Published on 11th February, 2021
Good news for current and future LZ7 owners, a number of next gen ITX length (mini) graphics cards have been announced by various manufacturers, making it possible to cram in even more performance and features into your LZ7!
At the moment they are mainly on the NVidia side with their new RTX 3000 series cards, but AMD have also teased in a recent presentation a short version of an RX 6000 series card, hopefully third party manufacturers will also announce their own models soon:
One of the most popular ITX cards from previous generations has been the MSI AERO ITX, renowned for its quiet and cool operation. MSI have done it again with a dual slot mini ITX versions of the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti, making it a top choice gaming GPU for the Lazer3D LZ7 PC Case:
Gainward and Palit have also announced their own ITX versions of the RTX 3060 cards:
Gigabyte are usually first to announce an ITX version of the latest generation, but we haven’t seen anything from them so far, I wouldn’t be surprised however to see them announce a refreshed version of their ITX shroud models that will compete with the MSI AERO ITX models.
Come on Gigabyte, show us what you’ve got!
NVidia’s 3000 series cards offer a significant step up in performance over their previous generation at similar price levels, making them great value choices if you can manage to find one in stock close to retail prices.
Availability is currently very low due to high demand in combination with another rise in the popularity of cryptocurrency GPU mining fueled by Bitcoin and Ethereum’s continuing rise in dollar value.
Hopefully the situation will begin to improve over the next couple of months.
One of the ways NVidia has managed to increase performance so much from generation to generation is by adding allot more cores at higher clock speeds, however power efficiency has not improved at the same rate, resulting in much higher overall power draws with each new generation.
With increased power draw comes increased heat output and there is a limit to what can be cooled by a short length single fan heatsink design, hence why we have seen a trend in the past few years towards oversized triple slot, triple fan cards.
NVidia’s 1000 series of cards were the last generation where we saw allot of ITX length card models, the main reason for this was that even their GTX 1070 model only ran at 170w TDP, whereas a modern RTX 3070 runs at 220w TDP.
In the past we’ve seen single fan cards go as high as 180w TDP with the Gigabyte GTX 1080 ITX, I would say this card was near it’s limit in terms of thermal cooling capability. The RTX 3080 in comparison runs at a monstrous 320w TDP, even NVidia themselves have had to rethink how they can cool their Founders Edition and keep it dual slot, but even then they’ve had to increase it to 285mm in length stretching beyond the 267mm reference sizing limits.
In conclusion, at 200w TDP I think the RTX 3060 Ti is likely to be the most powerful GPU we will see this generation in the ‘Dual Slot, ITX length, Single Fan’ form factor.
AMD are yet to announce their RX 6700 and RX 6600 models which could potentially be under 200w TDP and therefore have ITX length potential, alternatively NVidia may refresh their lineup with ‘SUPER’ models of the 3060 as we saw last generation that could make it into the mini category if they have improved energy efficiency.
EVGA are one of my favorite GPU manufacturers ever since they released their ITX length GTX 960 SC back in 2015/16, at the time it was quite revolutionary to see a fully capable mid/high tier GPU in such a short length and is what originally inspired the LZ7 to be developed.
They continued this trend with a dual slot ITX version of the GTX 1060 SC, however I was disappointed when they decided to opt for a triple slot design with their RTX 2060 model, I’m guessing they chose to do this due to the higher TDP, although both MSI and Gigabyte managed to release great performing dual slot ITX versions of the RTX 2060 without needing to make them triple slot:
EVGA true to form have announced their own mini version of the RTX 3060 Ti, although it’s not quite ITX length measuring at 202mm, meaning it won’t fit in the LZ7 (limited to 186mm GPU length), but I am happy to see that they have at least kept it dual slot:
ASUS have also announced a mini version of the RTX 3060 Ti with a similar to EVGA dual fan dual slot 200mm form factor:
We are working on an updated version of the LZ7 that will feature increased GPU length, allowing the recently announced 200mm EVGA and Asus RTX 3060 Ti dual fan models to fit in the case, for quieter cooler performance. More details to be announced over the coming weeks, in the mean time you can find out more HERE.
Thanks for reading!