The age-old debate between horizontal and vertical GPU mounting is one of the more spirited ones in the PC gaming community. There are pros and cons to each approach, but if you’re someone who has spent a fortune on one of the best gaming GPUs, you need to seriously consider going with a vertically mounted GPU. And if you’re building an enthusiast gaming PC, it’d be heresy to not choose the vertical orientation. In fact, there are multiple reasons you should vertically mount your graphics card.
1 It looks far better
If you’ve got it, flaunt it
Hands down, the No. 1 reason you should go vertical is to show off your GPU in style, giving your PC an instant makeover. After all, your high-end graphics card is the beating heart of your gaming rig, and you deserve to look at it in all its glory. Gone are the days of staring at the dull backplate of your GPU, with its gorgeous front facing down into obscurity. Spending tons of money on a great graphics card — a good chunk of it for its looks — and not enjoying its aesthetics every single day is pointless.
Moreover, if your graphics card features plenty of RGB, vertically mounting it gives you more options to tweak the overall RGB theme of your PC. Another benefit of a vertically mounted graphics card is that you’re able to cover the unsightly cables connected to the bottom of your motherboard, achieving a more clean and clutter-free look. If you have bought one of the best PC cases, your tempered glass side panel is begging for you to switch to a vertically mounted GPU.
2 Thermal concerns are overblown
You just need careful planning
A common disadvantage of vertically mounting your graphics card is poor airflow and higher temperatures for your card. But, this only happens if you have a case that lacks the space to accommodate the vertically oriented card. As long as you’re buying cases with the best airflow and enough room for the side panel to be distanced from your card, you won’t face airflow or temperature issues.
On the other hand, if you’ve already built your PC and your existing case is relatively small, you can still buy a universal vertical mount that’s fully adjustable to allow you to distance your card from the side panel. But make sure to ensure that the vertical mount you’re planning to get will be compatible with your case — Reddit is your best friend here.
Source: Cooler Master
Cooler Master MasterAccessory Vertical Graphics Card Holder Kit V3
This vertical mounting kit from Cooler Master is universal, fully adjustable, and comes with a PCIe 4.0 riser cable. It only comes in black, though.
3 It doesn’t even cost much
Only a will and some effort
If you’re concerned about the financial investment in achieving the gorgeous vertical look, rest assured as even the best vertical GPU mounts are pretty affordable. These are all-in-one kits containing a vertical mounting bracket, PCIe riser cable, and even fancy RGB. All you need is to choose one that is compatible with your case, and follow simple instructions to install it. Then you’re all set to gawk at your triple-fan beast for hours on end.
Choosing a compatible vertical mount might be one of the most annoying things when building a PC, but for new builders who have a decent amount to spend on a case, the choice becomes simpler. If you’re going with one of the Lian Li, NZXT, or another manufacturer that has an official vertical mounting accessory, there’s no reason to worry.
4 Solve GPU sag forever
Improvise, adapt, overcome
One of the few cons of traditionally mounting your graphics card is the dreaded GPU sag. This is when your heavy graphics card, mounted horizontally, starts to bend downward with its own weight. The right side of your graphics card will visibly droop downward, looking off-kilter. And it’s not just a visual anomaly — GPU sag, if severe, can sometimes damage your motherboard’s PCIe slot and your graphics card’s PCIe connector.
Vertically mounting your graphics card eliminates this issue as your card’s entire weight is now directed downward, without any stress pulling it in other directions. Despite pricey motherboards with reinforced PCIe slots mitigating GPU sag to some degree, it can often not be fully prevented in most cases, especially with graphics cards getting bigger and bigger.
5 Saves you the cost of fancy backplates
Say no to extreme super fancy editions
In a horizontally mounted graphics card, unless you’ve skimped a lot and bought a really budget card, you’ll have a backplate facing the top of your case. These backplates are often not the best-looking parts of a graphics card, and manufacturers attempt to sell the better-looking ones as part of their premium edition graphics cards.
If you choose to vertically mount your card instead, you no longer need to be concerned about how your backplate looks, as it will face your motherboard and won’t be visible at all. This easily saves you around $100-$300 by opting for the cheaper variant of the same GPU and still not compromising too much on the looks.
6 Best for SFF builds and custom loops
It’s just cleaner
If you’re into building small form factor PCs or designing custom watercooling loops for your rig, you’ll probably agree that mounting your graphics card vertically offers great flexibility. It not only allows you to better fit your card in mini-ITX PC cases but also looks much cleaner than going the traditional route. And if you’re watercooling your PC with a custom loop, a vertically mounted card simply looks way better than a horizontal one.
Even if you’re eyeing a high-end triple-slot graphics card, you’ll have no trouble installing it in SFF cases, provided you choose the case wisely.
Vertical GPUs, minimalist cases, and more
Besides vertically mounted graphics cards to enhance your build’s aesthetics, there are many other ways to take things to a whole new level. You can choose from the best minimalist PC cases to craft builds that can double up as an eye-catching decor piece in your home. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even choose from some unique PC cases to make your setup stand out. Plus, switching to AIO liquid coolers with RGB or adding more RGB components like sleeved cables or SSD heatsinks can really change the face of your PC.