Nvidia GeForce GT 1030 2GB Review

Meet Gigabyte's Low-Profile GeForce GT 1030 Cards

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 Low Profile 2G

The length of Gigabyte's GeForce GT 1030 Low Profile 2G, from the edge of its slot bracket to the end of the cooler, is just 15.2cm. Its height, from the bottom of the PCIe slot to the cooler's top, is 7cm. A depth of 1.5cm is less than the width of a slot bracket, so you're firmly in single-slot territory here.

This card is also incredibly light at just 135g. Its slot bracket can be removed easily by unfastening a screw in order to switch it out for the bundled low-profile bracket.

There’s no backplate; it's simply not needed. The same goes for any other form of eye candy. Gigabyte's goal is to keep things simple, enabling the lowest price possible.

Given a 30W TDP, there's also no need for an auxiliary power connector. This card gets everything it needs from the motherboard's PCIe slot. 

Air flows horizontally across the small heat sink. Most of it is pushed in the direction of the PC case’s side wall.

A dual-link DVI-D connector (without an analog signal) and an HDMI 2.0b port are found on the slot bracket.

Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 Silent Low Profile 2G

The GT 1030 Silent Low Profile 2G is, as its name reveals, also a low-profile card. It's height matches the actively-cooled model. But it's longer: the outer edge of the slot bracket to the end of the cooler measures 17.5cm. The passive version of Gigabyte’s GT 1030 isn't quite as slim, and it's also significantly heavier at 336g.

A depth of 3.5cm is attributable to the heat sink's many fins. This makes the card exactly two expansion slots wide. Again, the full-length slot bracket can be switched out for a bundled low-profile one.

The two cards’ PCBs are identical with one exception: the silent model lacks a fan connector. It has the space for it, but Gigabyte omits this component to save money.

Naturally, a passive design is dominated by cooling fins. There are spaces between the fins both horizontally and vertically, so thermal performance should be comparable regardless of the orientation in your case. Wherever air is coming from, the heat sink behaves similarly.

Although it'd be nice to have DisplayPort connectivity, the same DVI-D and HDMI 2.0b connectors have to suffice.

Support for 4K output at 60Hz makes both of these cards great choices in HTPCs.

Board Layout

The two identical PCBs don’t really have any unique features, but we'll still take a closer look at them.

At first, Gigabyte designed its GT 1030s with just one power phase in mind. However, the company switched to two for thermal reasons; a one-phase solution would have resulted in extreme hot-spots.

The two phases are controlled by a small uPI Semiconductor uP1666 buck controller. Alpha & Omega Semiconductor supplies the low-side's AON6414A and high-side's AON6508 MOSFETs.

Foxonn's Magic chokes do their job without fanfare. Our instrumentation tells us they're completely inaudible at the current levels running through them on these graphics cards.

The graphics memory is sourced from Micron. We find two 1GB GDDR5 modules operating at 6 Gb/s. Attached to a 64-bit aggregate bus, they achieve a peak bandwidth of 48 GB/s.

The memory’s PWM controller is hidden well around back. uPI Semiconductor's uP1542 is a simple single-channel buck controller responsible for the GDDR5's one phase. Both the high- and low-side are taken care of by a single QM3203S dual N-channel fast-switching MOSFET.

The Two Coolers

Both coolers are made from extruded aluminum. That's where their similarities end, though. The active model's heat sink is black, 9cm long, and 1cm thick. It doesn’t cover the voltage regulation circuitry. Then again, it couldn’t really be any longer without hitting capacitors and coils.

The 5cm fan is recessed into the cooler. It has seven blades and is designed to maximize airflow.

Meanwhile, the passive heat sink is 17cm long and 3.2cm thick. There's even a part specifically designed to help cool the VRM.

Its surface has not been treated in any way. The thick cooling fins have many small grooves, which significantly increase their surface area.

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28 comments
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  • turkey3_scratch
    This is a fantastic chip! Seeing as it performs nearly on-par with the 750Ti, it has approximately double the performance/power ratio. It is also perfect for a noiseless PC, the passively cooled one is.
  • takeshi7
    Does this card work with 4K Netflix? From what I've read Nvidia requires 3GB VRAM for it which seems stupid and arbitrary. 2GB is enough to buffer several seconds of 4K movie frames.
  • King_V
    Definitely interesting. Going through the initial tests, I actually started wondering why the RX550 was lower in the hierarchy charts than the 750Ti.

    Then, when they switched positions in some other tests, it became more clear. And, I concluded that even putting certain cards in tiers relative to each other is not that easy.

    I was very glad to see this test, though, as I'd previously considered getting the GT1030. My need for it is no longer there.

    Overall, I think the 750Ti, RX 550, and RX 460 are closer to each other than I anticipated. It does seem the 1030 is behind them all, but not too far behind.

    Thanks for this review. I can't wait to see where it ultimately falls in the hierarchy chart(which, oddly, is missing the RX 560 but I suspect that is in the same tier as the RX 460)
  • Boom_4
    TAKESHI7
    yes it's enough, IDK where you heard that you need 3gb or VRAM.
  • hendriksnyder
    Will this work with a core I7 7700k? And would it be able to run games like FO4 and TitanFall 2 on ultra settings?
  • takeshi7
    2497723 said:
    TAKESHI7 yes it's enough, IDK where you heard that you need 3gb or VRAM.


    Multiple sources say you need 3GB VRAM
    http://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4457/~/preview-of-4k-uhd-netflix-content-on-nvidia-gpus
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/3193566/components-graphics/nvidia-quietly-opens-4k-netflix-streaming-on-geforce-gtx-10-series-graphics-cards.html

    It's pretty stupid because that means you have to spend twice as much to get a 1050 Ti minimum.
  • zcat
    Can't wait to swap out my miniITX's old 750Ti with a true successor that's twice as powerful at the same bus-powered max of 60W.
  • mikegrok
    I am going to be installing a bunch of these into a dental office as soon as stocks get better. Dental offices have 2 monitors per computer (usually using the gti 720). One for work, and one to show Netflix, and distract the patients. The computers have CPUs that don't accelerate h265, and the 1000 series nvidia GPUs accelerate the current video codecs.
  • Kuo Ping
    got this card for months and really love it for LOL.
  • caamsa
    Wow things must be slow in the world of computer hardware.
  • Wisecracker
    Almost makes me wish I had a shelf full of 750 TIs ...

    I know I'm going way out on a limb here, but I'm thinking the Raven Ridge APUs are going to slide rather nicely into these charts -- except for that sometime-ugly DX11 thing that bites 'em in the rear.

    I'm also thinking that's why the RXs haven't dropped in price, or in some cases, gone up. It gives room to slash prices (they do like to brawl at certain price points) before they blow-up the low-end product stack with the RR APU.

    It also seems to me that the 'stars' may finally be aligning for dual graphics (after all these years!) ... DX12, Vulkan, fast DDR4 with specific addressable memory space, Free-Sync, CCX fabric, and all those 'nCUs' pulling together (with decent drivers!) could be knockin' some slobber ...

    Or ... maybe not :lol:
  • ledhead11
    I'd actually be interested in a comparison between one of these and a 7xxx high end Intel CPU w/ integrated. Seems to me the gap is getting much smaller.
  • 10tacle
    "CONS -
    Trails AMD's Radeon RX 550 in DX12/Vulkan-based games"


    The RX 550 also starts at $90 and can run up to $120 (USD) depending on variant, putting it right into the pricing bull's eye of the faster 750Ti and even faster yet 2GB RX 460 on the used market. Also someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the 550 not available in small form factor?
  • Mojazz
    2241107 said:
    Will this work with a core I7 7700k? And would it be able to run games like FO4 and TitanFall 2 on ultra settings?


    Lol
  • IInuyasha74
    I'm fairly disappointed this this GPU. I just feel Nvidia crippled the card too much by sticking it with a 64-bit memory bus. I in general hate to see components held back by RAM limitations, because it is an artificial limitation placed on the core due to inadequate bandwidth.

    GDDR5 isn't as expensive as it used to be, however, so hopefully an OEM will produce one with faster vRAM.
  • SteelCity1981
    i don't know what some of you are seeing but the 1030 is not better than the 750 Ti. in fact it trails behind the 750 Ti in everything and in some things by a nice margin.
  • caamsa
    409959 said:
    i don't know what some of you are seeing but the 1030 is not better than the 750 Ti. in fact it trails behind the 750 Ti in almost everything and in some things by a nice margin.


    I was thinking the same thing. It is on par with the 750 but not the 750 Ti. If you go on YouTube there are a lot of benchmarks of these low end cards pitted against other low end cards. Not to knock Toms but I have found a lot of great review sources on YouTube.
  • 80-watt Hamster
    202972 said:
    "CONS -
    Trails AMD's Radeon RX 550 in DX12/Vulkan-based games"
    The RX 550 also starts at $90 and can run up to $120 (USD) depending on variant, putting it right into the pricing bull's eye of the faster 750Ti and even faster yet 2GB RX 460 on the used market. Also someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the 550 not available in small form factor?


    There's at least one low-profile variant of the 550 available (from MSI), though it's got a double-slot cooler on it. You're right about pricing, though; it was supposed to trade at $80, and really needs to be closer to $70 to compete with the 1030. As it stands now, there's hardly any reason to choose a 550 over a 560 or GTX 1050, which can both be had for not much north of $100. Putting it up against used pricing is a little unfair, though.
  • King_V
    Agreed. The R7 250E/7750, which is a 55W part, was made available in single-slot low profile, there's no excuse for the RX 550, which draws a few less watts than that, to have a similar solution.

    EDIT: Also, given that the GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti have a TDP of 55 and 60W respectively, likewise, there doesn't seem to be any good reason for a single-slot cooling solution on a low-profile card for them, either. Had there been, I likely would've purchased one of those cards in lieu of the somewhat difficult to find 250E/7750 single-slot-low-profile.


    Also agreed that the higher end Intel Integrated graphics (is it called the 630?) might make an interesting comparison, though I can't argue with the fact that it's unlikely that someone with a high-end modern Intel CPU would be playing in the low-end graphics market.

    I'm really looking forward to the update in the hierarchy chart, not just to see where exactly they place the 1030, but to see if other's in surrounding tiers get shuffled slightly. Based on its current position in the chart, I would've assumed the RX550 would've performed worse than it did here.
  • daglesj
    I think its time the 64bit bus was done away with.
  • Nintendork
    RX550 for just $20 more destroys that joke of a dGPU.

    RX560 4GB is still the thing you should buy.
  • Nintendork
    The best thing of buying a passive <100w gpu is using a 120mm 800-1000rpm fan on top of it. Ridiculous temps with that.
  • King_V
    The 1030 is still worthwhile as a card if you're limited to a single-slot-height cooler AND low profile card. The 550, I think, should be available in such a form factor, but isn't. Likewise the 750Ti should have been available like this, but wasn't.
  • why_wolf
    Should be a great little card for office PCs that can't use onboard video or need some multi monitor support.