Question What's the best GPU I can use in my SFF dell OptiPlex 3020

Oct 23, 2020
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Hello,
I am trying to find the best GPU possible to fit in a dell OptiPlex 3020 SFF, I have done a lot of research on this (read everything I could find online including the threads from here on the 3020) - the PC is limited in what graphics cards can fit into it. Its two main limitations: (1.) it requires low profile graphics card, and (2.) it has only one PCI-E slot available, i.e. it's x16 slot is right next to the PSU, on other models there would be an extra x4 slot, thus the card must also be single slot.

The advice seems to be that the best card I can fit in the SFF case without power the unit from outside the case is the Gt1030, however there was a model of GTX 750ti that was released in a single slot version and what looks like a low profile (although it isn't advertised as LP, this is the GTX 750ti model released by Galax in 2014. Would this work in a OptiPlex 3020 SFF? It would be a big improvement on the GT1030. I can replace the power supply with a higher rated model is necessary, the stock PSU is rated at 255W. If you're familiar with this model and know what my best options are I would greatly appreciate any advice. Is there another more powerful card that I haven't considered that is single slot and low profile and will fit in my 3020 SFF without any problems? Or, is their a creative solution that doesn't require any DIY electronics that would allow me to run a card that isn't both single slot and low profile? E.g. by fitting the card and keeping the case open.
 
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That case could accommodate a low profile single slot GPU and the GTX 1030 is your best bet.
Even though the Galax GTX 750ti Slim is a low profile GPU, the cooler takes 1 1/2 slots and I don't think it will fit.
If you could get a Dell D315ES-00 315W PSU, it comes with a 6-pin PCIe power connector, which will broaden your possibilities.
 
Oct 23, 2020
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That case could accommodate a low profile single slot GPU and the GTX 1030 is your best bet.
Even though the Galax GTX 750ti Slim is a low profile GPU, the cooler takes 1 1/2 slots and I don't think it will fit.
If you could get a Dell D315ES-00 315W PSU, it comes with a 6-pin PCIe power connector, which will broaden your possibilities.
Firstly, thanks a lot for the quick reply. I was in the process of ordering a Dell D315ES-00 315W PSU to replace the stock PSU and a low profile GTX 1650 as I read the 1650 would benefit greatly from the extra power, however when I realized the 1650 was single slot and it wouldn't fit, I cancelled both of them. If I re-ordered this 315W PSU what GPU possibilities will become available? Will this allow me to accommodate dual slot cards in the 3020 SFF casing, and if so, what exact model GPU's would this accommodate? Any advice would be really appreciated, I just want to make sure I don't have to attempt any DIY electronics.
 
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A low profile single slot GT 1030 GDDR5 version is the fastest GPU you can fit in the OptiPlex 3020 SFF case, because as you seem to have already discovered, the PSU is sitting where the low profile GT 1650 would need to be. The low profile GTX 1650 is the fastest GPU available that doesn't require extra power from a PCIE cable, but they're all dual slot. You could possibly get a 3020 mid tower case that might fit a standard ATX PSU, but I don't know if that case has the correct mount stand offs for the SFF motherboard or even just standard ATX PSU mounting holes. Your only other option would be to take the PSU out of the SFF case to fit the GTX 1650.
 
Firstly, thanks a lot for the quick reply. I was in the process of ordering a Dell D315ES-00 315W PSU to replace the stock PSU and a low profile GTX 1650 as I read the 1650 would benefit greatly from the extra power, however when I realized the 1650 was single slot and it wouldn't fit, I cancelled both of them. If I re-ordered this 315W PSU what GPU possibilities will become available? Will this allow me to accommodate dual slot cards in the 3020 SFF casing, and if so, what exact model GPU's would this accommodate? Any advice would be really appreciated, I just want to make sure I don't have to attempt any DIY electronics.
If your case configuration looks like the one below, then a GTX 1650 won't fit.
The only single slot GTX 1650 I know is the ELSA GTX 1650 SP (GD1650-4GERSP) and there isn't a low profile version.
Dell positioned the PCIe x16 slot at the bottom, below the PCIe x1 and next to the PSU.

A RX 460 is a lot better than a GT 1030 and the MSI Radeon RX 460 2GT LP fits in that case.


 
A RX 460 is a lot better than a GT 1030 and the MSI Radeon RX 460 2GT LP fits in that case.
That card will most definitely not fit the case, it has a dual slot cooler the the same as a low profile GTX 1650. https://us.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-460-2GT-LP/Gallery

Again, the GT 1030 GDDR5 version is the fastest single slot low profile GPU that will fit the Optiplex 3020 SFF case without running the PSU outside the case. https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100007709 601297382 600419828 600007797 600038363 600038364
 
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Oct 23, 2020
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That card will most definitely not fit the case, it has a dual slot cooler the the same as a low profile GTX 1650. https://us.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-460-2GT-LP/Gallery

Again, the GT 1030 GDDR5 version is the fastest single slot low profile GPU that will fit the Optiplex 3020 SFF case without running the PSU outside the case. https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100007709 601297382 600419828 600007797 600038363 600038364

There does seem to be single slot cooler version of it on the market though:

https://www.amd.com/en/products/graphics/radeon-rx-460
The consensus does seem to be that the only GPU that will fit that case is the GT1030, that is what I've been told, and from reading and watching videos that seems to be the one people with this specific OptiPlex model are forced to run with. I've seen one or two examples of people who have removed the PSU from the case, and powered it from the outside making room for a GTX 1650 or a 1050 ti, although I'm not sure I'm confident enough to try this.

That suggestion of the RX 460 looks promising though, are you sure the single cooler slot version wouldn't fit the case?
 
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There does seem to be single slot cooler version of it on the market though:

https://www.amazon.com/MSI-RX-460-2G-OC/dp/B01L9V9JFK

That suggestion of the RX 460 looks promising though, are you sure the single cooler slot version wouldn't fit the case?
That RX 460 you linked from Amazon is a dual slot card full height card and will not fit your case without taking the PSU out and leaving the side panel off. You need to be careful when searching and make sure you search for single slot low profile card, so you dont buy a card that won't fit your case if you don't intend to leave the PSU outside.

If you open the link to the MSI website for the RX 460 2GT-LP that I linked, the last picture in the bottom right shows the same style dual slot cooler you will find on the GTX 1650 low profile dual slot cards that are available. That card has a single slot bracket instead of dual slot bracket like you would find on the GTX 1650. https://us.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-460-2GT-LP/Gallery#lg=1&slide=4

The newegg link I gave in my previous post was to shows a selection of GT 1030 GDDR5 single slot low profile cards. When searching for a GT 1030, be sure you are not buying the DDR4 version as it's about 25-30% slower. https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100007709 601297382 600419828 600007797 600038363 600038364
 
Oct 23, 2020
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That RX 460 you linked from Amazon is a dual slot card full height card and will not fit your case without taking the PSU out and leaving the side panel off. You need to be careful when searching and make sure you search for single slot low profile card, so you dont buy a card that won't fit your case if you don't intend to leave the PSU outside.

If you open the link to the MSI website for the RX 460 2GT-LP that I linked, the last picture in the bottom right shows the same style dual slot cooler you will find on the GTX 1650 low profile dual slot cards that are available. That card has a single slot bracket instead of dual slot bracket like you would find on the GTX 1650. https://us.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-460-2GT-LP/Gallery#lg=1&slide=4

The newegg link I gave in my previous post was to shows a selection of GT 1030 GDDR5 single slot low profile cards. When searching for a GT 1030, be sure you are not buying the DDR4 version as it's about 25-30% slower. https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100007709 601297382 600419828 600007797 600038363 600038364

Sorry to bother you again, I meant to copy the following link:

https://www.amd.com/en/products/graphics/radeon-rx-460

You're right, the link I posted was a dual slot full height version of the card, but the above link from AMD (which is what I meant to post) seems to be single slot RX 460 with one cooling fan, although I'm not sure if its low profile, same for this version from HIS below:

http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-940.shtml

Is it possible to simply leave the side panel off, (?) and if the card was jutting out of the case with the panel off, but worked as intended, I think that could be fine as a useable setup, I just wouldn't be able to close it properly. It does look like the GT 1030 might be the only option, but from researching it, it really isn't that powerful, it would struggle with AAA title games even at 1080p, never mind 4k. Otherwise, running the PSU from outside the case to make room is other option. I might buy a GT1030 but it doesn't seem to be much more powerful than the GPU in the Nvidia Shield, I was hoping for something at least mid-range or higher, but obviously I'm limited by the unit I have.
 
Sorry to bother you again, I meant to copy the following link:

https://www.amd.com/en/products/graphics/radeon-rx-460

You're right, the link I posted was a dual slot full height version of the card, but the above link from AMD (which is what I meant to post) seems to be single slot RX 460 with one cooling fan, although I'm not sure if its low profile, same for this version from HIS below:

http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-940.shtml

Is it possible to simply leave the side panel off, (?) and if the card was jutting out of the case with the panel off, but worked as intended, I think that could be fine as a useable setup, I just wouldn't be able to close it properly. It does look like the GT 1030 might be the only option, but from researching it, it really isn't that powerful, it would struggle with AAA title games even at 1080p, never mind 4k. Otherwise, running the PSU from outside the case to make room is other option. I might buy a GT1030 but it doesn't seem to be much more powerful than the GPU in the Nvidia Shield, I was hoping for something at least mid-range or higher, but obviously I'm limited by the unit I have.
A single slot card does not have any extra parts above the single mounting bracket on the card itself. The HIS RX 460 you linked is an actual single slot card and the one linked from AMD.com is a dual slot card. If you leave the side panel off, you will need to get something to hold the HIS RX 460 in place so it doesn't fall over, because it's a full height card, but good luck even finding that card to buy.

There is still the other much more complicated and much more expensive option of getting a mid or micro tower ATX case to transplant the motherboard. Then you'll be able to use any GPU you want as well as replace the PSU with a standard ATX PSU. Use this adapter to the PSU. https://www.moddiy.com/products/Dell-OptiPlex-3020-PSU-Main-Power-24-Pin-to-8-Pin-Adapter-Cable-30cm.html. I am not too sure on the actual size of the SFF motherboard, but it looks like it has at least 6 "standard" mounting holes to mount it to the case. The biggest issue will be adapting the front panel switch wires and LEDs to work with the new case.

I think you need to face facts here and either invest in a new PC or live with the terrible performance of a GT 1030 unless you run the PSU outside the case to fit a GTX 1650 or repalce the case. The GTX 1650 is not even that great to begin with and will still struggle with AAA games, new or old, at 1080p with medium to high settings. The GTX 1650 is also a much faster card than the RX 460 by around 70-90%, so pursuing the RX 460 seems like a terrible idea when you would already be making slight modifcations to the case to use a GTX 1650 (PSU outside the case with panel off).
 
Oct 23, 2020
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A single slot card does not have any extra parts above the single mounting bracket on the card itself. The HIS RX 460 you linked is an actual single slot card and the one linked from AMD.com is a dual slot card. If you leave the side panel off, you will need to get something to hold the HIS RX 460 in place so it doesn't fall over, because it's a full height card, but good luck even finding that card to buy.

There is still the other much more complicated and much more expensive option of getting a mid or micro tower ATX case to transplant the motherboard. Then you'll be able to use any GPU you want as well as replace the PSU with a standard ATX PSU. Use this adapter to the PSU. https://www.moddiy.com/products/Dell-OptiPlex-3020-PSU-Main-Power-24-Pin-to-8-Pin-Adapter-Cable-30cm.html. I am not too sure on the actual size of the SFF motherboard, but it looks like it has at least 6 "standard" mounting holes to mount it to the case. The biggest issue will be adapting the front panel switch wires and LEDs to work with the new case.

I think you need to face facts here and either invest in a new PC or live with the terrible performance of a GT 1030 unless you run the PSU outside the case to fit a GTX 1650 or repalce the case. The GTX 1650 is not even that great to begin with and will still struggle with AAA games, new or old, at 1080p with medium to high settings. The GTX 1650 is also a much faster card than the RX 460 by around 70-90%, so pursuing the RX 460 seems like a terrible idea when you would already be making slight modifcations to the case to use a GTX 1650 (PSU outside the case with panel off).
Thanks, everything you've said is confirmed by what I've been researching, I bought the 3020 SFF because it was a bargain, but I didn't realize the problems associated with upgrading it until I had it in my possession. I would have gone for a OptiPlex MT model but, but finding a i7 4th gen processor model in the same price range was not possible, I should have just comprised and bought an i7 3rd gen processor OptiPlex in an MT model as this would have been in the right price range and would still be a very viable for upgrading it into a gaming rig as it would be capable of handling most graphics cards without the need to do any modifications or retrofits. Well, at least I know where I stand now, and I can take it from here with the knowledge I have. Thanks for all your helpful advice.
 

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