to insert the GPU steadily and carefully into the PCI-e slot. If your motherboard has a latch, you can carefully latch the GPU to secure its place. You can then mount the low profile graphics card into the bracket of your computer case and screw the nails back. 

Best low profile graphics card under $100

If you are a tech enthusiast, you already know what a GPU can do. Adding a graphics card to your computer hardware can be a considerable investment. However, the amount you spend on a graphics card depends on what you plan to do with it. Even though a GPU is capable of doing many tasks, there is no point in spending thousands of dollars if you are only going to play games and increase the overall performance of your PC. Not everyone needs a high-tiered graphics card. Here are some of the best low profile graphics cards you can buy within $100.  

ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030 

Many ask the question – Is there a low profile GTX 1060? Yes, there is, but a little over $100. Anyway, ZOTAC’s GeForce GT 1030 is one of the best low profile graphics cards you can buy out there. ZOTAC has a lot of budget-friendly graphics cards, and most of them are low profile. This means that they can fit into the most compressed PC cases. You can connect ZOTAC’s GeForce GT 1030 into the single PCI expansion slot. Since you can connect it to the back of the frame, you can play games with the smallest ITX casing. One thing to remember is, this GPU is below $100. So, all you can expect out of this GPU is what a $100 product can do. 

You cannot expect high-end performance with settings such as a 1080p display with this GPU. It might struggle when it comes to higher display settings because of the lack of physical components compared to a standard GPU. Since the RAM is 2Gb GDDR6, you cannot expect high-end performance with this. Nonetheless, the upside of this GPU is it has a smaller cooling fan and a heatsink, producing almost no noise. If you are willing to go ahaed with a silent build with a limited workload, ZOTAC’s GeForce GT 1030 is one of the worth choices. 

The positives of this low profile graphics card are, it comes with a very good price. You only need the single expansion PCI slot in your processor, and it is great for gaming. The only downside of this GPU is, it cannot handle high-resolution gaming. 


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AMD’s RX550 is an excellent choice for ITX builds. It is a low-profile graphics card that comes under $100. All you have to grab is a single PCI slot to connect this GPU. Its performance is not going to be out of this world, but it is a fair deal. It is one of the cheapest low profile GPUs in the market, and you can expect only what the price can do. The good thing about RX550 is that it does not produce a lot of noise and requires very little power. 

You can play games at 1080p display settings. But the GPU might struggle along the way. You cannot expect the GPU to run as much as a standard GPU. But it does a fair job for the price you pay. It also does not heat up quickly and you can fit it into almost any standard casing. 

Nvidia EVGA GT 710 

Compared to Nvidias RTX 2080 Ti and above, spending $100 on EVGA GT 710 is not much. Even though this is a low profile graphics card, it is one of the best GPUs you can buy for basic gaming and editing. There is a 2GB RAM that allows you to play games and run certain 3D applications. When it comes to noise production, GT 710 also produces very little noise. It is the same case with most low profile GPUs because they have smaller heatsinks and cooling fans. You can fit this GPU at the back of your PC with a single slot, and it can be ideal for ITX builds. 

The upsides of this GPU are its amazing price. It does an excellent job when considering its price. You can connect it with a single PCI expansion slot, and is apt for a 1080p gaming application. Since it runs cool, it is ideal for silent PC builds. The downside of this GPU is its 2GB RAM which limits its performance when it comes to high-detailed gaming. 

AMD Radeon R5 235 

Radeon R5 235 is one of AMD’s most affordable GPUs. You cannot compare AMD’s high-end graphics card to this one. You have to remember that this is a low profile GPU that has very limited performance. This is ideal if your PC does not have an integrated GPU or if you want to run basic 3D applications. This is not the GPU you need for editing, rendering, or even high-detailed gaming. Even average displays lag at times because of the 1GB DDR3 RAM. If you are focused on building a silent PC with small dimensions for extremely basic applications, you can opt for this graphics card. 

You can connect this GPU with a single slow, and it is ideal for mini ITX casings. Since the performance is limited, it runs cool and produces no noise at all. But the 1GB RAM limits you from playing most of the games and applications. 

Gigabyte geforce gt 1030 gv-n1030d5-2gl low profile 2g computer graphics card

This is one of the low profile graphics cards that comes at a slightly higher price than $100. The average selling price of this is around $140. It has a core clock of 1252Mhz in the OC Mode. It has a good 1227MHz Gaming Mode and a Boost Clock of 1506MHz. 

This is ideal if you are playing 1080p games and would want to run basic 3D applications. You can fit this into almost any PC casing and can connect through one slot. 

Food for thought | graphics card low profile


What is the cheapest graphic card for gaming? One of the best low profile GPUs you can buy for gaming is Nvidia’s GeForce GT 1030. ZOTAC makes excellent graphics cards of all ranges. When it comes to pocket-friendly, decent-performing GPUs, this is one of the most reliable graphics cards. You can do a good job with Dell low profile graphics card too. Almost all these low profile graphics cards require a single slot and does an amazing job for its price. 

One more thing to consider!

These cannot perform high-detailed editing, gaming, and rendering. 

Wrapping up: How to decide who needs a low profile graphics card or compact GPU? 

Buying a low profile GPU means you are compromising. However, if the situation demands it, you do not have to spend hundreds of dollars in purchasing a compact GPU. For instance, if you have a mini ITX or a Micro ATX motherboard casing, you do not require a standard GPU. If your motherboard sits in a small form factor case, there is no space for additional hardware components. These build sizes do not play a part in professional purposes. If you are someone with an ITX PC and want a decent day-to-day performance of your PC, you know what to do. 

The reason for buying a low profile graphics card is to save money, space, and power. If you are willing to build a home theatre PC, you do not require a lot of space because most of the components will go under or inside the cabinet. These situations, including basic gaming, will make good use of a low profile graphics card

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