The best low profile graphics cards (GPUs) in 2023

Our best recommendations for gamers looking to build in a small form factor PC case

Updated: Mar 6, 2023 3:35 pm

Best low profile graphics cards

There are many reasons why you might want to consider the best low-profile graphics card for your present or future build. But the main reason, ultimately, is their ability to fit into literally any case. This makes the low-profile graphics card not only versatile but space-saving as well.

Even though we don’t necessarily class the low-profile graphics card as a premium hardware offering, it’s still seen its fair share of technological advancements. It’s not just top-tier GPUs that get all the attention – consumers now have the option to purchase a half-size GPU with all the punching power required to play AAA games titles with a decent FPS output.

So we go through a list of the best low-profile cards currently available to the consumer public. Both AMD and Nvidia feature in this best of guide, bringing their flagship low-profile offerings to the table.

Which will ultimately take the top spot? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about LP GPUs.

How to choose the best low profile graphics card

Like any hardware component, choosing the best low-profile graphics card can sometimes be tricky – and let’s face it – a pretty stressful task. However, thanks to our team of hardworking PC enthusiasts, we have the most up-to-date hardware options the internet has to offer.

There will be plenty of people reading this right now, scratching their heads in confusion, wondering why they would ever choose a low-profile GPU. Well, below, we’ve outlined some of the main benefits of purchasing a small form factor product.

Physical size

The first and most obvious area which needs to be addressed when referencing low-profile graphics cards is their size. Ultimately, this is the number one reason why someone might consider LP GPUs as a real hardware option.

Low profile, in the graphics card universe, usually refers to the overall height of the GPU itself. As many will know, the top GPUs in today’s market are seriously hefty pieces of kit that take up a large amount of space thanks to their impressive heatsink and thermal designs. However, you won’t have this problem with a low-profile graphics card.

An LP GPU is a stripped-back, half-height (usually) graphics card, which is custom-designed to fit in much thinner cases. They typically come with subtle cooling systems that offer average levels of cooling, meaning they aren’t ideal for excess overclocking. This being said, in some cases, they might be your only option, especially if you have a really small case.

Ultimately, a low-profile graphics card won’t be everyone’s first choice, but they certainly have a part to play in the PC world. Where they will usually take up only a single slot PCI express lane.

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Power consumption

Power consumption is another big plus for low-profile graphics cards as they can run on much lower wattages than regular-sized GPUs. This is thanks to a number of different factors which include thermal design, additional features, and overall makeup.

What this means for your build is:

  • A smaller overall PSU is required
  • The total cost of the build will be reduced
  • PSU power can be utilized elsewhere

In most cases, the LP GPU won’t physically draw any power from the power supply but will get enough wattage directly from the PCI-e 16x slot it’s plugged into. So doesn’t require any power connectors. Saving your power supply Watts is sent to different components thanks to their low power consumption.

Noise output

Noise output may or may not be something that concerns you when looking at purchasing hardware. This being said, it’s certainly an area that we feel the low-profile graphics card excels in.

Due to the stripped-back, almost raw appearance of the LP GPU, most of them come with one solitary fan for their cooling needs. However, some of the entry-level, budget offerings actually come with passive heatsinks for their cooling requirements and consequently make no noise whatsoever.

This is especially good when you’re looking at building a small, inconspicuous build – as most of the time, smaller form cases don’t accommodate very good soundproofing.


Finally, and potentially most importantly, is the cost of these small form cards. As you can probably imagine, low profile graphics cards are naturally less expensive than regular-sized GPUs – and that comes down to several different factors:

  • Performance
  • Thermal cooling design
  • Aesthetics
  • RGB

This being said, low-profile graphics cards have been designed to target small form builds that usually aren’t built for gaming or highly stressful work tasks. That means performance isn’t high on their list of priorities. What is high on that list, however, is keeping costs to a minimum, a task that these hardware components seem to do very well indeed.

Low Profile GPU Vs. Standard GPU

A lot of people at this stage in the article might be wondering what the differences between a low profile GPU and a standard GPU actually are. Well, don’t worry, we’ve put together this short infographic that should make understanding the difference between the two a little bit easier.

Low Profile GPU vs Standard Profile GPU 2

What is a low-profile graphics cards?

Whether you’re an experienced gamer or researching how to successfully carry out your first PC build, you may have heard of low-profile graphics cards. In a nutshell, a low-profile graphics card is a type of video card that has been specially designed to be smaller than other graphics cards, and this is usually so that it can be used with a computer that has a smaller case.

Due to the fact that low-profile graphics cards are smaller in size, it usually means that they are able to operate at a much quieter sound than full-height graphics cards, although this isn’t always the case. In addition, low-profile graphics cards tend to use far less power than other types of graphics cards, which makes them a lot more energy-efficient. It’s also worth being aware that, due to their size, low-profile graphics cards tend to produce more heat than their larger counterparts and have smaller fan sizes, which runs the risk of them overheating. However, due to the fact that they have lower clock speeds, low-profile graphics cards are usually able to regulate their temperature well, without the need for an additional cooling system.

What is ITX GPU?

An ITX graphics card is built to a specific size. They aim to fit nicely into an ITX or mini ITX build, since they are much smaller the cases they use may also be smaller. And so ITX GPUs will be shorter and only take up a dual-slot and no thicker. Whilst also being no longer than 180 mm (7″) so as not to overlap the motherboard that may be squished in. This does compromise how much cooling can be used and limits the TDP of the card that can be used.

How do I install a low-profile graphics card?

Before you purchase a low-profile graphics card, it’s important to make sure that your case is compatible with a low-profile graphics card and will be able to support it. However, if you do find that you’ve purchased a brand new low-profile graphics card, only to discover that it isn’t compatible with your PC case, you don’t need to panic! Nearly all low-profile graphics cards are designed to be compatible with standard brackets, which means that you may be able to purchase a different bracket that will allow you to connect the low-profile graphics card to the standard-sized PC case. However, you will need to be sure that the low-profile graphics card has been designed to support standard brackets.

As low-profile graphics cards aren’t too different from other types of graphics cards, so the good news is that installing one will be a straightforward process! To do so, all you will need is your low-profile graphics card, a screwdriver, and your computer setup. First, you’ll need to remove the GPU (if you have one) from your current PC setup, and then locate the long PCI-E x16 slot which is located on the heat sink side of your processor.

After you have done this, then ensure that there is nothing obstructing your access to the slot, and be sure to carefully remove the existing graphics card by unscrewing it from the back of its bracket. You should also check to see if your motherboard has a little latch situated on the end of the PCI-E slot (not all do) and carefully detach it from the old graphics card if so.

After you have completed this step and safely removed the old graphics card from the motherboard, you will now be able to go ahead and install your new low-profile graphics card. To do this, all you will need to do is simply insert the card firmly into the slot, and then attach the plastic latch to help hold it in place. Then, take your screwdriver and carefully secure the low-profile retention bracket into your computer’s case with the same screws that you used to attach your older graphics card.

Are low profile graphics cards less powerful?

Generally speaking, mini or low profile graphics cards will be less powerful than their larger counterparts, though that’s not to say that they can’t offer a respectable performance. In fact, many of the smaller graphics cards offer the exact same performance and power as the bigger graphics cards. However, the only difference to note is that the mini graphics cards will have slower clock rates and worse cooling abilities, which will ultimately affect the overall game performance power of the graphics card.

Is low profile the same as half height?

Low profile graphics cards are essentially the exact same as half-height graphics cards, and the two different names are often used interchangeably to describe the same type of card. Both utilize the low profile design of a card. However, before you make a purchase, you should make sure to double-check whether or not the card comes with an additional half-height or low-profile bracket, as this will ensure it is able to fit itself into your system without any issues. Of course, there is also a chance that your mini graphics card will be compatible with standard-sized brackets, though this isn’t always the case (depending on price and manufacturer) so be sure to check this before making a purchase to ensure the smooth installation upon arrival.

How tall is a PCI slot?

When it comes to figuring out the height of a PCI slot, the easiest indication is by first deciphering whether it is half-length, full-length, full-height, or low profile:

Half Length: Half-length PCI slots are up to 6.9 inches in length (175 mm).

Full-Length – Full-length PCI’s are usually up to 12 inches long (312 mm). Although, it’s very rare to come across full-length PCI slots, as many modern-day cases cannot support them.

Low Profile: Low profile cards have two standard lengths of MD1 (4.721 inches/ 119.91 mm) and MD2 (6.600 inches/ 167.64 mm).

Full-Height: Full-height cards are up to 4.7 inches (120 mm)

Best low profile GPU for gaming

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 LP 4GB

Zotac 1650 low profile