Video cards are essential hardware components that come as standard features for all computers with a display. These cards – also referred to as graphics cards – come in all shapes and sizes to suit the graphics processing needs among different users. Many computers come with basic video cards embedded with the computer’s motherboard to help render basic video function to the computer screen. These are standard with most computers, including many of the high-end computers.
At the extreme end, there are high-performance video cards designed for heavy use on computers that are used for extreme gaming or other functions demanding heavy usage of the graphics processing unit (GPU). These cards are characterized by higher processing power but are also noisy and have a tendency to get hot. Most of these cards are large, and unable to fit in computers with smaller cases.
So What’s a Low Profile Card?
At the middle of these two classes of cards, there are other types of video cards commonly referred to as low profile video cards, which are usually smaller than high-performance cards. Most are also quieter and have lower power requirements and heat emission than the high-performance video cards. However, many of these cards perform at a lower level and most games with demanding graphics will play at low frame rates – if they even play at all. A good low profile card can be hard to find, and even when you do, do not expect to play the latest games at anything above medium settings.
Still, if your computer has a small case with insufficient physical space inside to fit a large card or if you want to enjoy the latest games on a low budget card, the low profile video card is just what you need. These cards will fit in some of the smallest computers with relative ease. Additionally, the fact they have minimal power requirements means that you do not need to install additional cooling mechanisms such as heatsinks, water coolers or fans to your computer.
Low profile cards perform better than many onboard or embedded cards and are therefore a good option for most people. In today’s post, we look at some of the best low profile video cards in the market and hope to help you skip the stress and frustrations of finding a good low profile card for your computer.
Best Low Profile Video Cards Under $50
If you’re looking for a low profile video card under 50 dollars, then check out the cards below. Don’t expect high settings with one of these graphics cards, but if you can keep your expectations in check and you’re on a budget, then these are definitely worth a look.
EVGA GeForce 8400GS
The GeForce 8400GS card is a classic device that set the standards for modern, high-performance video cards. It has 8 processors, a 520 MHz GPU, and a PCI-Express interface. Though there is no support for Windows 8 and later out of the box, there are plenty of Evga drivers that can be found online that will allow you to use this on the latest OS. So if you get this card, be prepared to have to install drivers. With the GeForce 8400 video card, you should expect to run most games at low settings and definitely shouldn’t expect to play any triple A titles, but for basic usage, this is a good card for the money.
Asus AMD Radeon HD6450 Silent
The Asus AMD Radeon HD 6450 is a low profile, PCI-Express graphics card with 1BG of GDDR3 RAM that promises a silent gaming environment with regular PCs. The HD 6450 is an excellent replacement for most onboard graphics cards. This card lacks the noisy fans that are standard on larger cards, using a large heatsink instead to suck away the heat. It runs quietly and consumes less power, thus making it one of the best low profile video cards in the market.
When it comes to gaming, you should expect the HD 6450, to be able to play games with a mix of low and medium settings. I really wouldn’t even try playing any recent triple A titles on this, but it’s still good if gaming is an afterthought and you’re on a budget.
Note: The AMD Radeon HD 6450 is low profile ready, which means that you when you first get the card it might not fit in your case, but you are able to adjust the card so that it can.
XFX AMD Radeon HD 5450
The AMD Radeon HD 5450 is another low profile card with an AMD GPU running 1GB of GDDR3 RAM. The simple structure and specs of the HD 5450 mean you can only do basic activities with this card, so definitely exclude serious gaming or video editing. However, the HD 5450 is a welcome addition to older PCs, where it helps to run advanced applications that refuse to work with older versions of integrated graphics on new operating systems.
If you did wish to play games on this video card, it’s probably best to stick with Indie titles or less graphically demanding games, but this card would make an excellent card for someone who is looking into making a PC for watching 1080p movies or streaming videos.
ASUS GeForce 210
The ASUS GeForce 210 is a low profile card which is designed to be highly efficient with a low power consumption design that dissipates heat silently. The card’s 1GB, 64-bit, GDDR3 PCI Express GPU is powered by NVIDIA GeForce and optimized by GeForce CUDA, which means you get a budget card from one of the industry’s leading gaming companies.
I’d recommend this card to anyone who is looking for an entirely silent experience. It doesn’t matter how hard you work this card you will not hear a thing. This is because of the 210’s large heatsink that really makes it stand out. So if you’re looking for an affordable silent gaming experience (Indie games to be exact), then this is a good buy.
Gigabyte GeForce GT 610
The GeForce GT 610 has been touted as one of the best cards for older PCs with smaller, less powerful power supplies. This PCI-Express card is suitable for video and picture editing and some gaming even with its low-caliber DDR3 GPU. Still, it offers many advantages over integrated graphic cards on older PCs.
When it comes to gaming, the GT 610 shines when running older games that require a lot less power. It struggles to play newer games, so don’t expect that type of performance with this card. However, when buying such a cheap card you really can’t expect it to run Fallout 4 on ultra. Another benefit of this card is that it hardly consumes any power so you can get away with a smaller power supply saving you more money in the long run.
Best Low Profile Video Cards Over $50
If you’re looking for some of the best low profile cards you can get that should be able to run medium settings for most games, then check out the video cards below. Each of these cards should fit into any small build, but will still pack a punch.
EVGA GeForce GT 730
The GT 730 is a 2GB GDDR5 64-bit graphics card that, despite its small size, offers significant improvement in performance for small factor PCs and budget gaming computers. It also supports Direct X 12, which helps improve graphics for regular PC games. The card is a must-have for anyone looking to upgrade from integrated graphics with a low budget.
When it comes to gaming, the 730 will allow you to play games such as WOW or LOL with a mix of low to mediums settings making this an excellent option for people looking to play mainstream games on a budget. You still shouldn’t expect anything crazy, but the GT 730 can undoubtedly provide a great gaming experience.
EVGA GeForce GT 740
The GeForce GT 740 is an upgraded version of the GT 730 and boasts 2GB of GDDR5 RAM and a 128-bit GPU for improved performance. The GT 740 is suitable for regular business and home use for functions such as moderate PC gaming, video and picture editing, and computer modeling. Like the GT 730, it is an excellent replacement for standard embedded cards that perform at the basic level.
For gaming, if you have the budget I would recommend getting the 4gb super clocked version of the Geforce GT 740. It will allow you to play most games on medium settings, and should even run most triple A titles with a decent FPS (Frames Per Second). It also runs cool, making it an even better buy for people looking for something that won’t overheat. Even if you do get the 2Gb version, you will still have a great gaming experience, but this is just something to think about.
Sapphire Radeon R7 240
This low profile card from Sapphire boasts of 2GB GDDR3 RAM and two HDMI ports to enable dual outputs to two different displays via HDMI. In addition to the HDMI ports, you can use DVI-D as an additional output option, which makes this card one of the best low profile cards you can get.
When it comes to gaming, this will easily perform better than a graphics card that is under 50 dollars, but you still shouldn’t expect anything higher than medium settings. I’d probably recommend this card for people who are just looking to play older MMO’s on medium settings (WOW as an example) or other games with similar graphics.
MSI Geforce GTX 750 TI
The NVIDIA GeForce 750TI graphics card from MSI is a low profile card with a high performing NVIDIA GPU with 2GB or GDDR5 of RAM. This card beats the competition in its category with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750Ti graphics engine and a boost-enabled GPU, which improves the performance of the card. Though it is a bit pricier than other low profile cards, it is priced relatively lower than other high-end cards.
If you’re looking for a low profile video card with high gaming performance, then the 750 TI is hard to beat. Not only is the card a beauty to look at, but it’s also overclocked right from the box which means that you will be getting the most out of this card without having to do any configuring to it yourself. With this card, you can expect to run slightly older games at high settings and many Triple A titles at medium settings with a decent FPS. All in all, this is a great card for someone who’s making a small PC, but still wants to game.
What Card Do I Recommend?
Despite the fact that most of these cards have minor differences in performance, the EVGA GeForce GTX 750 TI beats all the cards mentioned above and would be the best low profile video card for basic to medium use. This card will run most modern games at medium settings with respectable FPS averages, but don’t expect to assemble an advanced gaming rig with this card.
If you’re looking for a low profile video card under 50 dollars, then my choice would have to be the Evga GeForce GT 610. Not only is it a very silent card, but it also has 2 GBs or memory when most of the other cards in the same price bracket only have 1 GB. I still think that you should just save up and get the 750 TI if you can, but this would still be my choice at this price.
While, I’d recommend you check out one of my affordable gaming builds, getting a low profile video card for a build that doesn’t have a lot of space, but could use the extra graphical boost is a good idea. So If you’re looking for a good small card, then one of the video cards on this list should meet your needs.
If you have any questions that you want me to answer, please feel free to leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to share and like this post if you found it helpful!