Micro ATX vs. Mini ATX vs. ATX – Full Comparison
Custom-built PCs can be a little tricky sometimes. You have to make your selection based on various factors such as size, power, compatibility, specifications, and much more. For example, the motherboard that you love might not support the architecture or generation of the processor, or it may be too large to fit in the PC case. For instance, motherboards are available in several size and form factors, and the motherboard selection shapes your selection of other PC components. Therefore, this article will discuss the difference between Micro ATX VS. Mini ATX VS. ATX to help you make an intelligent purchase.
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- What is the difference between Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboard sizes?
- What factors should I consider when choosing between Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboard sizes?
- Can I use an ATX motherboard in a Micro ATX or Mini ITX case?
- Can I use a Micro ATX motherboard in an ATX case?
- Can I use a Mini ITX motherboard in an ATX or Micro ATX case?
- How do I know which motherboard size is right for my system?
- Can I upgrade to a larger motherboard size later on?
- Are there any performance differences between Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboards?
- Can I use any processor with any motherboard size?
- Can I use any memory module with any motherboard size?
Mini ITX/ATX: 170mm x 170mm or 6.7” x 6.7”
Micro ATX: 244mm x 244mm or 9.6” x 9.6”
ATX: 305mm x 244 mm or 12.0” x 9.6”
As you can see, ATX is the largest form factor that you can get in a motherboard. It requires a larger PC case, and the parts that fit in the motherboard are also comparatively larger. Similarly, Micro ATX motherboards are slightly smaller, followed by Mini ITX motherboards. The form factor that you choose will dictate which PC parts can fit in it and which ones are out of bounds.
ATX motherboards are the largest ones that you can buy from the market. The Advanced Technology extended or ATX motherboards provide more room to fit all your PC parts without blocking ventilation. For instance, an ATX motherboard has 4-slots of RAM that can support up to 128GBs of memory without any problem. Moreover, you get space to install up to six HDDs or SSDs along with NVMe slots to extend the storage space.
Furthermore, most ATX motherboards support either Crossfire (What is Crossfire), SLI, or both technologies for a dual-GPU setup. Another reason to choose an ATX motherboard is that it supports heavy Power Supply Units to ensure that your system never runs out of resources, even if you choose to overclock the system. You can find several other useful features in an ATX motherboard that will enhance your gaming or working experience. However, ATX motherboards are comparatively more expensive than others as they offer a lot in terms of performance and features.
- More RAM slots
- Dual GPU support
- More room for storage devices
- Better ventilation system
- Relatively expensive than other options.
- You need a large PC case to fit an ATX motherboard.
Micro ATX Motherboards
Micro ATX motherboards offer similar specifications to an ATX, except for a few differences. Its size is comparatively smaller than an ATX, mainly due to the lower number of PCIe slots. Moreover, most Micro ATX boards don’t come with built-in WIFI and soundcards. However, the best part is that their price is almost 40% lower than an ATX. So, if you want to build a budget gaming PC, a Micro ATX is the best possible option.
Previously, Micro ATX boards lacked the hardware required to support a multi GPU setup. However, modern Micro ATX motherboards provide this option with either Crossfire or Nvidia SLI support. You can install either an AMD or Intel processor in the motherboard as the architecture allows only one of them. Furthermore, the available four RAM slots provide enough room for up to 64 GB of memory, which is more than enough for a high-end gaming PC. Lastly, being a moderate board, it can be installed on any PC case unless you are building a compact computer.
- Cheaper than ATX motherboard
- Suitable for most PC cases
- 64-GBs RAM
- Up to six storage slots
- deal for a budget gaming build
- Some Micro ATX doesn’t support a multi GPU setup.
- It isn’t suitable for intense overclocking.
Mini ITX/ATX Motherboards
Mini ITX motherboards have the smallest form factor in the market. These boards are suitable for people who want to build a compact or portable gaming PC that they can carry around wherever they go. However, the downside is that it offers only a limited space to fit all your PC hardware. For instance, a Mini ITX motherboard has only two RAM slots that support up to 32-GBs of RAM storage. Moreover, the number of SATA and NVMe slots is also limited, but you can tackle this problem by installing large storage HDDs and SSDs.
Another negative factor of a Mini ITX motherboard is that it only offers one PICe slot. So, a multi GPU system is impossible for your Mini ITX to build. Therefore, a compact Mini ITX gaming PC isn’t suitable for heavy-duty gaming, rendering, or overclocking. The Mini ITX motherboards are more expensive than a Micro ATX motherboard despite lower resources. The higher price is justified because it offers better technology and supports a higher generation of processors. However, you will need special PC parts for your ITX build as it doesn’t support typical hardware.
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- Compact size
- Portable design
- Advanced technology
- Universally fits in all PC cases.
- Useful features and modern look.
- Suitable for casual gaming and entertainment
- Expensive than Micro ATX
- It isn’t suitable for heavy-duty gaming and overclocking.
- Only two RAM slots
So, Which one is the Best Option?
All motherboard form factors have their pros and cons. So, it usually depends on your requirements, budget, and expectations from the PC. For instance, a Mini ITX motherboard offers less hardware compatibility, but it fits in all PC cases without any problem. Similarly, the Micro ATX motherboards are for medium PC builds that can be optimized to run most heavy games on your system. Similarly, the ATX motherboard is suitable for heavy-duty gaming, overclocking, and high-end PC builds.
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The motherboard’s form factor greatly affects the type and size of hardware you can install. Each type of board has its advantages and disadvantages for various users. Therefore, it is best to understand the differences between these boards to build your PC successfully. This article discussed all the major differences between Micro ATX VS. Mini ITX VS. ATX motherboards; I hope it was helpful for you.
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What is the difference between Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboard sizes?
Micro ATX motherboards are slightly smaller than ATX motherboards and are generally more affordable. Mini ITX motherboards are even smaller and are typically used in compact or low-power systems. ATX motherboards are the largest size and offer the most expansion options.
What factors should I consider when choosing between Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboard sizes?
The size of the motherboard should be based on the size of the case and the desired level of expansion. If you need a lot of expansion options, such as multiple graphics cards or multiple storage drives, an ATX motherboard may be the best choice. If you are building a compact system or do not need many expansion options, a Mini ITX motherboard may be a better fit.
Can I use an ATX motherboard in a Micro ATX or Mini ITX case?
ATX motherboards are generally too large to fit in Micro ATX or Mini ITX cases, so it is important to choose a motherboard that is compatible with the size of your case.
Can I use a Micro ATX motherboard in an ATX case?
Yes, Micro ATX motherboards are generally compatible with ATX cases, although there may be some cases that are too large for a Micro ATX motherboard to fit.
Can I use a Mini ITX motherboard in an ATX or Micro ATX case?
Yes, Mini ITX motherboards are generally compatible with ATX and Micro ATX cases, although there may be some cases that are too large for a Mini ITX motherboard to fit.
How do I know which motherboard size is right for my system?
Consider the size of the case and the amount of expansion you need. If you need a lot of expansion options, such as multiple graphics cards or multiple storage drives, an ATX motherboard may be the best choice. If you are building a compact system or do not need many expansion options, a Mini ITX motherboard may be a better fit.
Can I upgrade to a larger motherboard size later on?
It is generally not recommended to upgrade to a larger motherboard size as it can be difficult to fit a larger motherboard into a case that was not designed for it. It is generally easier to upgrade components on the same size motherboard.
Are there any performance differences between Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboards?
In general, there are no significant performance differences between these motherboard sizes. The size of the motherboard does not affect the performance of the processor, memory, or other components.
Can I use any processor with any motherboard size?
Not necessarily. It is important to check the specifications of both the processor and the motherboard to ensure that they are compatible. Some processors may require a specific type of socket or may have other compatibility requirements.
Can I use any memory module with any motherboard size?
Not necessarily. It is important to check the specifications of both the memory module and the motherboard to ensure that they are compatible. Some motherboards may have specific memory module requirements, such as a specific memory type or speed. It is also important to ensure that the motherboard has enough memory slots to accommodate the desired amount of memory.
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