Nvidia’s new guidelines for the small form factor segment

Designed to help the consumer.

Robert Dow

Nvidia, in conjunction with OEM partners, aim to make component choice simpler when it comes to small form factor cases and graphics cards by introducing  new SFF-Ready guidelines for GeForce RTX enthusiast graphics cards and cases.

SFF cases
Small form factor cases have become more popular in recent years. (Source: Nvidia)

What do we think? Small form factor (SFF) cases are popular for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that they are mobile, elegant, and can fit into locations impractical for traditional PC towers. The issue with SFF systems has been finding the right components and add-in boards that are compatible  with any given card or case. Not only do the parts need to fit, but there needs to be enough room to get components in and out of the case. Nvidia’s new guidelines should address many of those issues, which SFF enthusiasts will appreciate.

Small form factor (SFF) desktops have been around for a very long time, prized for their versatility and mobility. Users of SFF systems frequently have to make performance sacrifices and settle for compact-form entry-level graphics cards or rely on APUs for their CG needs.

As the SFF market grows in popularity, a majority of well-known case manufacturers are offering SFF cases; however, component compatibility remains a big headache. Frequently, end users have to guess or search through multiple websites looking for measurements and dimensions to find out if their favorite graphics card will fit with their preferred SFF case.

Nvidia has intervened to help resolve this issue by releasing new SFF-Ready guidelines that will inform the user of which RTX graphics cards are compatible with which SFF cases. Nvidia says that soon, text labeling graphics cards that meet the guidelines as “SFF-Ready Enthusiast GeForce Cards” and cases as “Compatible with SFF-Ready Enthusiast GeForce Cards” will be added to manufacturer product pages and listings on sites of participating OEMs. This will make it easier to buy and build with confidence because you will be able to quickly identify compatible parts.

Nvidia defines SFF-Ready Enthusiast GeForce Cards as RTX 4070 or higher with the following dimensions:

  • 151mm maximum height including power cable bend radius
  • 304mm maximum length
  • 50mm or 2.5 slots maximum depth
SFF cases and AIBs
(Source: Nvidia)

Nvidia mentions “power cable bend radius,” an important spec that is often overlooked. Cables for enthusiasts’ graphics cards are thick and often unwieldy, and having the proper space to work with these cables is essential.

The new Nvidia SFF specifications guarantee that SFF-Ready cases have a suitable amount of area, clearance, and working room. They also provide guidelines that future manufacturers can follow, allowing users to update their GPU without having to change the chassis of their computer.

There are over 30 RTX 40-series enthusiast graphics cards that meet the SFF-Ready guidelines and dozens of certified small form factor cases compatible with SFF-Ready enthusiast GeForce cards. A list of these parts can be found on the Nvidia SFF-Ready webpage.

JPR has been tracking the GPU and graphics card market for over 25 years. Our graphics Add-in Board report includes a comprehensive view of the market.