Best low profile video cards available (January 2014)

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Best low profile video cards available (January 2014)

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:36 pm

[updated 25 January, still no newcomers to shake things up]

Recommended low profile card: MSI N750ti-2GD5TLP GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB (Newegg link) ($150)

Recommended low profile, single slot card: VisionTek 900702 Radeon R7 250 1GB 128-Bit GDDR5 (Newegg link) ($100)

------

Well, another GeForce 900 part has launched - the 960. I've seen some rumored specs for lower end cards but nothing concrete. But going by those, it looks like the 940 is going to be close to the 750's performance (and power use, so we may not see it in low profile single slot), and the 930, those specs only list a config with a 64-bit DDR3 interface. I guess we'll know more about them in March, if any of that is true, but I'd hope for a higher speed memory setup for the 930, at least. The current 730s have a 64-bit GDDR5 config that gets them 40GB/s of bandwidth; a similar setup with higher clockspeeds would be nice for the 930. Haven't seen any word on the low-end parts in AMD's Rx 300 series yet.

In the same way that it looks like the 900 series will be all-Maxwell (really, no need to drag Fermi back out at this point), I'm still hoping we won't see re-use of a GCN 1.0 part from AMD. I think "playable framerates at normal quality settings at 1080p" will be possible for all the low-end cards, but the 930 might be pushing it. Still, with the focus on efficiency in Tonga and Maxwell, and higher memory clocks, maybe it'll be doable even on a $65 video card.

Last year I put together a system in an Antec ISK 300. I'd hoped to use an A8-7600, but after waiting several months with no sign of availability (at that point it had already been about 6 months from "launch" and they were nowhere to be found), I just gave up and built it with a Haswell Core i3. I'm using a Pico PSU 160W for power. I'd like to put a video card in it, something significantly more capable than Intel's IGP, to make 1080p with middling quality settings (lightweight stuff like Diablo 3, Team Fortress 2, etc) playable.

My setup gives me video card height restrictions (low profile, obviously), width restrictions (single slot; there's only 20mm of space from the center of a motherboard's PCIe slot to the edge of the case) and power restrictions (no additional PCIe power, can only draw from what the motherboard provides). So, I've been keeping an eye on available options and thought it might be useful to others with similar space requirements. I've also included information for those who are just limited to low profile, but can do double-slot heatsinks (some OEM boxes, Dell, HP, etc, might be low profile but have room for multiple expansion cards, as do some DIY cases).

That said, if you happen to be reading this and are:

- considering building a new system
- in a small ITX case with room for only a single-slot video card, and
- you want to be gaming on it

Then you should look really, really hard at AMD's APUs, especially the A8-7600, before you decide you'd rather go with an Intel CPU and a discrete video card. You'll save yourself a lot of headache looking for a video card.

-----

A note on performance:

The discussion thread about obsolete GPUs got me wondering about the kind of performance improvement you'd get out of these cards, especially the single slot ones, compared to Intel's HD 4600 (haswell), 4000 (ivy bridge) and 2000 (Sandy Bridge) graphics.

I browsed through Futuremark's database of user-submitted benchmark scores to try and get an idea of this. I went by their "cloud gate" scores, since there aren't firestrike results for Intel graphics. I used the i3-4360 as the Haswell CPU option, since it's the fastest i3 they have listed with HD 4600 graphics (the 4370 wasn't in their database at the time I compiled these), and the i3-3225 for Ivy Bridge, as they don't have much results for the 3240 (although I did use it for one test, see below). The Sandy Bridge processor choice was a bit of a "whatever" moment, since none of the scores they had listed were "valid" 3dmark results. However the performance matches up with what would be expected of HD 2000, so I went with the i3-2100 for that.

Since it's easy enough to spec an ITX system with 8GB of system RAM, I've looked for results from systems with that amount, and a few different video card options for each proc. I've "normalized" the results to the IGP score for each proc. I've tried to stick to "validated" results as much as possible.

I chose i3 processors for the results comparison for two reasons: I have an i3 in my system, and I figure smaller systems with these space constraints will not likely be crammed full of i7 CPUs. However, as kuririkura pointed out, the higher-end processors can push their onboard graphics much harder (here is a comparison link between the results in Cloud Gate for an i3-4360 vs an i7-4770K, showing the "graphics score" on the 4770K to be 50% higher than the 4360, and the overall score to have increased by 65%).

Cloud Gate is not a graphics-only test; it also does a physics test and the overall score is averaged somehow from all of the results. Below you will find only the "overall" score, as I think the that is more indicative of the actual performance increase you'd see from these cards.

i3-4360 results (HD 4600 graphics):

Quick notes: systems specced with 8GB of RAM. Memory type was determined by reported clock speed and known video card configurations.

- Baseline HD 4600: 5973 (1.00)
- GT 730, 2GB of DDR3: 5159 (0.86)
- R7 250, 2GB of DDR3: 6925 (1.16)
- GTX 750, 1GB GDDR5: 11387 (1.91)
- GTX 750Ti, 2GB GDDR5: 13233 (2.22)

Well. Some interesting results in their database here, and it confirms my suspicions (and those of many others) that a card with DDR3 is absolutely not worth the cost of entry at this point. The GT 730 with DDR3 is actually slower than the HD 4600 on the i3-4360. The R7 250 with DDR3 is a marginal improvement over the HD 4600 - but given the prices of these cards, you'd be paying near $100 for a 15% improvement in performance. Figure that in actual games, not synthetics, this difference might be even smaller, and I can easily say it's just not worth the cost.

The 750 and 750ti are really the best option if your case has room for a double-slot low profile card. If it doesn't, well, I couldn't find numbers for a GDDR5 730 or 250 with the i3-4360 and didn't want to muddle the numbers by switching the Haswell processors around, but I did find some on the Ivy Bridge proc. Read on!

i3-3225 results (HD 4000 graphics):

Quick notes: systems specced with 8GB of RAM. Memory type was determined by reported clock speed and known video card configurations. R7-250 results come from a system with an i3-3240 (100MHz faster) so may be slightly askew. GT 740 results from a system using i3-3220; same clock speed as 3225 but has onboard HD 2500 instead of HD 4000.

- Baseline HD 4000: 4533 (1.00)
- GT 730, 1GB GDDR5: 7578 (1.67)
- GT 740, 2GB of GDDR5: 8447 (1.86)
- R7 250, 1GB of GDDR5: 8824 (1.95)
- GTX 750, 2GB GDDR5: 10676 (2.36)
- GTX 750ti, 2GB GDDR5: 11407 (2.52)

I was able to find results for a GT 730 with GDDR5 and it paints a pretty compelling picture: even though those cards have a 64-bit memory interface, it manages to punch a full 66% faster than the HD 4000 graphics. A quick browse of their database showed a not-validated score of 7730 when paired with an i3-4130, so I don't think there's much room for the 730 to score much higher. It might be worthwhile for an Ivy Bridge system, then, but still not a big bump for a Haswell proc with HD 4600. Also, you'll notice the GT 740 is marginally faster than the GT 730 when both are using GDDR5, but the R7 250 still has a slight advantage - seems the 64-bit GDDR5 interface is a pretty good match for the 384SP config in the 730, and the 740, with the same amount of SPs, isn't really able to make use of the extra bandwidth.

Comparing the Haswell scores of the 730 and 250, though, you can see that the 128-bit DDR3 does not provide sufficient bandwidth for these "cheap" GPUs. Looks like the "sweet spot" of bandwidth will be somewhere in the 60GB/s range.

i3-2100 results (HD 2000 graphics):

For the curious, before I jump into the numbers from the i3-2100, I checked the DB to see if there were comparable results for the HD 2000 vs HD 3000. There were, although they weren't "validated". The i3-2120 and i3-2125 are same clock speeds, but one has HD 2000 graphics and the other has HD 3000. I don't think the 3000 was as common in the low-end processors for Sandy Bridge, but honestly can't recall - I skipped from Clarkdale to Haswell on the desktop, with a big gap of "not paying attention to this stuff" in between.

- i3-2120, HD 2000: 2164
- i3-2125, HD 3000: 3390

Quick notes: the R7 250 results were found paired with an i3-2105 CPU, which has the same clock speed as the 2100 but HD 3000 graphics onboard. I figure it is comparable. The 750ti results came from a system with only 4GB of system RAM. Memory type was determined by reported clock speed and known video card configurations.

- Baseline HD 2000: 2082 (1.00)
- GT 730, 2GB of GDDR3: 4729 (2.27)
- GT 730, 2GB of GDDR5: 7048 (3.39)
- R7 250, 1GB of GDDR5: 8013 (3.85)
- GTX 750, 1GB of GDDR5: 10179 (4.89)
- GTX 750 Ti, 2GB of GDDR5: 10724 (5.15)

overall

So the R7 250 is the definite winner for single-slot low-profile. If you're already on Haswell HD 4600 graphics, however, The roughly $100 one costs would be getting you about 50% more GPU performance. That's a tough call, but in that form factor, it's the best option. If these cards were priced a little better it'd be an easier choice, but even regular sized R7 250s are $80-$90, so we're not really looking at much of a premium for low profile format. The pricing makes less sense when compared to other equivalently priced cards. AMD needs to get these into the sub-$75 range and make them the new "bottom line" - much the same way NVIDIA has done with the GT 730 cards sitting in the $60-$70 range. Maybe they'll do that with the Rx 300 series.

The R7 250 looks like a much nicer proposition if you're using Ivy Bridge HD4000 (and obviously would be an even bigger upgrade for Sandy Bridge HD2000/3000, as well).

If you can do double-width low profile, though, the 750 or 750ti are the definite winners. The 750 isn't much slower than the 750ti, so unless you can get one for an especially good price, it seems the 750ti makes the most sense.

-----

The big list (updated 17 November 2014):

Low Profile - NVIDIA

GeForce GTX 750 Ti - 60W power draw and the full capabilities of GM107 (as far as we know, at least) makes this the best option for a low profile gaming card right now. And yes, there are low profile GeForce 750 Ti cards.

GIGABYTE GV-N75TOC-2GL G-SYNC Support GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB - 2GB of RAM and readily available at the egg, here's your fastest low profile video card currently available.
Newegg link ($150)
Amazon link ($155)

MSI N750ti-2GD5TLP GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB - MSI doesn't seem to have a link on their US website for this card, but according to newegg, the GPU clocks on this are ever so slightly lower than the Gigabyte card: 1020 core and 1085 boost, vs 1033 core and 1111 boost; memory on both is the same at 2GB of 5400MHz, 128 bit GDDR5. However, I think more important than that: it has a dual-fan cooler setup, instead of the single fan on the Gigabyte. I'd expect less noise and better cooling, and as a result I'd recommend this over the Gigabyte card.
Newegg link ($150)

GeForce GTX 750 - with excellent performance for its segment and a mere 55W power draw, a few vendors have already pushed out low profile versions of the GTX 750. While a 750 Ti is going to get you better performance, maybe your budget is really tight, or maybe you're just going to be casually gaming, and don't need the extra horsepower of the 750ti. So here are a few 750 options which might save you a few bucks:

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 750 1GB (ZT-70702-10M)
Amazon link ($136)

GIGABYTE GV-N750OC-2GL G-SYNC Support GeForce GTX 750 2GB - Gigabyte's version of the 750 in low profile comes with 2GB of RAM, and is $20 less than their 2GB 750Ti (linked above). I don't think this is quite enough of a discount - it's got 20% less "cuda cores" or "stream processors" or "whatever marketing is calling them these days" but isn't quite 20% less dollars. But it might be enough for you!
Newegg link ($130)


------

Low Profile - AMD

Radeon R7 250 - 384SPs, with GDDR5. Good memory bandwidth, about 800GFLOPS/sec of power... so the question becomes: is the 512SP card so bottlenecked by the slower DDR3 that it can't keep up with a lower-end card with faster memory? It's possible. There are a lot of single slot solutions for these cards, so scroll down to the "low profile, single slot" for more R7 250 cards.

Radeon R7 250 Core Edition - Low Profile (R7-250A-ZLF4)
A dual slot solution (incorrect heatsink height listed on their website specs, at the time of this writing it showed 14mm, actual height is about 36mm), with a shrouded heatsink/fan, so it's possible you'll get less fan noise and better cooling with this than you would with a single slot solution.
Newegg link ($100)
Amazon link ($90)

For other R7 250 cards, the rest of which I have listed are single slot, see below.

------

Low Profile, Single Slot - NVIDIA

GeForce GT 730 GDDR5 - while these cards have a 64-bit GDDR5 interface, it's more memory bandwidth than the 128-bit DDR3 setup would provide (40GB/s vs 28GB/s). Further, those 128-bit DDR3 cards are Fermi-based, and have only 96 shaders/cores/whatever. 384 cores on the 64-bit GDDR5 versions, along with double the ROPs (8, vs 4 on the older Fermi one) will get you the best performance of all current versions of the 730.

EVGA GeForce 730 1GB GDDR5 low profile
EVGA GeForce 730 2GB GDDR5 low profile
The heatsink on these appears to extend past the usual "single slot" width, and while the pictures on their website make it seem single slot without any protruding past the bracket, Newegg's product photos show slightly differently. I e-mailed evga about the photo discrepancy and got back this, which is good enough for me:

It is designed as a single slot solution, so it should have no problems fitting in your computer. I'm not sure why the pics differ between our site and Newegg's though. Even as pictured on their site, it should fit in a single slot area according to PCIe industry standards.


1GB version:
Amazon link ($70)
2GB version:
Newegg link ($75)
Amazon link ($80)

PNY GeForce 730 1GB GDDR5 low profile
If, on the other hand, you prefer something with the very thin single slot heatsink/fan, PNY has you covered. PNY doesn't list it on their website currently, although it appears to be the same cooling unit as on their low profile 740 (see below), and while they did have a PDF posted that I found a couple weeks back with the details, it seems to be gone now.
Newegg link ($75, through a non-newegg seller)
Amazon Link ($65)

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Low Profile, Single Slot - AMD

Radeon R7 250 - As mentioned above. Based on AMD's "Oland" GPU which launched, as near as I can tell, as the OEM only Radeon HD 8500 and 8600 cards, these GCN architecture GPUs offer the processing capabilities of the onboard GPU in the A8 Kaveri chips (with 384 stream processors), but there are several sporting 128-bit GDDR5, giving them significantly more bandwidth than a system using DDR3 can provide. They've also been around long enough that there are a few good options:

VisionTek R7 250 1GB GDDR5 (900702)
I'd be curious to see performance comparison between this guy and one of the GeForce 730s, but I unfortunately don't have $175 lying around to do a comparison myself. IMPORTANT: There seem to be two versions of this card available. One is model 900685, which they list on their website, and one is model 900702, which is the one in the Newegg link. From what I can see from the product pictures, the 702 version has a low profile bracket, while the 685 version does not.
Newegg link ($100)
Amazon link ($98)

PowerColor AXR7 250 2GBD5-4DL
This one has 4 mini displayport outputs if you want to drive that many monitors off of a low profile card; also has 2GB of GDDR5 (which I expect you'd want with four displays). Also, fellow forum member arunphilip reports that GPU-Z is showing his as a Cape Verde card, with the 512/32/16 config, no idea if that's typical of this one. It has also gotten increasingly more expensive since I first started this thread, originally sitting around $120 (when the premium made sense for 4 outputs). Now I can't recommend it at all unless you need 4 display outputs in a single slot, low profile form factor - the only reason I still have it listed here at all.
Newegg link ($180)
Amazon link ($190)
Last edited by deruberhanyok on Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:59 pm, edited 42 times in total.
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:29 pm

Some good info here. I was recently shocked to see how poor the selection is for low-profile cards. If performance is of any importance, either variant of the GTX750 is going to be the hands-down best choice right now.

I also noticed lots of funny-business with the memory on low-profile cards. Either the amount of memory is low, or they're trying to slip in regular DDR3, which is going to be a very poor performer and should be avoided on any card intended for gaming. Make sure it uses GDDR5 first, and then try to get 2GB if possible. Having only 1GB of GDDR5 is preferable to any amount of DDR3.
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:12 am

, or they're trying to slip in regular DDR3,
I don't think that's a video card manufacturer "slip in" per se, more like low-profile video cards tend to be based on lower-end GPUs and the specs from both AMD and nVidia (for the GPUs being used) explicitly list a possible DDR3 configuration. Still sucks, tho...
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:49 am

DDR3 is often used instead of DDR5 when there are power constraints. It is cheaper than DDR5 but on a low-profile board where PCB area is at a premium, the DDR3 may fit where GDDR5 would not.

The extra 5-10W of power drawer doesn't affect a mains-powered desktop like it would a laptop running on batteries, but the end result also requires less heatsink.

Basically, it's probably a cost-saving to use DDR3, but I think there are other reasons why the low-profile cards use it over GDDR5.
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:52 am

Chrispy_ wrote:DDR3 is often used instead of DDR5 when there are power constraints. It is cheaper than DDR5 but on a low-profile board where PCB area is at a premium, the DDR3 may fit where GDDR5 would not.

You could be right on all counts, but the reasons why are mostly moot to me. DDR3 gives far inferior bandwidth and should be avoided.
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:13 am

Yes, avoiding the DDR3 solutions is advice I've seen given frequently and I'm in agreement.

The cleanest comparison I can see is with the GeForce GT 740 - both the DDR3 and GDDR5 versions use the same version of Kepler (GK107-425-A2) and are rated for the same TDP - 64W. The big difference is in available bandwidth - the DDR3 version sits at about 28GB/s vs. the 80GB/s of the GDDR5 one. I expect there is also less power draw / heat output from the DDR3, just from it running at lower speeds, but I've never done any direct comparisons to find out. But it may also be cheaper, given that it runs at lower speeds, is more common, etc.

The GDDR5 cards perform significantly better, of course - here's a 2012 review at HT4U (in German, I think) showing the performance difference between a pair of Radeon 7750s, essentially the R7 250E, equipped with the different RAMs (spoiler: at 1680x1050, easily a 50% performance boost with the faster memory).

This is why I think the 64-bit GDDR5 GeForce GT 730 cards are a good choice for low profile, single slot NVIDIA - even with a 64-bit interface they still have more bandwidth than the 128-bit DDR3 cards, and you'll get better performance from them as a result. I'd be curious to see how they compare to the R7 250 cards (I expect the R7 250 would be faster, with double the bandwidth available, but GK107 is pretty capable as is).
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:16 am

Hello,

Thank you so much for this very useful summary !
I am exactly in the same situation, looking for a good low profile, except that I have a bit more margin for the height (1.5 slot can fit). What is really important for me is the behavior at idle (noise+power) as the computer will be active 24h/24.
I was going the Intel+Nvidia as it seems to be the best choice for linux compatibility.

I have just bought a Galaxy/KFA2 GTX 750 Ti low profile and I have mixed feeling about it. On one hand the power efficiency is really great and performance are quite good, on the other hand at idle, fan is quite loud and it draws about 10W.
I am not optimistic to find a software solution (BIOS flashing or else) to solve this.
I may return the card and try the Gigabyte GTX 750 low profile which was just released last week but I am not optimistic.

It seems that maybe AMD would be a better choice with their zerocore feature (<5W at idle) but power efficiency is quite far from Nvidia Maxwell.
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:05 am

I'm cross-posting a benchmark from my thread, as you'd requested:

arunphilip wrote:
deruberhanyok wrote:arun, did you get your card yet? wondering how you like the performance on it. If you get a chance, can you run a quick benchmark or two on it? Curious to see how it handles 1080p on something like Unigine or whatever else is free these days.


I've run the Unigine Valley 1.0 Benchmark against both the Intel HD Graphics 4600 IGP (using the 10.18.10.3621 drivers), and the AMD Radeon R7 250 (using the Catalyst 14.4 drivers). Settings used for the Valley benchmark are:
  • Render: Direct 3D 11
  • Mode: 1920x1200 2xAA fullscreen
  • Quality: Ultra

Surprisingly, GPU-Z v0.7.8 reports the AMD card as being part of the Cape Verde family (and not Oland), and having 512:32:16 shaders:textures:ROPs (and not 384:24:8). I'm not sure if I should feel elated or otherwise.

Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • FPS: 3.6
  • Score: 149
  • Min FPS: 2.1
  • Max FPS: 5.9

AMD Radeon R7 250
  • FPS: 13.2
  • Score: 552
  • Min FPS: 8.1
  • Max FPS: 22.1
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (August 2014)

Postposted on Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:02 am

Thanks arun! a 4x increase in performance at 1920x1200 should mean 1080p with middlish quality settings is very playable on Cape Verde (7750 / 250E). Hopefully the Oland based 250 cards perform similarly.

desktop - yeah, noise is definitely a concern when you're going low profile, even moreso when you move to single slot. I'm hoping the next generation may be a little better about this. If power draw can be brought down to 40-ish watts it will be a little easier for companies to use slower fan speeds, or even try passive solutions (though I don't know if a passive, low profile, single slot would work). Thanks for the info, and good luck in your search.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:40 am

Updated the list today - there's now a readily available low profile 750Ti from Gigabyte, so that has been added to the list. Alas, the R7 250XE has turned up as a Japan exclusive, so no major updates on the AMD front. But we could be close to the expected fall GPU refreshes starting.

I'd love to see 1 TFLOP of GPU power shrink into a low profile, single slot card that isn't exclusive to one country. Maybe soon!
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:06 pm

The low profile 750Ti from Gigabyte looks great considering it has 2 HDMI inputs along with DVI and DP giving you 4 outputs...I am sure you can run 3 displays off of it with ease. But i would never try surround gaming on it.

As for fan noise...If it is that big of a concern you could always cut the wires and wire in a switch so you can turn it on while gaming and leave it off when just browsing. You could have did that with your Zotac card also. When the fans are only 40mm it is kinda hard to keep them quiet.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:30 pm

Yeah, finding a 40mm quiet fan that can cool a card, even one that pulls 50W, isn't going to be easy. I like that HIS put dual 40mm fans on the 7750 I have linked there right now, as I can see that helping. But I think standard low profile height is just under 7cm, so it's possible someone could come up with a solution that uses a 60mm fan.

Dunno that there'd be a way to cram that into a single slot solution, though. There isn't a lot of PCB real estate left if you do that.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:55 am

Hello,

I follow this thread since a few weeks because I also hope for a suitable single slot+LP card beyond a R7 250.
Today I found a new GT 740 with 2 GB GDDR5 from Inno3D. This one is listet since today, at least here in Germany.

German link (sorry, can´t post complete URLs here):
geizhals.de/inno3d-geforce-gt-740-lp-n740-3sdv-e3cx-a1178281.html

Same price as an entry AMD R7 250, but more powerful, max. TDP 64 watts. I´m still waitung for a similar
GTX 750, but maybe it´s a good sign that this GT 740 is appeared now, because since the HD 7750 two years
ago, in all there wasn´t any newer SS+LP cards to buy. Sorry for my rookie english.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:13 am

That's strange. Inno3D's website lists it here:

http://www.inno3d.com/products.php?refi ... showmore=1

Inno3D Geforce GT 740 LP
2GB 128-bit SDDR3
Part No.: N740-3SDV-E3CX


But if you click on the product page it says:

http://www.inno3d.com/products_detail.php?refid=42

Memory Clock (MHz) 5Gbps
Standard Memory Config (MB) 2048
Memory Interface GDDR5
Memory Interface Width 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 80.2


So... which is it? DDR3 or GDDR5?

I too hope we will see better low profile single slot cards soon - perhaps with the rest of the GeForce 900 series we will eventually see a "930" or "940", with performance better than an R7 250, available in this format. At the very least it should be faster than the existing 730/740 cards.

Also, welcome to tech report! I think your english is quite good. :)
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:21 am

Just so everyone knows, the Galaxy GTX750 Ti GC Slim 2GB (dual slot cooler) works fine with a single slot cooler, although finding standalone vga coolers seems to be impossible... and even more so for this card because the 4 screws holding the cooler are in the shape of a rectangle and not a square.

So I bought one of these: galaxytechus.com/__US__/Product6/ProductDetail?proID=146 before realizing it wouldn't fit the system I got it for. I figured I'd hang on to it and use it in a different system in the future, and continue looking for a powerful single slot low profile. Over the course of looking for an alternative, I saw a lot of information that implied the 750 ti would be able to work with a single slot cooler... if I could just find one.

Eventually I came across a Nvidia NVS 510 (ie: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133479) that was unused which had the requisite shaped cooler, and switched the coolers between the two. The default Galaxy cooler was only a 2 pin fan (in a 4pin socket) and the 510 cooler used the full 4 pins.

Now I've only done limited testing, and am planning on doing more, but for now...

The new cooler proceeded to work great, although with a quirk... for some reason, the "auto" fan setting maxed out at 54% fan speed, which ended up throttling the 750 ti by 200ish mhz. Using MSI Afterburner to increase the fan to 80% manually (I just picked a random percent) stopped the throttling, and increased the fan noise a little, but the gpu stayed at 80c (which isn't a problem according to nvidia). Increasing the fan speed to 100% started bringing the temp down from 80c, but I didn't wait to see how low... and greatly increased the fan noise.

So... two questions for everyone here:

1.) Is there a place that sells aftermarket/replacement low profile video card coolers/heatsinks? My Google skills didn't help me here, and I imagine that with a more hefty single slot low profile cooler it would be amazing.
2.) Is there a way to change the "auto" fan setting so that it ramps up higher than 54%?

Sorry, can't post URLs, so gotta manually go to them. Also, can I mention how annoyed I am that no one released a single slot low profile cooler, especially since I know its 100% possible?
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:22 pm

I just built a Antec ISK 300-150 (kept 150W PSU) with a Core i3-4330 w/ Intel HD 4600 graphics.

I too am looking at boosting the gaming graphics and thought I'd chime in with some good deals (probably best $/performance):

Nvidia GeForce GT 740

ZOTAC ZT-71006-10L GeForce GT 740 2GB 128-Bit DDR3 PCI Express 3.0 x16 Low Profile Ready Video Card - $89.99
Newegg Item = N82E16814500340
(presumably if the fan & shroud didn't fit, it appears there are screws to remove them.)

AMD Radeon R7 250

XFX Core Edition R7-250A-CLF4 Radeon R7 250 2GB 128-Bit DDR3 PCI Express 3.0 x16 Low Profile Ready Video Card - $89.99 - $20 MIR = $69.99
Newegg Item = N82E16814150713
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:07 pm

Hey,

Super helpful thread for what I'm looking into, but I have a question.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a Low-profile video card with a draw less than 50w?

I have a Dell T1700 and I need to up the NVS card to something that can manage more 3D modeling software. The T1700 only has a 255W Power supply and only has 50v dedicated to graphics.

Thanks everyone!

-Phil
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:03 am

deruberhanyok wrote:I too hope we will see better low profile single slot cards soon - perhaps with the rest of the GeForce 900 series we will eventually see a "930" or "940", with performance better than an R7 250, available in this format. At the very least it should be faster than the existing 730/740 cards.


I think I will order this Inno3D GT 740 in the next weeks, if no new LP+SS 750 will be released. Most resellers
specify this GT 740 with memory "2 GDDR5 80 GB/s", seems to be a renamed GTX 650 which offers almost the
same technical data.

Curious: here in Germany all available LP+SS R7 250 are clocking with fixed 800 MHz GPU only and no boost,
the recommended VisionTek 900702 and its 1030 MHz GPU above isn´t purchasable anywhere here. So this
GT 740 is the best card I can get here, should bypass the time for a really new and fast LP+SS card.

I´ve looked in many forums, everywhere people asking for LP+SS cards of the latest generation, somehow
the manufacturers seems to oversleep a upcoming trend here.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:31 am

A-X, let us know when you receive it if it is indeed GDDR5. That would make it an excellent option for those able to get it.

PStorrs, welcome to Tech Report! I'm glad you've found the thread useful so far. Since you're doing 3D modeling I'm assuming you will need to stick to a workstation-level card (Quadro or Firepro) and that a typical desktop card won't work. That may actually be in your favor, since it seems there are more workstation options in low profile than desktop (they're just more expensive than the desktop cards, which is why I don't normally recommend them).

I looked on Dell's website and I'm assuming you have the SFF version - it lists Small form factor: one low profile PCI Express® x16 Gen 3 graphic card up to 50W (total for graphics) which is in-line with what you were saying. You also mention an NVS card - Dell has been using a Quadro NVS 410/510 as an entry-level workstation card in a lot of their systems (we even have some here at work) and while they're great for 2D, I understand 3D performance can be lacking. Dell lists the Quadro K600 as compatible with the SFF version of the T1700, too, which might be slightly more capable than what you have, but I'm not sure by how much. The images in the manual also indicate that, in addition to the power and height limitation, you're probably also looking for a single-slot solution due to the proximity of the power supply.

Which card is currently in your system? I wouldn't want to suggest something that isn't worth the cost over what you currently have.

Prospero - thanks for the inputs, and welcome to TR! Those cards have DDR3, so they may wind up slower than their GDDR5 counterparts. I think the 740 with DDR3 is the most interesting of the two, as I explain in the top post - it's a question of whether the DDR3 can provide enough bandwidth for the 740 to really stretch its extra capabilities, vs the lesser capabilities but higher bandwidth of the DDR5 GeForce 730. I'd run tests to find out for certain, but I don't have spare cash lying around to just buy a few video cards right now. :)

jackfrost, welcome to TR! Excellent idea using the HSF from a Quadro card to cover a 750Ti. I wonder if it might have better luck cooling a regular 750, as they are slightly less capable from the Ti version but may produce less heat as a result - less than their thermal rating would indicate. Lots of the lower-end quadro cards are available in LP+SS format, so it's a ready source of those small heatsinks (if a more expensive one than we'd all like!)

I was looking with all the typical vendors to see if I could find an aftermarket low profile heatsink and didn't have any luck. It has only just now - literally while writing this very sentence - that I didn't think to check supplier listings on aliexpress, but that may be a good bet. Searching specifically for replacement Quadro heatsinks is also a good idea - I found a few listed there for different models of cards, so that may be a decent sort of source for heatsinks to try out.

As for the fan setting you have listed in there - I'm not familiar with how the card's bios may be configured. It sounds like it's expecting one type of fan, and delivering x amount of power to get it to an expected speed, but it's possible that the fan you are using right now needs different levels of power to get up to speed. Newer motherboards can "calibrate" PWM fans, but I don't know of a way to do that for a video card.

I too am annoyed at the lack of a LP+SS version of the 750/750ti. I'd take a "750le" with no turbo boost and lower clock speeds as long as it fit in the form factor needed.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:09 am

Hey deruberhanyok

The card in there right now is a NVS 510. Price really isn't that much of a concern; I just would love to leverage this little guys performance some more without stepping into T3600 (read: $2500) territory.

I understand I'm shooting for a very narrow window...

Is there a step up version from the K600 that will fit into the SFF tower?

Thanks!
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (September 2014)

Postposted on Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:16 pm

Near as I can tell, the best bet is the Quadro K620. NVIDIA has it listed on their website with a max 45W power use, and 384 "cuda cores" - double what's in your NVS 510.

Further, and this is a pretty big deal and not something I'd noticed before, it seems the K620, despite being a "K" Quadro, is actually using "M" - Maxwell:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8374/nvid ... adro-cards
http://www.develop3d.com/reviews/Nvidia ... ray_review

TechPowerUp GPUDB entry for K620, nvidia quadro page (K620 listed near the bottom)
TechPowerUp GPUDB entry for NVS 510, nvidia NVS 510 page

While the memory bandwidth leaves something to be desired, Maxwell is far more efficient than Kepler, as you might have read if you keep up with articles about gaming GPUs - in particular the GeForce 750 and 750Ti.

This makes it a bigger upgrade than it would initially seem if you were going from the NVS 510 with 192 Kepler cores to a K600 with 384 Kepler cores - those 384 Maxwell cores will likely perform closer to 512 Kepler cores, so, assuming memory bandwidth doesn't become a limiting factor, it's possible you will see a 2.5x or more performance increase moving to a K620 from your current card.

Those K620 cards sit around $170 online, it seems, and I think that's going to be your best bet. $170 is a bit much, but if it winds up delivering on the expected level of performance I think it might be worth the cost. Disclaimer: I've not used these cards before, so I'm just saying that based on what I know of the tech and the available listed specs in the links above.

Here's a link to Newegg's listing for the PNY Quadro K620.

If you wind up picking one up, please post back and let us know how it worked out for you!
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (October 2014)

Postposted on Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:44 pm

What do you all think of this?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487026&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL102414A&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL102414A-_-EMC-102414-Latest-_-DesktopGraphicsVideoCards-_-14487026-L04D

It's currently listed for $99.99 with a $10 MIR. Not a gamer but looking for a card that can handle 3 monitors and this looks pretty good. Well, I might play Witcher 3 down the road but will wait 2 months after the game comes out and see what the reviews say. The reviews look pretty good but you guys (and gals) here have more sense.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (October 2014)

Postposted on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:37 pm

ThatStupidCat wrote:What do you all think of this?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487026

It's currently listed for $99.99 with a $10 MIR. Not a gamer but looking for a card that can handle 3 monitors and this looks pretty good. Well, I might play Witcher 3 down the road.

I don't believe that is a low profile card. How about this one?
http://www.amazon.com/Zotac-Computer-Vi ... 00JB1XJ4S/
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (October 2014)

Postposted on Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:29 pm

Oops you are right. That is not a low profile card. Brain jumbled and was thinking short card vs longer card.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (November 2014)

Postposted on Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:45 pm

Updated the first post - no new product launches so no real new info.

PStorrs, did you ever pick up that Quadro card? How did it work out for you? I was thinking to add a workstation card item to the top post but wanted to get some user feedback on that before I did.
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:08 am

desktop.ready wrote:I have just bought a Galaxy/KFA2 GTX 750 Ti low profile and I have mixed feeling about it. On one hand the power efficiency is really great and performance are quite good, on the other hand at idle, fan is quite loud and it draws about 10W.
I am not optimistic to find a software solution (BIOS flashing or else) to solve this.
I may return the card and try the Gigabyte GTX 750 low profile which was just released last week but I am not optimistic.


Short feedback from my side: I deceided to replace my current Mini ITX tower Chieftec Flyer FI-01B-U3 with a
In Win BM639. This one offers enough space for a LP + Dual slot graphics adapter, and so finally a GTX 750 Ti
is possible.

But how desktop.ready (and many other users in several forums) wrote, the desired Galaxy/KFA2 GTX 750 Ti
is too loud at idle, because its fan runs with min. 40% and you can´t lowering it, neihter via software, nor via
BIOS.

Now I also found the Gigabyte Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti OC low profile (GV-N75TOC-2GL), but I can´t find any user
experiences for this card. So can any owner of this card drop a few lines as to 2D noise level? @desktop.ready,
have you tried out the Gigabyte like you wrote above? Is the fan calmer then the Galaxy/KFA2? Possibly with
adjustable fan speed by user? Thanxx for any info.

Man, never thought that a simple purchase intention can be such annoying over weeks. ^^
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (November 2014)

Postposted on Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:00 am

Go with a 2 gb card like that Gigabyte GTX 750Ti low profile card since free to play games like war thunder ground forces that I am playing now and love uses 1200-1200 mb of VRAM as do most newer games. So 150$ at the egg will get you the best LP card out right now.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125680
Another advantage the Gigabyte card has over the KFA2 card is the outputs you get 2 HDMI,DVI and DP where the KFA2 card only has one HDMI,VGA and DVI

You also get 150$ to use for in game purchases like war thunder with them giving you 50$ for each game. But if you do get the card and do not like war thunder I will gladly take the 50$ in golden eagles and a tank:)

Seriously though get a 2 gb card over a 1gb card.
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Re: Best low profile video cards currently available (July 2

Postposted on Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:35 am

A-X wrote:
desktop.ready wrote:have you tried out the Gigabyte like you wrote above? Is the fan calmer then the Galaxy/KFA2? Possibly with
adjustable fan speed by user?


No I think that a single fan would have the same problem as the KFA2.
The advice from deruberhanyok is sound: perhaps go with the double fan of the MSI N750ti-2GD5TLP.

I am personally waiting for either:
  • A Nvidia Maxwell low profile whose fan speed can be manually adjusted at idle, or perhaps an ASUS Maxwell Strix Low Profile ?
  • An AMD low profile with the zerocore whose power efficiency more or less match the Maxwell.

Still looking...
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (November 2014)

Postposted on Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:12 pm

Hello,

of course I´d noticed the MSI, but I live in Germany and here you just can´t buy it anywhere.
Pffff this is Germany here, not Easter Island. And import it by myself isn´t lucrative because
of +19% import tax. :-?

I only can select between the KFA2/Galaxy, Gigabyte and Zotac GTX 750 Ti LP here. Just asked
at German MSI Facebook page why the MSI 750 LP isn´t available here. A quiet card @ 2D is im-
portant to me, after ~2 years in front of a Dell XPS 27 and it´s 3x hell-turbine-fans.
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Re: Best low profile video cards available (November 2014)

Postposted on Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:26 pm

There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
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