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I'm shopping for a half-height or low-profile video card. I notice that newegg has categories for both "low profile" and "low profile ready". I assume this is an actual classification of expansion card and not just a newegg category.

What is the difference between these two?

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Low Profile cards are usually half the height of regular cards and come with a small bracket that doesn't fit into a standard slot, you need a specific slot.

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Low Profile ready cards come with a smaller bracket as well, so you can choose to install it on a regular or low-profile system.

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The latter is best if you are unsure and want flexibility in the future.

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  • Everyone answered my question at virtually the same time. Accepting this one because it was first. Thanks guys
    – DWilliams
    Nov 10 '09 at 17:36
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Never heard of this distinction but I would read it as follow:

  • "Low profile" is a card small enough to fit a low-profile case, including the bracket at the back.

  • "Low profile ready" is a card small enough to fit a low-profile case, but the bracket at the back has a regular size (for ATX cases) but it can be swapped for a low-profile bracket.

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In my experience, "low profile" means the card itself and the metal slot cover on the edge of the card both come in the "low profile" form factor out of the box. "low profile ready" usually means the card is low profile...but the slot cover might not be. If the vendor is nice, they'll include a low profile slot cover that you can switch to. But you might also have to get one separately.

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Low profile cards are "half height" cards, the smaller bracket on them will not fit into a standard size slot.

Low profile ready card comes with a standard bracket and will fit into a standard size slot. A low profile bracket is included with the card if you want to install it in a low profile system. It's usually 2 or 3 screws with nuts that hold the bracket onto the card.

Source: MaximumPC

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Low profile ready are half-height cards that come like this:

alt text

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Why did the industry make the two brackets with notched ends on opposite sides? It pretty much eliminates the use of slot adapters which do exist (Startech makes both PCI slot to PCIe card and also PCIe slot to PCI card). But they are uttlerly useless if you cannot use the low profile bracket that comes with the card you want to plug into the converter.

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