NVIDIA Unveils New SFF Guidelines For Small RTX Gaming PCs With Big Performance

GeForce RTX graphics cards in descending size next to a compact PC case.
Among the several announcements NVIDIA is making at Computex this year, one that will be of interest to fans of compact gaming builds is a new set of "SFF-ready" guidelines for both GeForce graphics cards and desktop cases. The idea behind the guidelines is to make it easier for do-it-yourself (DIY) system builders, case makers, GPU partners, and system builders (OEM and boutique) to design smaller, potent gaming systems powered by GeForce RTX hardware.

It's an interesting initiative, given that there's no widely adopted standard for what constitutes a small form factor setup. This is in contrast to form factors like ATX, Extended ATX (E-ATX), micro-ATX, mini-ATX, and other less widely known variants (anyone remember BTX?). So if you're building a compact gaming PC, it takes a bit more research to ensure that all the parts will fit.

Of course, this is also a self-serving standard for NVIDIA, as it's not pushing guidelines for AMD Radeon or Intel Arc graphics cards. In other words, it's not a universal standard, though there's nothing to stop AMD or Intel from promoting the same or similar requirements, if they so choose.

In any event, starting with the GPU guidelines, an SFF-ready enthusiast GeForce graphics card must be no lower than a GeForce RTX 4070. NVIDIA is keeping the focus on higher end gaming capabilities, with a baseline level of performance that (unofficially) should at least be good enough for 1440p in most games, especially if taking advantage of DLSS with frame generation.

Chart of SFF-ready graphics cards.

Maximum dimensions check in at 151mm long by 304mm high by 50mm deep (2.5-slot), or around 5.9 inches by 11.97 inches by 1.97 inches. Additionally, the allotted height must take into account space for a power cable. There are a whole bunch of custom graphics cards from several of NVIDIA's add-in board (AIB) partners that already meet the spec, as outlined above.

Diagram of clearance requirements for SFF-ready cases.

Qualifying cases must have 154.55mm (~6.08 inches) of clearance from the motherboard or riser PCB to the case panel (whether the GPU is in a vertical or horizontal orientation), 312mm (~12.28 inches) in length including the graphics card and extender (if applicable), and 50mm (~1.97 inches) in depth, which again is big enough for a 2.5-slot graphics card.

Chart of SFF-ready cases.

Likewise, several GeForce SFF-ready cases are available now, including models from ASUS, Cooler Master, Corsair, Fractal Design, MSI, NZXT, Silverstone, and several others.

Bear in mind that it's still possible to build a compact gaming PC without adhering to NVIDIA's own SFF-ready guidelines. For example, it's not difficult to find a truncated or low profile GeForce RTX 4060, along with a plethora of cases to accommodate it. Same goes for compact GPUs from NVIDIA's rivals. And of course boutiques like Falcon Northwest, Maingear, and others have offered small form factor PCs that pack a punch for a long while now.

Be that as it may, NVIDIA's new SFF guidelines could help make smaller, powerful gaming PCs more commonplace, especially with Intel bowing out of first-party NUCs like the NUC Extreme and adopting a licensing model instead.