Question What graphics card would be best for the optiplex 990 sf for a gaming upgrade?

Aug 21, 2019
Hello all,

I'm currently pondering as to what graphics cards are good for a gaming upgrade for my optiplex 990 sff. I've been looking at some of the options. Would the gtx 1080 mini be a fit for my situation here? The 1050's are a bit dated. Another other good gpu options for the sff lp cases?
Many thanks!
Aug 21, 2019
Thanks for your reply! I've seen people do a gtx 1050 ti lp. Would that be okay? There's also the new gtx 1650 lp from zotac. Any ideas on that?
The GTX1650LP is a 75W TDP since it requires no external power.
The i5-2500 is probably drawing about ~80W under load (I also have an Optiplex 990 i5-2400, so I could test on my Kill-a-Watt tonight. Stay tuned)
Extras = 30W or so.

You're certainly pushing the limits of that PSU, especially considering it's age. The GTX1650 is going to offer the most performance/watt, and you could probably undervolt it a touch to save a few 10s of watts. Ultimately, it's your call, the system is pretty close to worthless as-is, but IF the PSU dies under the extra load, hopefully it doesn't take your new GPU with it, that's the only real risk in my eyes.

I can't find pricing on any GTX1650LPs, but I wouldn't expect them to be cheap.
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Optiplex 990 mid-tower w/ i5-2400, 4 sticks of RAM, 1 SSD, 2 fans (1 case + 1 CPU), no dGPU
In Prime95 Small FFT:
113W at the wall (Kill-a-watt)
80% (at 50% load, so less than that here, but I don't care to find the full chart so I'll be conservative) efficiency 430W PSU, so 90W system power draw.

That's just info. What's important to note is that, although your PSU is "technically" 240W, the important number is how many watts it can handle on the +12V rail(s) since that's what drives the main components (CPU, GPU, fans, etc etc). That info is typically displayed on a sticker on the side of a PSU (you'll also see the 5V and 3V values). Can you find that for us?
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So that's 200W.... when it was new.
90W + 75W = ~165W.....
That's too close for my comfort.

Ultimately it's your decision based on the info. You're going to have to weigh the risks of a PSU failure. As I said before, the only component of value in that machine is the GPU (a GTX1650LP will be massively overpriced for the performance you get) and if you've put an SSD in it. Sometimes PSUs die peacefully, other times...not so much.

This is the reason we always advise against purchasing OEM SFF machines.

I'd say we need to explore whether the PSU in that thing is TFX or not. Like this
Does the motherboard have a standard 24-pin ATX power connector?


Dec 28, 2009
If it's the SFF, there's no PSU upgrade. I just purchased the mini tower yesterday & it takes only the smaller ones, am going to replace with an EVGA G3 550W that's been sealed in the box for 2 years.

That's what I don't like about the DT & SFF versions, there's few aftermarket options. While I've heard of a 400W model (from some vendor in Texas) for the 780 DT, have also read it's not a drop in fit & not all required cables are there.

My suggestion would be to check out the models offered with the 990 SFF, One option would be the GT 1030, but only if the 2GB GDDR5 model, there's lots of GDDR4 variants, so watch out if pursuing that option. This is the one running in my wife's Optiplex DT, draws only 30W from the PCIe slot & also has HDMI 2.0 & Displayport 1.4, runs & looks good on a 4K monitor.

However if gaming, best to use on a 1080p monitor.

Am hoping I can install the Dell OEM GTX 660 1.5 GDDR5 in mine upon arrival. May have to swap the SATA cables to the 90 degree type, as it'll cover these. May need to also get a UEFI BIOS for it, or run in CSR mode, the older a card gets, fewer will provide a link to the needed BIOS. That's what I needed to do for my MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz edition, MSI sent me the UEFI upgrade link via PM.:D

You'll find a solution by checking the fit before purchase. However, I cannot recommend any of the GT 730 versions. If there's a 1660 that'll fit & you want to purchase (can always use in another build later), I'd say that could be the best option. Just make sure it ships with both low and regular (tower) brackets. If by chance the tower bracket is installed, beware there's the possibility the card may require disassembly to swap the bracket. Another member has to swap one on a low prolile GTX 1060 to fit in a tower & said there was no way around taking it apart, having to replace the thermal paste in the process.

This (& the PSU situation) is why I never want another SFF or DT style PC, too much trouble at times finding what's needed & then the limit of what one can do.

However, you do have the option to install a SATA-3 SSD, that'll speed things up & also up to 16GB RAM. Good thing you didn't get the USFF, the RAM is cut to 8GB & I don't believe there's slot to install a GPU.

Good Luck!(y)