What Are The GPU Form Factors?
There are three main form factors when it comes to GPUs, which are compact, mid-size, and full-size. The smaller the GPU is usually the less power it has, but the bigger a GPU is the less compatible it becomes on the hardware side of things.
Throughout this article, we will go through the advantages and disadvantages of each GPU format factor.
Mini or Compact GPUs
Mini or compact GPUs usually come between 6-8 inches in length averaging out to around 170mm. These GPUs are made to fit in smaller cases that are mini-itx size. These small GPUs although compact, can still deliver a good amount of performance.
Most compact GPUs are usually mid-tier in performance. For Nvidia, they are usually the graphics cards that end with a 60. So, the GTX 1060, RTX 2060, or RTX 3060.
You can also get lower-end models such as the GTX 1050, which are compact.
If you are looking for a compact GPU look for one with a single or double cooling fan.
- Good for compact builds
- Quiet due to less fan noise
- Is compatible with most builds
- Reduced performance compared to full-sized GPUs
- Fewer output ports
- Prone to overheating in crowded builds.
8-10 inches in length is what you should expect in size for a mid-size GPU. This averages out to around 235mm.
If you are looking for a more recent GPU this is typically what you should be expecting. Most mid-range 30 and 40-series GPUs from Nvidia come within the size of a mid-sized GPU.
These graphics cards can easily be spotted because they come with 2 cooling fans and are the most common type of GPU.
They balance performance, cooling, and size. Typically more powerful than a compact GPU, but won’t be as powerful as a full-sized one.
Mid-sized GPUs are most suitable for ATX-sized builds.
- Very versatile
- Fits in the majority of cases except for very compact builds
- Offers a good balance between performance and size
- Best Value
- Can’t maximize overclocking due to smaller cooling system
- Cooling is not as efficient compared to Full-Sized GPUs
Full-sized GPUs can range in size but are usually longer than 10 inches in length. Currently, one of the largest GPUs is the RTX 4090 which is almost 12 inches.
Keep in mind that a compact GPU can be as small as 6 inches which is basically half the size of the RTX 4090.
Full-sized GPUs offer the best cooling, and performance because there is no size requirement. The point of a full-sized GPU is to provide you with the best version of everything.
- Maximum Performance
- Better Cooling System
- More Overclocking Potential
- More Output Ports
- Needs a Larger Case
- More Noise Due to More Cooling Fans
- Consumes a Lot of Power (Higher TGP/TDP)
Single Slot vs. Dual Slot vs. Triple Slot GPU: What’s The Difference?
The “slot” size of the GPU can determine the compatibility as well. This might be new to many of you so I’ve decided to summarize it in a very concise way.
“Slot” in the context of GPUs denotes the amount of space the GPU occupies on both the motherboard and the rear of the computer case. GPUs are categorized based on their slot configurations: single-slot, dual-slot, or triple-slot. The choice of configuration is influenced by the GPU’s cooling mechanism and other supplementary features.
Single Slot GPUs
A single-slot GPU takes up only one slot on the motherboard, as well as the computer case. For more compact builds this can be very beneficial, but because it only takes up one slot it will have fewer output ports, such as HDMI ports, etc.
Dual Slot GPUs
Dual slot GPUs are larger and will take up 2 slot spaces on both the case and motherboard of your PC. Dual slot typically comes hand and hand with mid-sized GPUs. They have bigger heatsinks, which means more adequate cooling, but in return take up more space which can be a problem for many people.
Triple Slot GPUs
Triple-slot GPUs need space for 3 slots on the motherboard and case. This takes up a lot of space meaning if you need room for extra peripherals, such as a wifi card, or an M.2 SSD, you might not have the compatibility to do so.
However, the reason why triple-slot GPUs exist is because of the very large heatsinks they come with. Even though this takes up a lot of depth inside of your computer, you won’t have to worry about it overheating, even when you overclock.
How GPU Form Factor Affects Performance
After reading the information above you can probably get a general idea of why the GPUs form factor affects performance.
GPU form factor can affect performance because the GPU is bigger due to the factor that there is more technology inside. Hardware includes heatsinks, cooling systems, larger processors, transistors, etc. All take up space.
The bigger this hardware is the more components there are will affect both the size of the GPU and the performance of one as well.