THE BEST MINI GPUS FOR YOUR MINI BUILD
talked a lot about small motherboards, but what about small graphics cards? Luckily many cases support full-sized graphics cards, but mini GPUs are being introduced by many manufacturers and they are the only choice for truly tiny gaming PCs.
GIGABYTE GETS SERIOUS
Gigabyte deserves particular praise for the genuinely small GPUs it produces. Take a look at the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Mini. It’s a little taller than a typical card but its length is similar to a bottom end GPU. At $900+ it’s pricey though. If a 1080 is priced out of your range, Gigabyte offers GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 options that are the same size.
How about low profile? Gigabyte offers a GTX 1050 low profile card at around $199. It will game competently at 1080p but also brings the latest video output standards and codec support. It’s the kind of card that’s perfectly suited for a low profile HTPC. If you prefer MSI, it makes a low profile GTX 1050 Ti.
Zotac is a brand with a limited availability in Australia, but it does have some lovely mini cards that will be right at home in an SFF build. Its GTX 1080 Mini can be had for $749, making it one of the cheapest GTX 1080s on the market. Something like a Zotac GTX 1050 Ti will squeeze into the tiniest space, but it Zotac also offers shrunken cards all the way up to a GTX 1080 Ti. It’s not a truly small GPU, but it’s a lot smaller than a typical GTX 1080 Ti.
HONEY I SHRUNK THE GRAPHICS CARD
So, that’s a few Nvidia options, but what about AMD? AMD unveiled the Powercolor RX Vega 56 Nano at Computex. It’s quite likely we’ll see other manufacturers releasing Vega Nano cards too. These will be a great SFF option for pairing up with a FreeSync monitor. Vega’s use of HBM memory makes it a lot easier to produce a small card as there’s no need to produce a large PCB to house a whole load of memory ICs.
YOU CAN GAME WITH INTEGRATED GRAPHICS TOO
Don’t give up on integrated graphics, however. The gaming strength of AMD’s Ryzen APUs, with their integrated Vega GPUs, is quite amazing if you’re looking for sheer value. You won’t be able to game with all the eye candy turned up, but in our review earlier in the year, the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G were able to get playable frame rates in modern games at Full HD. We think they offer very impressive value at the low end of the gaming market.
Small form factor video cards offer all the bang in a tiny package!
Powercolor offers AMDflavoured cards if that’s your thing.
Yep - that’s a full-fat video card. But you do pay for the miniturisation.