Top 10 Mini-ITX Graphics Cards of 2021

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top 10 mini itx graphics cards of 2021
top 10 mini itx graphics cards of 2021

The most potent compact graphics cards on the market

Compact gaming rigs are becoming more and more popular partly because powerful graphics cards are getting smaller. While a full-size setup does give you unmatched flexibility, you don’t necessarily need a hulking chassis to run video games at high frame rates and visual fidelity. Moreover, manufacturers have come up with mini-ITX cases that have adequate room for a dedicated graphics card. So while there weren’t many options just a few years ago, you have a lot more options today. In other words, there has never been a better time to build a high-end system in a compact chassis than right now. 

This article highlights some of the best mini-ITX graphics cards available on the market. These cards can easily fit into compact cases without compromising thermals. We also put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide that details what you need to consider before getting a graphics card for your small-form-factor system. 

It is worth noting that NVIDIA has a significant edge over AMD in this market because the latter’s cards usually have thermal designs unsuitable for compact form factors. The manufacturer ZOTAC also has plenty of entries on this list because of its heavy emphasis on compact systems. If you don’t have time to read our in-depth reviews, check out the brief comparison table below: 

The 10 Best Mini ITX Graphics Cards You Can Get Today

EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC

A high-speed mini-ITX graphics card for high-resolution gaming 

evga geforce rtx 3060 xc

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
Engine Clock Speed 1882 MHz (Boost)
Bus Standard PCI Express 4.0
Video Memory 12 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock Speed 1875 MHz (15 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 3584
TDP 170 W
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4a

1 x HDMI 2.1

Dimensions 202 X 110 X 36 mm

Scores

Design 10
Performance 10
Value 10
Pros
  • Superior gaming performance
  • Factory overclock
  • High-bandwidth memory
  • PCIe 4.0 interface
  • Excellent cooling system
Cons
  • Loud fans

The EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC is one of the few compact graphics cards suited for high-resolution gaming. It has a two-slot dual-fan design geared towards users who want to keep their systems as small as possible without skimping on gaming performance. 

This graphics card houses 3584 CUDA cores and 12 GB of GDDR6 VRAM. In addition, it has a slightly higher boost clock of 1882 MHz than the reference specifications of 1777 MHz from NVIDIA, ensuring you get enhanced performance out of the box.

Compared to its predecessor, the GeForce RTX 3060 has twice the available video memory. This increase gives the card a significant lead over older cards when it comes to high-resolution gaming. It also has the highest CUDA core count out of all the options on this list, dominating most of the competition. 

evga geforce rtx 3060 xc (2)

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In terms of gaming performance, this graphics card outputs similar frame rates to the ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini. However, it nearly doubles the ray-tracing performance with its second-generation ray-tracing cores and third-generation Tensor cores. As a result, it can run most games in 1440p high to ultra settings at over 60 FPS. You can even play games in 4K and get decent frame rates if you tone down the graphics settings. It also offers the latest display specifications, including DisplayPort 1.4a and HDMI 2.1, supporting resolutions up to 10K.

This graphics card has a TDP of 170 W and is fitted with a single eight-pin power connector. It is significantly more power-efficient than a GeForce RTX 2070 Super while producing similar and sometimes better gaming performance. If you want to overclock this card manually, you can get roughly a 4% extra performance boost given your case has adequate airflow. 

The dual-fan design does an excellent job cooling this graphics card. It maxes out at around 65 °C under load, which is a great indication for small-form-factor enthusiasts. However, the fans tend to get quite loud even when idling, which should concern users who are sensitive to fan noise. Nevertheless, placing your system a few feet away from yourself should do the trick.

ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini

A suitable premium alternative that performs nearly as well

zotac geforce rtx 2070 super mini

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super
Engine Clock Speed 1770 MHz
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 8 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock Speed 1750 MHz (14 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 2560
TDP 215 W
Video Outputs 3 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0

Dimensions 210 X 126 X 41 mm

Scores

Design 9
Performance 10
Value 9
Pros
  • Superior gaming performance
  • Includes a backplate
  • Intuitive software
Cons
  • High 215 W TDP

The ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2070 Super Mini is among the most powerful high-end graphics cards on this list. It supports many of the latest graphics-related features, such as accelerated ray-tracing and deep learning super sampling to deliver a stellar gaming experience.

This graphics card houses 2560 CUDA cores and 8 GB of GDDR6 VRAM. It can comfortably run most graphically demanding games in 1440p high to ultra settings over the 60 FPS threshold. It can even run most titles in 4K as long as you tone down the graphic settings. If you play fast-paced competitive online multiplayer, this card has no trouble achieving over 144 FPS in 1080p or 1440p. 

This graphics card has two fans to ensure optimal airflow. Unlike most of the other options on this list, it has a backplate that gives it premium and robust aesthetics. It also has an illuminating white logo on the shroud to provide accent lighting and complement virtually any system color scheme. 

zotac geforce rtx 2070 super mini (2)

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In terms of cooling performance, the dual-fans and heat sinks do excellent at maintaining acceptable temperatures. The card maxes out at 72 °C under load to prevent thermal throttling. It utilizes a dynamic layout that takes advantage of the surface area, a sophisticated heat pipe layout, and an aluminum fin stack for effective heat dissipation. Moreover, the fans operate quietly inside a compact chassis, and you shouldn’t hear them unless you place your ear against the case. If you don’t mind fan noise, you can also max out the speed of the fans to improve the cooling performance.

The main drawback of this graphics card is its high board power requirement of 215 W. It needs eight-pin and six-pin power connectors to operate, meaning you must get at least a 600 W power supply unit if you want to get the best performance out of this card. This graphics card also supports NVLink SLI, but if you’re building a small-form-factor system, you may struggle to find a mini-ITX chassis that can accommodate two video cards.

If you want to fine-tune this graphics card, the Firestorm software enables you to do so with an intuitive interface. This utility software lets you boost the clock speeds, adjust the fan speed, and monitor voltage and temperatures.  

Overall, this graphics card is an excellent option if you don’t mind the significant power requirements. It lets you enjoy some of the latest graphics-related features like advanced ray-tracing and deep learning super sampling in a small form factor build. It is considerably more compact than the reference card but doesn’t skimp on cooling to deliver excellent gaming performance.

ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 2070 Mini OC

Overclocked right out of the box for excellent 1440p performance 

asus dual geforce rtx 2070 mini oc

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
Engine Clock Speed 1680 MHz (OC)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 8 GB GRRD6
Memory Clock Speed 1750 MHz (14 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 2304
TDP 175 W
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0b

1 x DVI-D

Dimensions 197 X 121 X 39 mm 

Scores

Design 10
Performance 10
Value 7
Pros
  • Stellar gaming performance
  • Factory overclock
  • Excellent cooling performance
  • Intuitive software
  • Idle-fan-stop feature
Cons
  • Expensive

The ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 2070 Mini OC is a high-end graphics card that manages to have a factory overclock despite being significantly more compact than the reference model. It is one of the most powerful cards you can fit in a small-form-factor build, featuring 2304 CUDA cores and 8 GB of GDDR6 VRAM.

This graphics card has a two-slot dual-axial fan design and is less than eight inches in length. You should know that two different models of this card exist: the regular version operates at the standard base speed of 1620 MHz, while the subject of this review has a factory overclock of 1680 MHz. While it is relatively faster than the standard version, it is still just shy of the 1710 MHz boost clock of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition. The clock speeds are the only difference between the two models; otherwise, they are exactly the same. ASUS also lets you enable the factory overclock without much complication through the GPU Tweak II software.

In terms of gaming performance, this graphics card can reach high frame rates without sacrificing visual fidelity in 1440p and 1080p. You can expect over 60 FPS in some of the most graphically demanding games at high or ultra settings. If you play fast-paced multiplayer online games, you can easily get over 100 FPS from this card. The closest competitor to this graphics card performance-wise is the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 5700 XT, but it isn’t nearly as compact. 

asus dual geforce rtx 2070 mini oc (2)

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This graphics card has a TDP of 175 W and is fitted with an eight-pin power connector. So if you have a power supply unit with at least 500 W, you should have no trouble running this card. It is primarily designed for the Intel NUC 9 Extreme Kit and NUC 9 Pro Kit, but it can easily fit in most mini-ITX chassis without sacrificing thermal performance. 

ASUS utilizes a redesigned cooling layout for this graphics card. It features two axial fans that intake air through a case’s side panel. These proprietary fans have small hubs to accommodate long blades and a barrier ring that increases downward air pressure. Moreover, these fans are dust resistant and shut off automatically when the temperature is below 55 °C for quiet operation.

This graphics card is built through ASUS Auto-Extreme Technology, an automated manufacturing process that completes all soldering on the circuit board in a single pass. This procedure significantly reduces the thermal strain on components and yields more reliable cards in the long run.  

If you want to push this graphics card beyond its factory overclock, the GPU Tweak II software has settings dedicated for enthusiasts. It allows you to adjust the power target, voltage, fan speed, profile curves, and hardware monitoring. This card is remarkably versatile, considering how it is meant for tight spaces. 

This graphics card isn’t the most flashy option on the market, but it does have a subtle light strip that can complement any build. Unfortunately, the lighting is not customizable and not compatible with the renowned ASUS Aura Sync software.

The cooling solution integrated into this graphics card is more than capable of maintaining boosted clock speeds. That means you can overclock the card and enjoy high frame rates without frying your system. 

In a nutshell, this graphics card is one of the most powerful options you can get for your mini-ITX rig. It has a decent factory overclock that nearly equals the reference card’s boost clock while having an excellent cooling system. It even gives you some headroom for more overclocking, allowing you to bump the performance up to an impressive 10%. If you can manage to achieve those numbers, this card would perform very close to the Founders Edition at less power and cooler temperatures!

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Aero ITX OC

Best single-fan mini-ITX graphics card on the market

msi geforce gtx 1070 aero itx

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
Engine Clock Speed 1721 MHz (OC)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 8 GB GDDR5
Memory Clock Speed 2002 MHz (8 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 1920
TDP 150 W
Video Outputs 2 x DisplayPort 1.4

2 x HDMI 2.0b

1 x DL-DVI-D

Dimensions 175 X 129 X 37 mm

Scores

Design 9
Performance 9
Value 9
Pros
  • Compact single-fan design
  • Factory overclock
  • Idle-fan-stop feature
  • Excellent cooling system
Cons
  • No backplate

The MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Aero ITX OC is a small graphics card that doesn’t skimp on performance. It is geared towards small-form-factor build enthusiasts who want to pack as much power as possible in a tiny chassis. 

This graphics card sports a two-slot single-fan design with a conservative black exterior. While it doesn’t have a backplate, the circuit board is easy on the eyes and is unlikely to be seen from inside a compact case anyway. This card has a 38 MHz factory overclock over the reference card to deliver increased performance out of the box. It also has 1920 CUDA cores and 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM.

While this card has only one fan, it supplies enough cooling performance to prevent thermal throttling. Moreover, it can fit in a mini-ITX chassis effortlessly without compromising airflow. MSI Zero Frozr Technology also helps eliminate fan noise when the system is not under heavy load. When the temperature is under 55 °C, the fan stops automatically to reduce audible noise.

msi geforce gtx 1070 aero itx (2)

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This graphics card has an eight-pin power connector that gives you more overclocking headroom. The cooling system is centered around composite heat pipes, with a copper base plate over the chipset connected to the heat pipes. Circuit board components that can get warm are cushioned with thermal padding. The reduced length and distinct layout of the heat pipes also improve cooling efficiency. 

Although the GeForce GTX 1070 is relatively dated, it remains a highly capable graphics chip, especially for competitive gaming. If you play games in 1080p, this card can effortlessly get over 60 FPS at high to ultra settings. You can even run some titles in 1440p and get decent frame rates. Impressively, this card manages to stay below the 70 °C threshold under load. 

If you’re an overclocking enthusiast, this graphics card has an eight-pin power connector and an extra six-pin connector to give you the necessary headroom. You can run this card with a 450 W power supply unit, but we recommend going for something with more stamina if you want to tweak the clock speeds. 

Overall, this graphics card is easy to recommend for anyone looking to build a compact but powerful gaming rig.  

EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC Black

A powerful mini-ITX graphics card you can tweak

evga geforce rtx 2060 xc black

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
Engine Clock Speed 1680 (Boost)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 6 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock Speed 1750 MHz (14 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 1920
TDP 160 W
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0b

1 x DL-DVI

Dimensions 190 X 111 X 59 mm

Scores

Design 8
Performance 9
Value 8
Pros
  • Excellent gaming performance
  • Provides headroom for overclocking
Cons
  • Intrusive three-slot design

The EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC Black has a peculiar form factor that makes it somehow suitable and unsuitable for compact builds. It has a short circuit board that should fit into most mini-ITX chassis, but it also has a massive fin stack that occupies three slots.  

This graphics card comes with 1920 CUDA cores and 6 GB of GDDR6 VRAM. It has a very similar design and cooling system to the EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC. It passes the mark in thermal, acoustic, and gaming performance, making it a valuable addition to any system. 

At its core, this graphics card has the same specifications as the reference GeForce RTX 2060. It houses the same specialized hardware and is capable of the same features. However, its circuit board is significantly shorter than the reference card. It also has a thick fin stack that extends three slots, whereas the reference card occupies only two slots. 

This graphics card also has identical clock speeds to the reference design. It has a boost clock of 1680 MHz and provides some leeway for overclocking through a single eight-pin power connector. The comprehensive thermal design also translates to more overclocking potential than the reference card.

This graphics card has a dense cooling system with a centrally-mounted fan. The single fan features a unique blade design and is fitted with hydrodynamic bearings that reduce audible noise and improve the fan’s cooling ability and service life.

evga geforce rtx 2060 xc black (2)

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When it comes to gaming performance, this graphics card comfortably surpasses the MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Aero ITX OC it is meant to replace. It can run some of the most graphically intensive titles in 1440p high to ultra settings at over 60 FPS. It is comparable to the GeForce GTX 1080 and Radeon Vega 64 performance-wise, but neither of those cards has accelerated ray-tracing nor deep learning supersampling.

Unfortunately, the triple-slot design means that this graphics card isn’t compatible with some mini-ITX chassis. So if you haven’t picked out a compact case yet, make sure you buy something that can accommodate a triple-slot card.

Another drawback of this graphics card is the lack of a backplate; nonetheless, it looks premium and durable without one. It is likely to get hidden from sight inside your compact chassis anyway. This card also doesn’t have an idle-fan-stop feature, but the fan operates quietly when idling. 

When under load, the thermals of the graphics card peak around 71 °C. Noise levels remain acceptable at these temperatures and shouldn’t be audible if you sit a few feet away from the enclosed case when gaming.

All in all, this graphics card is a no-brainer for small-form-factor builds. You just have to ensure your case can cater to its three-slot design; otherwise, you’re going to experience a headache.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Twin Fan

A best bang-for-your-buck kind of option

zotac geforce gtx 1660 twin fan

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
Engine Clock Speed 1785 MHz (Boost)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 6 GB GDDR5
Memory Clock Speed 2001 MHz (8 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 1408
TDP 120 W
Video Outputs 3 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0b

Dimensions 173 X 111 X 35 mm

Scores

Design 8
Performance 8
Value 9
Pros
  • Good value
  • Provides overclocking headroom
  • Excellent cooling system
  • Power-efficient
Cons
  • Operates at baseline clock speeds out of the box

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Twin Fan is another compact graphics card with an efficient two-slot dual-fan design. It incorporates the same reference values set by NVIDIA, making it highly similar to most models from other card manufacturers with a base clock of 1530 MHz and a boost clock of 1785 MHz.

This graphics card features 1408 CUDA cores and 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. It has 128 fewer CUDA cores than the EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC but is significantly cheaper. Additionally, it is fitted with a single eight-pin power connector, giving you some clearance for overclocking. 

Like many of the alternatives on this list, this graphics card doesn’t have any lighting. It flaunts a monotonous black shroud and an exposed circuit board, prevalent among cards in this price point. Nevertheless, its simplistic design effectively keeps the price down without compromising thermal performance. It even has rear exhaust vents for sufficient airflow, keeping the temperatures around 65 °C under load. This card also matches its impressive cooling system with good acoustic performance. It isn’t whisper-quiet by any means, but it maintains acceptable noise levels under stress. 

This video card can handle graphically intensive games in 1440p ultra settings at around 60 FPS. If you have a 1080p monitor, you should have no trouble exceeding 60 FPS for most titles with this card.

zotac geforce gtx 1660 twin fan (2)

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It is worth noting that this graphics card doesn’t support NVLink or SLI, but you’re unlikely to put together a multi-graphics card setup in a compact case anyway. The card has a substantial heat sink surface that extends over the circuit board. However, it is still small enough to fit a mini-ITX chassis. 

This graphics card has a TDP of 120 W and is fitted with a single eight-pin power connector. A 450 W power supply unit should be sufficient, but if you plan on tweaking the clock speeds, we recommend going for something with more stamina. 

In terms of overclocking potential, you can push up to a 10% extra performance boost out of this graphics card. The results should be identical whether you want to manually adjust the clock speed or do it through the convenient OC Scanner. Moreover, this card is somewhat memory bandwidth limited, so tweaking the memory clock speed can significantly improve your frame rates.

All in all, there’s nothing to write home about this graphics card, but that’s perfectly fine. It runs on reference speeds out of the box but provides some overclocking room for enthusiasts. Additionally, it ticks all the boxes needed for a small-form-factor gaming rig: compact design, overclocking potential, excellent power consumption, and adequate cooling. If you have a system with a dated high-end graphics card like a GeForce GTX 970, the GeForce GTX 1660 is a suitable upgrade.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 OC

Budget mini-ITX graphics card for 1080p gaming

zotac geforce gtx 1650 oc

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Engine Clock Speed 1920 (OC)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 4 GB GDDR5
Memory Clock Speed 2001 MHz (8 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 896
TDP 75 W
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0b

1 x DL-DVI-D

Dimensions 151 X 111 X 39 mm

Scores

Design 8
Performance 7
Value 10
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Decent cooling system
Cons
  • Eccentric design

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 OC is one of the most power-efficient compact graphics cards you can get today. It has a TDP of 75 W and doesn’t require any power connectors, making it an excellent option for small-form-factor systems.

This graphics card has 896 CUDA cores and 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. While it isn’t nearly as powerful as some of the other options on this list, it remains a decent option for 1080p gaming. With a factory overclock of 1920 MHz, it can average 60 FPS in games like Grand Theft Auto V and Battlefield V at high to ultra settings. On average, this card performs around 27% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

zotac geforce gtx 1650 oc (2)

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This graphics card employs ZOTAC IceStorm 2.0 cooling technology to ensure stable operation under load. It has a specially designed sunflower-shaped aluminum heat sink that directly contacts the chipset for effective heat dissipation. A single fan blows cold air to the heat sink for optimal static pressure and maximum airflow. In addition, the fan blades have stripes meant to break airflow into smaller channels, allowing for a quiet rotation. Although it doesn’t have an idle-fan-stop feature, the fan is designed to operate silently under load.

The rudimentary cooling system does an excellent job of sustaining manageable temperatures. This graphics card maxes out at 68 °C under load when overclocked, staying below the 70 °C threshold.

In terms of design, this graphics card is pretty bland. It has no backplate, which is understandable considering the price point. Meanwhile, the groves and sharp edges on the plastic shroud give the card bold aesthetics. The compact size of the circuit board and heat sink ensures that this card fits in most mini-ITX cases.

This graphics card draws power solely from the motherboard, eliminating the need for power connectors. It also makes the card a suitable upgrade for pre-built systems. If you want to build a brand-new compact system or currently run on a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, this card is an excellent option.

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC

An excellent performer with some room for improvement

evga geforce gtx 1660 ti xc oc

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Engine Clock Speed 1845 MHz (OC)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 6 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock Speed 1500 MHz (12 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 1536
TDP 130 W
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0b

1 x DL-DVI

Dimensions 190 X 111 X 59 mm

Scores

Design 9
Performance 8
Value 7
Pros
  • Premium aesthetics
  • Power-efficient
  • Provides overclocking headroom
  • Turing architecture 
Cons
  • No factory overclock
  • Fan gets loud under load
  • Intrusive triple-slot design

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC is a mainstream graphics card that houses the chipset meant to replace the GeForce GTX 1060. It delivers performance on par with the GeForce GTX 1070 but is more power-efficient and had a lower launch price. Unfortunately, the price of this card has skyrocketed with the current market situation.

This graphics card has 1536 CUDA cores and 6 GB of GDDR6 VRAM. While it has fewer CUDA cores than the MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Aero ITX OC, it has a faster memory subsystem that makes up for the performance gap. It also comes with a single eight-pin power connector to give you some overclocking headroom. 

The GeForce 1660 Ti has the same architecture as RTX 2000-series cards, but it doesn’t have the specialized hardware that enables accelerated ray-tracing. This hardware consumes a significant portion of the die area, significantly increasing manufacturing costs. Nevertheless, it keeps the other improvements of the architecture, such as high-speed video memory, larger caches, concurrent execution of float and integer operations, and variable rate shading.

evga geforce gtx 1660 ti xc oc (2)

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This graphics card features a metal plate that sandwiches the thermal pads between components that produce the most heat. These thermal pads also keep the heat moving into the main sink assembly. A fairly thin copper pad makes direct contact with the chipset and connects to flat heat pipes. Meanwhile, an array of aluminum fins are soldered on the heat pipes to dissipate heat efficiently. Although this graphics card doesn’t have a backplate, it looks pretty premium and robust, especially when cramped inside a compact case. 

The small black shroud highlights the thickness of the fin stack to showcase the comprehensive thermal system. This shroud also houses the single fan that cools the entire card. Unfortunately, this graphics card has a three-slot design because of the massive fin stack, meaning it may not fit inside some mini-ITX chassis.

In terms of gaming performance, this graphics card can easily exceed the 60 FPS threshold with most games in 1080p high to ultra settings. You can even get excellent frame rates in 1440p if you tone down visual fidelity. 

While this graphics card doesn’t have a factory overclock, it has a slightly increased power limit for enhanced performance. It is clocked at reference speeds, so you can expect it to perform on par with most GeForce 1660 Ti models. This card has a low TDP of 130 W, making it a suitable upgrade for pre-built systems; however, you may want to get a decent 500 W power supply unit if you’re going to tweak the clock speeds. 

With regards to overclocking potential, you can get up to a 12% performance boost, given you have adequate cooling. This number entails increasing the boost clock from 1845 MHz to 2041 MHz.

This graphics card may not have the idle-fan-stop capabilities of some of the other single-fan options on this list, but it operates quietly. You shouldn’t even be able to tell the fan is spinning when idling, especially inside a compact case. On the other hand, the fan can get a bit loud under load, but it’s not overly distracting.

Overall, this graphics card is ideal for people who prefer playing at 1080p 60 FPS over higher resolutions. It also suits people who have a 1440p monitor and don’t mind toning down graphical settings in favor of decent frame rates. If you want to play in 1440p with high visual fidelity, check out the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC Black.

Unfortunately, the triple-slot design severely limits the compatibility of this graphics card to compact cases. Make sure your mini-ITX chassis has room for a three-slot card before buying this product.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 Super Twin Fan

An appealing choice for competitive 1080p gamers

zotac geforce gtx 1650 super twin fan

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Super
Engine Clock Speed 1725 MHz (Boost)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 4 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock Speed 1500 MHz (12 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 1280
TDP 100 W
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0b

1 x DL-DVI-D

Dimensions 159 X 115 X 35 mm

Scores

Design 8
Performance 8
Value 8
Pros
  • Provides overclocking headroom
  • Decent cooling system
Cons
  • Eccentric design

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 Super Twin Fan features a tight two-slot design for compact build enthusiasts. It is marginally better than the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 OC performance-wise but costs considerably more in the current market. 

The GeForce GTX 1650 Super houses 1280 CUDA cores and 4 GB of GDDR6 VRAM. It has around 42% more execution resources than the GeForce GTX 1650 and has a 50% increase in bandwidth. Unfortunately, these enhancements push the card’s power requirements to 100 W; thus, it is equipped with a single six-pin power connector. On the bright side, the increased power requirement gives you headroom for some overclocking.

This graphics card can run most games in 1080p at over 60 FPS as long as you tweak the graphics settings accordingly. If you play competitive online shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you should have no trouble getting well over 100 FPS in 1080p ultra settings.

zotac geforce gtx 1650 super twin fan (2)

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This graphics card has a relatively large radiator over the chipset and adequate rear exhaust vents to maintain manageable temperatures when gaming. Additionally, the compact dual-fan design makes this card compatible with most small-form-factor chassis. 

Although this graphics card has a reasonably rudimentary cooling system, it actually permits a generous headroom for overclocking. If you have the necessary tweaking experience, you can get up to an 11% performance boost through manual overclocking. 

In terms of aesthetics, this graphics card is pretty bare-bones. It has a decent pair of fans designed to keep the price down without compromising cooling performance. The exterior design may reflect the price point, but it doesn’t affect the card’s performance. Besides, it is likely to be tucked inside a compact case for no one to see anyway.

Overall, this graphics card is ideal for anyone building their first small-form-factor gaming rig. If you have a card from around five years ago, this product should also be a worthwhile upgrade.

ASUS Phoenix GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC

A power-efficient single-fan graphics card for compact rigs

asus phoenix geforce gtx 1660 super oc

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Specifications

Graphic Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Engine Clock Speed 1830 MHz (OC)
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory 6 GB GDDR6
Memory Clock Speed 1750 MHz (14 Gbps effective)
CUDA Cores 1408
TDP 125 W
Video Outputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x HDMI 2.0b

1 x DVI-D

Dimensions 174 X 121 X 39 mm

Scores

Design 8
Performance 7
Value 8
Pros
  • Compact single-fan design
  • Factory overclock
  • High-speed memory
  • Power-efficient
Cons
  • No idle-fan-stop feature
  • Fan gets loud under load
  • Subpar cooling system

The ASUS Phoenix GeForce GTX 1660 Super is a powerful compact graphics card that fits most mini-ITX cases. Like many of the alternatives on this list, it has a rudimentary but effective two-slot design with radially projecting fins cooled by a single fan. It even has a slight factory overclock of 15 MHz up from the NVIDIA reference boost clock. 

This graphics card has the exact CUDA core count as the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Twin Fan and is based on the same architecture. The clock reference clock speeds remain the same as well, with a 1530 MHz base clock and a 1785 MHz boost clock. However, the difference lies between their memory subsystems (GDDR5 for the GeForce GTX 1660 and GDDR6 for the GeForce GTX 1660 Super). This card is essentially faster than the EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC and is on par with the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC Black in terms of memory bandwidth. 

asus phoenix geforce gtx 1660 super oc (2)

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In a nutshell, this graphics card performs about 20% better than its predecessor with the same hardware besides memory subsystems. It matches the performance of a GeForce GTX 1070 and is primarily designed for 1080p competitive gaming. However, you should be able to get decent frame rates in 1440p with even the most graphically demanding titles. 

Unfortunately, this graphics card lacks the idle-fan-stop capability that some of the alternatives on this list offer, but it does have the single fan run at very low speeds when not under load. On the other hand, the cooler can get quite loud when gaming, but it should drown out when installed in a compact case with other actively cooled components. Of course, you can also place your system as far away from yourself as possible if you’re sensitive to fan noise. 

Another drawback of this graphics card is its thermal performance. It can reach temperatures up to 86 °C under load, especially when constricted in a tight space, so you might want to have adequate case airflow to prevent thermal throttling. You don’t necessarily have to worry about overheating, but thermal throttling is detrimental to gaming performance. 

The culprit of the poor thermal performance is likely the inferior quality of the heat sink. It is utterly lacking in heat pipes and makes up for a small portion of the card’s overall footprint. There is plenty of room under the shroud that could’ve been optimized for a proper cooling system. 

This graphics card has a 150 W TDP and is fitted with a single eight-pin power connector. When it comes to overclocking potential, you can get a performance bump of around 10% tweaking this graphics card. However, you may want to ensure you have adequate cooling before pushing this card beyond baseline clock speeds.

Notable Mentions

  1. MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX – This graphics card is the only compact entry from AMD on this list. It has 896 Stream Processors and 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, making it a decent choice for budget 1080p gaming. 
  2. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Mini –  The GeForce GTX 1070 Ti is an excellent option for high-fidelity 1440p gaming. This card houses 2432 CUDA cores and 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM in a compact form factor suitable for compact builds. 
  3. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Mini – This graphics card features one of the most powerful chipsets from NVIDIA before the Turing architecture era. Housing 2560 CUDA cores and 8 GB of GDDR5X VRAM, it can run most games in 1440p and 4K at excellent frame rates.  

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right Mini-ITX Graphics Card


The size and performance of third-party graphics cards vary significantly depending on the model and manufacturer. Reference cards from NVIDIA and AMD are highly reliable, but they aren’t suitable for small-form-factor builds. With the ever-increasing demand for compact cards, vendors like ZOTAC, EVGA, ASUS, and MSI, have produced powerful cards that adhere to the specifications of reference cards but are explicitly designed for mini-ITX cases. These cards have differences in shape, size, port configuration, clock speeds, cooling system, but they perform similar to the reference card for the most part. 

Factors like size, power, and cooling demands need to be considered when building a small-form-factor rig. Before deciding to dive into the compact system bandwagon, make sure you read this comprehensive buyer’s guide to ensure you don’t encounter issues with your build.

Comparing Compact Graphics Cards to Low-Profile Graphics Cards

The distinction between compact graphics cards and low-profile graphics cards must first be established. Low-profile graphics cards are slim and are often longer than their compact counterparts. They are designed for slim or low-profile chassis, usually meant for home entertainment systems. 

On the other hand, compact graphics cards are often thicker but shorter than low-profile alternatives. They are primarily designed for mini-ITX cases, but they are also suitable for microATX and ATX chassis.

The graphics cards included in this list are only compact graphics cards. While some low-profile cards are powerful enough for gaming, their form factor severely limits the hardware they can accommodate. 

Case Size

The most important consideration when choosing a compact graphics card is the size of your case. Before picking out a card, you must ensure the interior of your chassis has enough clearance to accommodate it.  

Most mini-ITX cases indicate the maximum graphics card dimension it can house on their online product page or user manual. Otherwise, you can get a ruler or tape measure, pop off your chassis’ side panel and get a rough estimate yourself. If you opt to do the latter, measure the area from the PCIe card expansion brackets parallel to the PCIe slot, all the way to the first obstruction you run across. That should show the maximum card length your case can accommodate. If you want a three-slot graphics card like the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC Black, ensure your case has room for mounting the card across three expansion slots.

Cable Management

Another crucial factor you need to consider when building a compact system is your power supply unit’s cable routing. All of the cards on this list besides the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 OC are fitted with power cable connectors that draw power from your power supply unit. It adds to the overall width of a graphics card, so you must ensure there’s enough space between the card and your case’s side panel for the power connector. 

Quick Recap of the Best ITX Graphics Cards of 2021

  1. EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XCA high-speed mini-ITX graphics card for high-resolution gaming
  2. ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2070 Super MiniA suitable premium alternative that performs nearly as well
  3. ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 2070 Mini OCOverclocked right out of the box for excellent 1440p performance 
  4. MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Aero ITX OCBest single-fan mini-ITX graphics card on the market
  5. EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC BlackA powerful mini-ITX graphics card you can tweak
  6. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Twin FanA best bang-for-your-buck kind of option
  7. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 OCBudget mini-ITX graphics card for 1080p gaming
  8. EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XAn excellent performer with some room for improvement
  9. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1650 Super Twin FanAn appealing choice for competitive 1080p gamers
  10. ASUS Phoenix GeForce GTX 1660 Super OCA power-efficient single-fan graphics card for compact rigs
  11. MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero ITXThe only entry on this list from team red
  12. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti MiniSuitable for high-fidelity 1440p gaming
  13. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 MiniA powerful albeit dated alternative

Conclusion

That wraps up our list of the best mini-ITX graphics cards on the market. These cards are explicitly designed for small-form-factor enthusiasts who want to squeeze as much power as possible in a constrained chassis. If you have experience building compact systems, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Still unsure which card suits your needs best? Don’t hesitate to ask us!

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I am a gaming enthusiast with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in the world of technology. In addition to being a resident contributor to this website, I am currently pursuing a degree in political science while flipping gaming systems on the side.

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