Absolute smallest PCI-e GPU available? (performance *not* a factor at all)

I’m building a SFF home server from parts I had laying around (case, cooler, and fans were only items bought for this), but I neglected to check whether the motherboard BIOS had an option to run headless (i.e. ignore not having a GPU and boot anyways). Apparently MSI doesn’t allow this, but other manufacturers do allow you to run without a GPU at all. Seems like a silly thing to enforce, but eh.

Part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/VrnQTB

I had a low profile PNY Quadro NVS 295 lying around, but it almost completely blocks the intake fans at 6.5 in/165 mm long. The fan above the CPU will be used for exhaust at low RPM, as I’d like to keep positive pressure): https://i.redd.it/6ingo8n16d931.jpg

It’s probably not a huge issue because this server won’t be under heavy load at all, but I’m more curious than anything: What is the absolute smallest (shortest) PCI-e GPU you can still get?

So far, this EVGA GT 710 is the shortest I’ve found, at 4.5 in/101 mm, which would allow one of the case fans almost unimpeded airflow to the CPU cooler. Anyone know of potentially even smaller ones? Again, performance is of zero concern, this is purely to stop the motherboard from halting during POST.

I’ve got a 1030 I can measure but I doubt it’s smaller

The absolute smallest PCIe GPU I’ve seen is a Matrox G550 PCIe at 3.6 inches long. It’s pretty terrible though, and it’s not widely available.


To be honest an Athlon 200GE might be the best option it sounds like. It’s not much more than a new GPU, and if you sell the 1700X you could easily pay for the 200GE and then some.

I have a Zotac 710. It is pretty small and passively cooled. Probably not far off your Evga 710.

Those Matrox cards are a PITA to source. I’ve looked for them when my home server’s onboard card crapped out, so I was looking for a PCIe 1x passivity cooled video card. I ended up going to that Zotac I mentioned above.

How many times do you plan on rebooting? If the card is necessary just to POST, can’t you take it out after it boots? Then you don’t have to worry about purchasing a GPU, if you will only reboot a few times a year. Although, I can see this plan of action being a pain in the booty.

But to give an answer to your question, I do believe that that 710 gpu is the smallest available. I haven’t seen one smaller.

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You could throw in a PCI extender cable to make that an easier task too. Just a thought.

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What are you doing with it?
Just Gaming or do you need encoding as well?

I would recommend taking a look at the EVGA b-stock cards, they have a number of cards that are older but tiny.

I can only speak for 2 of their cards myself.
I have had a refurbished “EVGA GeForce GT 1030 DDR4, 02G-P4-6232-RX, 2GB SDDR4, Passive, Low Profile” card in a small server for a few years. Just a disclaimer, Geforce 1030s do not support any hardware video encoding.

For a short card with no height restriction, I like the single fan 1050s. You can find them used for cheap. I use a refurbished “EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 GAMING, 02G-P4-6150-RX, 2GB GDDR5, ACX 2.0 (Single Fan)” in my htpc and it shreds plex encoding/decoding and any thing else I’ve thrown at it.

Why not one of those m.2 pcie gpus? There’s no good performance on it innotek I think makes em. Would be interesting if you could (can’t though) have a m.2 you slot on a gpu for adding extra what ever or many m.2 gpus acting as one like sli/cf but in a board that could have multi m.2 pcie slots.

An alternative might be the mining riser cards

Getting a fitting GPU for the case might be the wrong way around?

I second the notion to just use no GPU at all. It’s just another thing to fail, an additional expense, more space required in the case, etc.

I’d swap cpu from the 1700 to a Athlon 200GE, Ryzen 2200g or 2400g (depending how many cores you need), that way you also have the PCIe slot available for something else.

What are you planning to use the server for? A 2400G should be plenty even for lightweight virtualisation purposes - if you’re not doing cpu intensive stuff then as above an athlon 200GE might be a better idea.