Quest for Mini-ITX Excellence
Chinese content creator Sanxing Technology has an interesting video focused entirely on graphics cards with the smallest form factor.
The video showcases four designs, all of which feature a single fan and are Mini-ITX configurations. This review is interesting because all of these cards have a GeForce RTX 4060 GPU. It is rare to see reviews of such GPUs, and it is even rarer to see four cards in one comparison.
The RTX 4060 appears to be the optimal card for this purpose, as it boasts a TDP of only 115W, and it is NVIDIA’s cheapest GPU. Despite the lowest price in RTX 40 series, this card still delivers satisfactory performance, comparable to that of the Intel Arc A7 series.
The reviewer tested four cards, including Colorful’s Mini, Zotac SOLO, Inno3D Mini-ITX and the one and only Yeston Cute Pet. All cards were put through synthetic and gaming tests showing marginal 2-3% difference in most tests. However, what should be given more attention are thermals and noise levels.
The graph design aside (which does not start from 0), it appears that finding the clear winner may be problematic. The Colorful’s Mini GPU is indeed the coolest card of them all, but this comes at a cost of higher fan speeds and almost 5 dB more noise than the quietest model.
There is also a large gap between the coolest and warmest cards as tested with FurMark. The Colorful GPU is 66°C, while Inno3D’s model could reach 77°C during the same test. A 13°C difference is not something to ignore when building a Mini-ITX system.
The GPU architecture underneath the small Mini-ITX coolers has changed significantly over the past few years, such GPUs can now deliver great gaming performance with moderate settings. However, the limitations of the size and lack of new ideas in the area of cooling technology have slowed down progress. It appears that companies are not as eager to make 200W cards with this design now as they were just a few years ago.