mini graphics card vs full size graphics card

It is a common question among computer users these days, especially when they are in need to upgrade their PC. With the recent release of new graphics cards from both Nvidia and AMD, many people are wondering what are the exact differences between these two types of graphics cards. Is taking up more space on your motherboard really worth it? The answer to this question is very complex, covering several aspects. Here are some facts that can help you decide which one to get.

Mini Graphics Card Vs Full Size Graphics Card

what is mini graphics card?

A mini graphics card, also known as a Low Profile (LP) Graphics Card is a special kind of the regular graphics card. They are designed to fit into a smaller form factor by taking up less space on your motherboard. This enables computer manufacturers to install powerful-yet-smaller cards in their desktop and laptop PCs without compromising performance. To make it even more appealing, they often come with fancy cooler designs that look great inside modern PC cases made from aluminum or tempered glass panels.

what is full size graphics card?

A Full Size Graphics Card is anything that comes with standard dimensions needed to be installed inside a full size tower case. As the name suggests, these types of graphics cards require at least one PCI-E slot and will make make your PC tower bigger. Despite the fact that most modern full size graphics cards come in a compact design, they are still quite big and their dimensions may make them impossible to fit inside smaller-sized desktop cases.

Mini Graphics Card Vs Full Size Graphics Card

GPU performance comparison

While it is true that mini-ITX motherboards have their own connectors for PCIe buses it does not mean that they come with the same bus width. Mini-ITX motherboards have their PCIe bus width cut in half compared to regular ATX motherboard. You can check out our article on different graphics card connection types where we go into greater detail about the subject.

Since the mini-ITX has a shorter path for data transfer between your CPU and GPU, it is safe to assume that the overall performance will be lower. This means that your CPU and GPU will not be able to communicate as fast, thus negatively impacting all applications that use your GPUs for calculations.

This can mean a serious issue when it comes to complex tasks such as playing games or rendering movies in HD quality, which use up a lot of resources from your GPU. You will not notice the difference in everyday tasks, but they may become slower when using graphics intensive applications which hinder your overall productivity.

mini graphics card vs full size graphics card: Size comparison

When choosing a Mini ITX case it is important that you take into consideration if you plan to add another GPU or more hard drives in the future. You do not want to buy a case that you will not be able to upgrade later on, just because it is smaller than regular cases.

Power usage comparison

It looks like mini-ITX motherboards are winning in this category as well since they require very little power compared to fully sized motherboards. Mini-ITX motherboards use less power than any other standard form factor motherboard out there which is the main reason why they are very popular among gamers and system integrators.

Noise levels comparison

Smaller cases equal to smaller fans which usually cannot provide enough cooling for your hardware components, leading to higher GPU temperature. This will also lead to increased noise levels since your case fans can rotate faster in order to dissipate all the heat from your PC case. All of this means that you will need additional case fans or CPU cooler if you plan on overclocking or running your GPUs at 100% load for prolonged periods of time. We definitely recommend checking how much space you have inside your case before taking a final decision.

Price Comparison

When choosing the right form factor for your next PC build you need to consider all aspects including price difference. You can find mini-ITX motherboards at similar prices compared to regular-sized ones, but there are also many cases that are smaller than standard cases but offer better functionality. This will increase the overall price of your Mini ITX gaming rig so make sure that you do not fall into this trap. As one can see from the above-mentioned pros and cons, it is up to you whether or not buying a mini one would be beneficial in the long term since it depends on each individuals and budget limitations.

Additional Information

Here are some additional tips for you if you want to save space and time when building your Mini ITX PC. Building a smaller computer requires less effort, but it also takes more time than regular builds. Here is what you need to be aware of:

  • The smaller the case, the less room there is for spare parts which will quickly turn into frustration if something goes wrong with your build
  • Fully sized GPUs may not fit in small cases without modifications
  • Because of limited space inside, good airflow is crucial for every mini-ITX gaming rig
  • Smaller PSU units simply do not provide enough power which can lead to problems down the road if you plan on adding additional components
  • You should consider using SFX power supplies which are rated 80+ Gold and provide enough power to accommodate your Mini ITX gaming rig

Which is better mini graphics card vs full size?

Mini graphics cards are cool, but sometimes they simply do not provide enough power for your needs. If you plan on playing games at 1080p or 1440p resolutions, you will definitely need better hardware inside your Mini ITX gaming rig in order to run modern titles smoothly. Full size GPUs will allow you to play latest games without any compromises and without worrying that your computer will break down after some time due to insufficient cooling capabilities.

WeFinal Thoughts

Both Full Size and Mini Graphics Cards have their advantages and disadvantages. You will probably get more performance for the money when investing in a high-end Full Size Card, but if you value aesthetics and battery life on laptops in higher than power and speed, then Mini ones are definitely the way to go. It’s important to understand that not all low profile graphics cards deliver poor performance so do your research well before spending money on one. If possible, I would recommend trying out the card at home before buying it just to be sure that it works properly in your PC case/laptop. Good luck with your shopping!