Over the years, the graphics cards are getting better and more powerful, delivering levels of performance that we could hardly imagine a while ago. However, proportionally to how they have been increasing their performance, so has their weight and size, resulting in graphics cards getting bigger and heavier… will they continue this trend over the years? What is the size limit that they can have?
The size and weight of graphics cards is starting to be an issue in some cases; not only because larger graphics cards require large PC cases, but also because due to their weight, it is practically essential that the board has metal-reinforced PCIe sockets to prevent it from breaking, and even the use of a chart support to prevent bending.
Graphics cards, getting bigger because of their heatsink
In the last two years, graphics card manufacturers (read amd Y NVIDIAbut also Intel is now entering the equation) are striving to raise the levels of performance that their GPUs are capable of offering, and of course they have achieved it, although at a cost: their devices are increasingly consuming more and generating more heat, forgetting the least momentarily the goal of achieving greater efficiency from years ago.
This fact has caused the need for better thermal solutions to keep the heat of the hardware at bay, a limiting point in every way. In other words, in order to keep their high-end graphics cards cool, they have had to implement bigger and heavier heatsinks, making the whole (the graphics card) bigger and heavier.
In essence, why graphics cards are growing in size and weight over time is due to the simple fact that they are generating more and more heat, and therefore larger cooling solutions need to be implemented, no more, no less.
This trend will stop at some point
This has not always been the case: graphics cards used to be much smaller than they are now, and we have even seen models with passive heatsinks and low-profile models. A few years ago, manufacturers had a clear trend towards energy efficiency (performance per watt) and more than delivering better gross performance, they sought to deliver great performance with contained consumption.
Now this trend has evolved into “brute force”, seeking to deliver greater pure and simple performance but at a high cost, which, as we have explained, translates into greater consumption and greater heat generated, which has forced the use of much larger and heavier thermal solutions.
However, there will come a time (and we believe that not long) when the ceiling is reached in terms of performance and the improvements that they offer us in their new generations of products are much more marginal, at which time they will once again focus on offer better efficiency, or in other words, we will have the same performance or a little more but with much more contained consumption, which will allow us to use much smaller heatsinks.
After all, the format of the hardware we use in PCs is more or less standardized, and it would be unfeasible to continue making graphics cards that are bigger and bigger and that require special boxes to accommodate them, right?