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Single-Slot Graphics: Whose Card Is Fastest?

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 AF6850-1024D5S1ECS GeForce GT 440 NGT440-1GQI-F1MSI GeForce GTS 450 N450GTS-M2D1GD5
GPU Clock775 MHz810 MHz783 MHz
DRAM RateGDDR5-4000GDDR5-3200GDDR5-3606
DVIOne Dual-LinkOne Dual-LinkTwo Dual-Link
DisplayPortFull and MiniNoneNone
VGABy AdapterOnboardBy Adapter
Output AdaptersNoneNoneDVI-to-VGA Full-HDMI
Total Thickness0.8"0.8"0.8"
Cooler Thickness0.6"0.6"0.6"
Weight14 Ounces8 Ounces13 Ounces
PCB VersionCustomV1.0000(B)
VRMFour PhasesThree PhasesFour Phases
WarrantyOne YearThree YearsThree Years