Redefining Compact Graphics
Any enthusiast who builds systems to-order for family and friends will, at some point, be asked to work magic with parts that fall outside the realm of traditional. Nowadays, we simply come to expect that any graphics card purporting to be high-end is going to end up eating two expansion slots worth of space. This problem is particularly vexing to gamers, since compact systems often require a card that’s either shorter in length, height, or thickness than the fastest boards, which absolutely tend to also be the largest. We’ve even reviewed so-called performance-oriented graphics card in a half-height format, but that supposedly-compact part still required two slots. What’s a builder with minimal expansion options to do with only one available slot?
When we heard that a few vendors were finally going to buck the trend and nudge us back in the direction of enthusiast-class graphics cards designed to fit within a single slot of space, we invited 17 of our closest industry contacts to take part in a roundup. Four companies promised us a card to test, and only three delivered on that promise. Today we get to see how these three solutions compare.
|Single-Slot Graphics Comparison Specifications|
|Afox Radeon HD 6850 AF6850-1024D5S1||ECS GeForce GT 440 NGT440-1GQI-F1||MSI GeForce GTS 450 N450GTS-M2D1GD5|
|GPU Clock||775 MHz||810 MHz||783 MHz|
|DVI||One Dual-Link||One Dual-Link||Two Dual-Link|
|DisplayPort||Full and Mini||None||None|
|VGA||By Adapter||Onboard||By Adapter|
|Output Adapters||None||None||DVI-to-VGA Full-HDMI|
|Weight||14 Ounces||8 Ounces||13 Ounces|
|VRM||Four Phases||Three Phases||Four Phases|
|Warranty||One Year||Three Years||Three Years|