Motherboard Form Factors: ATX vs. Micro-ATX vs. Mini-ITX. Which Size Is for You?

When it comes to building a computer system, one of the most critical components is the motherboard. It plays the role of the bridge to help other components communicate. Therefore, you have to study carefully about motherboards to identify which type you do need.

This article will go over the differences between motherboard form factors: ATX vs. Micro-ATX vs. Mini-ITX. Additionally, we will give you buying guides so that you can choose the right one for your needs.

Motherboard form factors: ATX vs. Micro-ATX vs. Mini-ITX

There are three most popular types of motherboards: ATX vs. Micro-ATX vs. Mini-ITX. You can easily recognize them through their dimensions:

ATX: 12 × 9.6 in

Micro-ATX: 9.6 × 9.6 in

Mini-ITX: 6.7 × 6.7 in

Form factor ATX (Advanced Technology Extended) is the most common type of motherboard. It will fit most mid-tower and full-tower cases. You can usually find from 3-4 PCI-e, 16 ports, and 4 RAM slots in an ATX motherboard. 

You can sometimes see a variant of ATX is eATX, which contains 4-8 PCI-e, 16 ports, and 6-8 RAM slots. It’s for extensive PC systems that need strong and powerful hardware components to work together.

On the other hand, Micro-ATX is a bit smaller than the standard form factor ATX and usually used in small desktops. Micro-ATX supports a maximum of 4 expansion slots that can combine with ISA, PCI, PCI / ISA shared, and AGP. 

Mini-ITX is a low-consumption motherboard specially designed for small form computers like vehicle embedded computers or industrial applications. 

Pros and cons of three motherboard form factors

1. Standard-ATX

Pros:

  • Overclocking ability is remarkable

  • High RAM capacity

  • Up to 19 PCIe slots supporting

  • Multi-GPU setup supporting 

  • The best for aesthetic purposes

Cons:

  • Don’t fit small forms of cases

  • High cost

2. Micro-ATX

Pros:

  • Least expensive option

  • Fit most cases

  • Higher RAM capacity than Mini-ITX

  • Ideal for single GPU builds

Cons:

  • Cannot handle multiple GPUs

  • Limited PCIe slots

  • Weaker overclocking ability than ATX

3. Mini-ITX

Pros:

  • Best suitable for small form cases

  • Better aesthetics than micro-ATX

Cons:

  • More expensive than Micro-ATX

  • Don’t support multi-GPU setups

  • Only have 1 PCIe slot

  • Support limited RAM

ATX vs. Micro-ATX vs. Mini-ITX: Which size is for you?

After reading the pros and cons of the three types of motherboards, you probably know which one is the most suitable for your hardware computer system. However, if you are still not unsure, we can help you with analyzing some specific scenarios.

Building a high-end gaming PC

High-end performance gaming PC usually requires a full-tower case with powerful components. They can even contain multiple graphics cards and processors that need to be overclocked to push the performance. The ideal option will be standard ATX motherboards. They provide enough PCIe slots and support many RAMs.

If you do not have a really high demand for gaming, a Micro-ATX may be enough. It can support a singular graphics card and the latest processors. 

Building a budget-friendly gaming PC

If you want to build a budget-friendly gaming PC, it will be ideal when choosing a Micro-ATX motherboard. It has 4 PCIe slots, which is enough to play demanding games. Although the overclocking ability is weaker than ATX motherboards, it is the least expensive option and fits most cases (from small forms to bigger ones).

Micro-ATX is the all-around motherboard for a desktop home PC, supporting you to play games for entertainment and work. Unless you overweight aesthetics, Micro-ATX motherboards are perfect for a budget-friendly build. 

Building a small form factor PC

Mini-ITX or Micro-ATX will be the best choice in this case. They can fit small cases. These form-factor PCs usually suit gamers who want a system that can be easily moved around or for HTPC systems.

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Paul Syverson
Paul Syverson
Working as a software engineer for a computer manufacturing company for many years, Paul Syverson has a wealth of experience to share with you about this intelligent device. There is no doubt that his information will be very useful for those who have the intention of buying the best functional computer meeting their needs.