GPU height clearance

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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People sometimes underestimate the amount of height (or width, if you prefer) required for adequate GPU clearance. There are two obvious reasons why this might be overlooked: 1.) the PCIe power connectors, and 2.) the PCI bracket. Video card manufacturers typically list the height measurement exclusive of these two, but in fact combined they add ~35mm to the total height. To illustrate, a reference GPU and a short-but-tall ASUS mini GPU:



So a regular reference-height GPU (111mm tall), with power connectors and bracket, requires a minimum of about 147mm (5.8"). That doesn't include the thickness of the case panels/chassis elements, which could add another 3-5mm, depending on material.

Of course, it's quite common for aftermarket cards to be even taller - 140 or 150mm without taking into account the power connectors or bracket, though in some cases the power connectors are recessed and won't require extra room.

Whether you're a case designer or just planning a build in a smaller case, it's important to consider these details carefully to ensure everything fits.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
Feb 22, 2015
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Thanks for the post! One of things I'd like to do down the road is setup a wiki to compile info like this.
 
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Phuncz

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Thanks for the insight, excellent thread !

I'd very much look forward to an SFF wiki that elaborates on these kind of hard to find facts. If I can help, let me know !

It is indeed confusing how these measurements are done. I think people would benefit from a system where the manufacturer would mention how much larger a card is over a full size reference card.

Case manufacturers could then refer to three base sizes of GPU cards:
  • Type A --- 1:2H - 1:2L (half height & half length)
  • Type B --- 1:1H - 1:2L (full height & half length)
  • Type C --- 1:1H - 1:1L (full height & full length)
  • 1S (single-slot)
  • 2S (double-slot)
  • 3S (triple-slot)
And then they could mention which are minimally supported while mentioning the extra dimensions.
Like: Type C-2S GPU cards supported (additionally supported: +20mm height and +55mm length)

Like the example above, the Asus Mini, the manufacturer could supply these stats:
Full height & full length
Height: +11mm
Length: -93mm
Width: 2 slots


Allowing us to figure out easily if a card is supported. Since manyfacturers don't seem to keen on maintaining reference sizes anyway.
 
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4RTEX

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Feb 24, 2015
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Really good info this. Thanks.
It just makes you wonder, how is it possible there are no 90 degree power connectors yet. It's been on my mind for a long while. I'm thinking to 3D print my own for now. This could save valuable 10 mm.
 

iFreilicht

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Feb 28, 2015
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Interestingly enough, gigabyte has some cards where the bracket is included in the measurements.

Really good info this. Thanks.
It just makes you wonder, how is it possible there are no 90 degree power connectors yet. It's been on my mind for a long while. I'm thinking to 3D print my own for now. This could save valuable 10 mm.
Alienware had custom ones for the X51 and the Valve Steam Machine prototype had ones as well, but nobody has ever found where to get them.
 

veryrarium

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Jun 6, 2015
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Like the example above, the Asus Mini, the manufacturer could supply these stats:
Full height & full length
Height: +11mm
Length: -93mm
Width: 2 slots
Just nitpicking, but I think you got the length wrong in two ways. :cool:
 

Phuncz

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Yeah it should be 97mm, but the negative is because it's smaller than a reference card. Still, it's just a brain fart so don't take it too seriously :)
 

veryrarium

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Jun 6, 2015
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Yeah it should be 97mm, but the negative is because it's smaller than a reference card. Still, it's just a brain fart so don't take it too seriously :)
Well, I said doubly wrong because (in addition to the last digit miscalc) 267mm is not the full length. I might have misinterpreted your intention wrong... was your suggestion for manufacturers to note the size relative to the height and the length of the reference card of the same GPU, rather than the full height & the full length? Anyway, yeah it's not a big deal. :)
 

Phuncz

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I just took that measurement as "reference" because I was too lazy to look for the real reference dimensions. So you were right :)
For me it wouldn't matter much if they take current PCIe reference sizes or make new ones for GPU's, but I think there should be a difference between entry cards (half-height, half-length), mainstream cards (full-height, half-length) and enthusiast cards (full-height, full-length).
 

PlayfulPhoenix

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Feb 22, 2015
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So, the lesson learned here is to add ~20mm of height when measuring height from the PCI slot, and ~35mm when measuring height from the tip of the PCI bracket?

I suppose the latter is useful for case designers, but I'd imagine most builders will be more worried about the former. (But then again, how many chassis manufacturers disclose the distance between PCI slots and the sides of their cases?)
 

iFreilicht

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Feb 28, 2015
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So, the lesson learned here is to add ~20mm of height when measuring height from the PCI slot, and ~35mm when measuring height from the tip of the PCI bracket?

I suppose the latter is useful for case designers, but I'd imagine most builders will be more worried about the former. (But then again, how many chassis manufacturers disclose the distance between PCI slots and the sides of their cases?)
The other way around, I think. It's pretty hard for builders to take anything useful out of this. You don't know how high the GPU really is anyway, except if you compare the size of the bracket to the cooler on pictures.

Yes it can, but only when the PEG connectors are on the front of the card and the card is reference height. The R9 nano would be a good example, the Fury should fit as well.
 

Phuncz

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The R9 Nano is abou the only card that has the power connectors at the side of the card (when facing the fan). The Fury and Fury X both have them at the top like 99% of all the GPUs do.
 

Dyson Poindexter

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Jun 25, 2015
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Has anyone ever changed the power connector on a GPU? Having a vertical mini-fit on the back of the card would make a lot of sense for "shoebox" builds where the PSU is between the CPU and GPU.