Motherboards, also known as mainboards or logic boards, are the circuit boards that make up your computer system. If you’ve ever opened your computer, you’ve probably noticed that the motherboard is located on the bottom of the case. All other components can be placed inside power supplies and modules such as RAM and hard drives with a large surface.
The motherboard is connected to other components via pins on its side, which can be accessed through openings. You can replace it if it breaks, but you can’t remove it without removing other components from the computer first. There are different sizes of motherboards depending on the computer’s part. This article will compare Micro ATX vs Mini ITX vs ATX to find out which is best for you.
Why do you need a Motherboard?
All electronic components are connected to the motherboard. A motherboard is a device that connects all these electronic components. Computers are mainly built on the motherboard, incorporating essential components such as CPU, RAM, HDD, graphics card, etc. Without a working motherboard, there will be no way for your computer to run.
ATX is the most extensive form factor motherboard, introduced in 1995 by Intel. It is an old motherboard that rotated 90 degrees for better compatibility with motherboards from other manufacturers. The ATX motherboard has become a standard for server motherboards. The ATX motherboard comes with several features that are useful for server builders and IT professionals.
The motherboard comes with an integrated power supply unit (PSU), easily installed. It also has a fan controller, which can control the fans on the board. The ATX board also supports up to four PCI slots, installing multiple graphics cards into the board simultaneously without using any extra cards or cards between them. The ATX motherboard is easy and cheap to build, but it’s not as flexible as other server motherboards like the new Micro-ATX or Mini ITX.
In comparison to standard ATX motherboards, Micro ATX is a newer technology. It has the same features as ATX, but Micro ATX vs ATX, Micro ATX is smaller. This type was launched in 1997, and it was designed to be backward-compatible with the ATX. There are the same mounting points and I/O panel as with ATX. As with the standard ATX, the micro ATX motherboard uses similar chipsets.
Micro ATX is a little more than half the size of the standard ATX motherboards. Micro ATX is a small form factor board with a smaller footprint than the standard ATX. Despite being smaller, it offers the same features as the standard ATX. Standard ATX motherboards usually have seven PCI/PCI-Express slots. On the other hand, micro ATX can only expand by four slots. Micro ATX is the most affordable option if you plan on building your PC.
Mini-ITX motherboards are gaining popularity because they are small, compact, and fit into any case to make them look more attractive. Due to their unique form factor, they have recently become a hit in the IT industry. They were designed for high-end gaming PCs that use those components like graphics cards, CPUs and memory modules usually found in high-end gaming computers.
Since these components are usually expensive, companies often use mini-ITX motherboards to save money on them when they purchase them from online retailers. It was initially created for PC units that do not have fans in the cooling system and users seeking to reduce their energy consumption. This board is perfect for those users who want minimal noise when working with PCs. Even the expansion slots are similar to ATX motherboards; it has four mounting ports. Moreover, there are two expansion slots on these MOBOs. Moreover, the Mini ITX can only support two RAM modules because of its size.
As there are two 16GB kits available, the maximum memory loaded is 32GB. With this setup, you will easily handle all the latest games and peak performance. Mini ITX poses some challenges with its compact design, though. Some PCI-Express slots are located on the edge of a system, resulting in a very tight fit. Those who plan to purchase a graphics card that’s on the bulky side might have trouble fitting it in.
Micro ATX vs Mini ITX vs ATX – Which is the Best Choice for You?
To understand some of these essential characteristics, let us first look at how these form factors compare on various levels. This guide will explore the different types of motherboards that you can use on your computer.
Sizes of Motherboard:
There are a variety of features, costs, and sizes for motherboards. There are three main sizes of motherboards, from largest to smallest. The biggest challenge for a first-time user is figuring out the difference between motherboard form factors. To shop for the best motherboards, you need to understand what each one is designed for specifically in terms of its assembled purposes.
If you are concerned with size, you should only know whether the case is big enough to fit the motherboard. There’s no need to worry about the case being too large as long as the motherboard physically fits inside.
The ATX format is de facto the most popular and plugs and slots. It is most prominent at 305mm x 244 mm and 12″ wide x 9.6″ deep.
The Micro- ATX case has 2.4-inches less space for expansion slots because it is shorter. It is second largest at 9.6″ wide x 9.6″ deep (244mm x 244 mm).
Mini-ITX computers are small, but there are usually no expansion slots (for example, a graphics card) and only a few connections for storage and RAM. It is the smallest at 6.7″ wide x 6.7″ deep 3170mm x 170 mm).
RAM Capacity Comparison:
It is important to note that motherboard types differ in RAM slots. Mini ITX motherboards only have two RAM slots, while Micro ATX and ATX motherboards have four. In some high-end ATX motherboards, there are even 8 slots of RAM, The majority of Micro ATX and ATX motherboards can support at least 64 GB of RAM. But some best Micro ATX case motherboards can reach up to 128 GB, while certain can reach 512 GB. If two 16 GB RAM kits are installed on a Mini ITX motherboard, it is possible to install up to 32 GB of RAM.
Those, however, are again somewhat extreme cases that only apply to expensive cutting-edge motherboards. A gaming setup that serves as a workstation might need more RAM than 32 GB if some programs are memory-hungry. It doesn’t matter what size the motherboard is, as even a Mini ITX motherboard can handle most gamers’ needs and requirements.
The price of a product is also one of the most considerable factors in making a buying decision. It’s essential to consider the price when setting up a new computer if you aren’t sure which model to buy. A form factor’s size does not always correlate with a price. In this regard, more essential form factors like the standard ATX are not always more costly than smaller ones.
You may find that mini ITX motherboards are more expensive than a standard ATX or micro ATX, as some users prefer a more compact setup. The most common micro ATX motherboard is the cheapest and the most widely used. Beyond this, the materials and components quality that build the motherboard matters as well.
Price of ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX
In addition, there are also price considerations. You would think that Mini ITX motherboards contain a low price tag depending upon the size. given their small size, but you might be shocked when reality will hit you. From a price perspective, mini ITX motherboards are the most expensive ones.
A typical ATX or Micro ATX motherboard starts at about $50 or $60, while a Mini ITX motherboard begins at around $100. Mini ITX solutions are a good choice when someone has small PC space. Micro ATX motherboards are typically the best budget picks because they are easier to find at a lower price point. In Micro ATX vs ATX performance comparison, ATX motherboards offer the best overall performance for value for money.
Pros and Cons:
No, we will discuss the pros and cons of each form factor and discuss how they can be used in your work. These pros and cons will help you decide which you should buy when discussing setting up a new PC.
Designed for overclocking
More RAM available
A more significant number of PCIe lanes
Better for aesthetics
In most more minor cases, it won’t fit
RAM capacity is higher than on mini-ITX
Suitable for single-GPU PC builds
It fits into most cases
It’s not ideal for extreme overclocking
Incompatible with multi-GPU configurations
Generally lacking in aesthetics
It has better aesthetics than micro-ATX
For more minor cases, this is the best option
Not suitable for multi-GPU systems
Expensive than micro-ATX
Two RAM slots are typically available
Not suitable for extreme overclocking
Not ideal for larger enclosures
Which form factor is the best to buy?
The question remains: which motherboard should you buy after knowing the details? Each of the three can work well in certain areas so that you can choose any one of them. Your motherboard should be selected according to your needs. Your choice will depend on the type of PC you intend to build. Let’s review the essential qualities and specifications. Whether you should use PCIe or RAM slots depends on what type of PC you will build and how much PCIe you plan to use.
For the majority of gaming PC configurations, we recommend Micro ATX motherboards. ATX is only worth considering if you need those extra PCIe slots. It will typically be more affordable to purchase a Micro ATX motherboard than an ATX motherboard. So you will get more PCIe slots and more RAM for your money with a Micro ATX motherboard.
While ATX motherboards are still viable if you need extra PCIe slots, it offers little in the way of value for regular gaming PCs compared to Micro ATX. As a final consideration, Mini ITX motherboards may seem like a poor choice for gaming computers. Despite their price, they have limited RAM and a single PCIe slot. However, there is no better option if you want a small form factor.
Additionally, if all you want to do with your PC is surf the Internet, play multimedia, occasionally do some office work, or play some casual games, the affordable motherboard is the most suitable for you. Micro ATX motherboards are budget friendly option and fulfills all your needs. A Mini ITX motherboard may be worth an extra $50 if you need to build a highly compact PC.
Gaming PC or Workstation:
You may be interested in the extra PCIe and RAM slots if you intend to use your PC not just for gaming but also for professional software. Although if we compare Mini ITX vs Micro ITX case size, Mini ITX is small in size, it usually has less cooling capacity, which will pose problems if your PC is under a heavy workload.
Every PC user has his own requirements and prefrenceces, there is no single correct choice for everyone. Each motherboard is different for a reason. In some conditions, they work well, and in others, they don’t. Are you looking for something affordable? Looking to upgrade your PC? Do you need something portable? We already explained the difference between Micro ATX vs Mini ITX vs ATX.
After reading this article, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing the correct form factor for your gaming PC build when you determine what you want out of it. You should know the strengths and weaknesses of each motherboard form factor to make an informed decision.