Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series consumer graphics cards and its Ampere architecture are generally not the company's most economical solutions in terms of power consumption, at least compared to its launches over the last several years. Yet, with a proper power management and cooling system, you can get an Ampere into a Mini-ITX system. Palit Microsystems is the first graphics card maker to bring Ampere to the small form factor.
Palit Microsystems, which happens to be one of the world's largest graphics card makers with its Palit, Gainward, Galax, and KFA2 brands, is among the first to announce Mini-ITX add-in-boards running Nvidia's GA106-300 graphics processing units with 3584 CUDA cores as well as 12GB of GDDR6 memory.
So far, the company has introduced four Mini-ITX GeForce RTX 3060 boards: the Palit GeForce RTX 3060 StormX, the Palit GeForce RTX 3060 StormX OC, the Gainward GeForce RTX 3060 Pegasus, and the Gainward GeForce RTX 3060 Pegasus OC. For some reason, Palit has yet to add Mini-ITX GeForce RTX 3060 cards into its Galax lineup and actually unveil any KFA2-branded GeForce RTX 30-series products.
All four Mini-ITX GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards use a dual-slot cooling system with one fan and have four display outputs – four DisplayPort 1.4a connectors as well as one HDMI 2.1 port. The cooling systems have multiple heat pipes and can stop the fan under light loads, yet they have different shrouds, and it is unclear whether the coolers used by the Gainward and Palit brands are actually different. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the boards use the same PCB design.
The cards are said to consume up to 170W of power and feature one eight-pin PCIe auxiliary power connector. Measuring 170mm x 125 mm, the boards can physically be installed into a Mini-ITX chassis, yet not all SFX power supply units have an eight-pin power connector.
From a performance point of view, the Palit and Gainward-branded Mini-ITX GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards feature a default GPU clock of 1320MHz and a boost clock of 1777MHz. Meanwhile, Palit has yet to disclose boost frequencies of OC versions of these cards, which probably means that the boards will be available later.
Palit does not list MSRPs of its products on its websites, so we do not know whether Mini-ITX versions of its GeForce RTX 3060 will cost more than regular models with large cooling systems.