Nvidia announced a new graphics card at its GTC 2023 event, the Nvidia RTX 4000 Small Form Factor (SFF) Ada Generation, which may solve one of my biggest issues with Team Green’s latest GPUs – their size.
As the name suggests, being a Small Form Factor graphics card, this graphics card has a compact design which means it can fit into smaller PC cases. With a height of 2.7 inches (68.58 mm) and a two-slot width of 6.6 inches (167.64 mm), this is a much shorter (but slightly thicker) GPU than the RTX 4080. It also has relatively low power consumption per 70W level.
This is an attractive proposition for anyone who wants to fit a powerful graphics card into a compact PC. As someone who has sadly had to move away from my little PC due to the ever-increasing size of modern GPUs, I’m excited – but there’s a catch.
Not for games
As you can guess from the fact that the RTX 4000 SFF was announced at Nvidia’s GTC event, which is primarily aimed at enterprise users, AI and scientists, the RTX 4000 SFF is not a gaming GPU, but is aimed at compact workstations. So while you might not want to include it in your SFF gaming rig, it means you can build a powerful little PC that will get your Mac mini, Mac Studio, and even Mac Pro (if ever a new one is announced) running for your money .
With 6,144 CUDA cores, 192 Tensor cores, 48 RT cores, and 20GB of GDDR6 memory, the Nvidia RTX 4000 SFF looks like a powerful little graphics card, even if it doesn’t compete with the RTX 4090. According to Nvidia, the RTX 4000 SFF can “transfer data to and from faster” memory, resulting in better graphics, computation and rendering performance” due to the increased memory bandwidth, and also supports DLSS 3 upscaling. While it is often used in gaming, it can also be useful for 3D modeling and game development.
The specs also suggest the RTX 4000 SFF could certainly handle modern gaming, although as much as I’d love to have a compact Lovelace GPU to house in my small gaming PC, I wouldn’t recommend it. It is likely that Nvidia will only release Studio drivers for this GPU, not Game Ready drivers, so game performance will not be optimized. As a compact, powerful GPU aimed at creative professionals, it’s likely to be very expensive as well (Nvidia hasn’t revealed pricing yet).
So I will have to wait a bit for the compact RTX 4000 gaming graphics card. However, with the RTX 4000 SFF, Nvidia shows that it is possible. The sheer size of the latest gaming GPUs was disappointing as it prevented them from being installed in some PC cases. Hopefully, while the company may not be making any small RTX 4000 gaming GPUs anytime soon, third-party manufacturers like Zotac, Gigabyte, and Asus could be inspired.