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Micro ATX mobo inside full case

Micro ATX vs Mini ITX The Best Form Factor

ATX vs Micro ATX vs Mini ITX
Motherboards are circuit boards, which are labeled and used to connect all the components that comprise a desktop computer and other electronic devices. Every component of the desktop computer connects and communicates via the motherboard.
 
All motherboards have the same general components, but some are designed to maximize size and peripheral integration needs, while other designs are optimal for expansion. The different models of desktop motherboards and case configurations are called form-factors.
different PC case sizes
PC Case Form Factors
Advanced Technology Extended

Advanced technology eXtended is the extended version of its predecessor, the advanced technology motherboard or AT motherboard. The AT motherboard was not designed with the thought of adding, upgrading components or peripherals. The Advanced Technology Extended was introduced as a solution to the limited AT.

The Advanced Technology Extended motherboard is 12 X 9.6 inches and includes several design improvements. The bus configuration on allows the processor to communicate with the BIOS to help manage temperature and voltage. The location of the CPU and RAM was both moved to enable the fans to work more effectively. Improvements in the motherboard’s ability to allow the BIOS to manage the power supply was also introduced with this form-factor.

Micro Advanced Technology Extended

The microATX was introduced in 1997 and designed to allow backward compatibility with AT motherboards. The microATX can take advantage of many attributes of the larger AT form-factor motherboards. The microATX has more flexibility regarding desktop cases due in large part to having the same I/O panel.

The microATX was designed with only four PCI slots, but is very affordable, coupled with its increased compatibility, which makes it very popular. The microATX includes the same design regarding the pin connections for the power supply as the larger AT form-factors.

Mini Information Technology Extended

The mini-ITX is 6.7 x 6.7 inches and was released in 2001. The mini-ITX is designed to be used in small desktop cases and consume less power. The mini-ITX has fewer slots and less room for expandability and upgrades.
 
The compact and energy-efficient nature of the mini-Itx makes them ideal for corporate settings, where machines are ordered in bulk, and power consumption is a possible concern. Mini-ITX is commonly used in medical information technology settings, data communications, and networking stations.

Pros and Cons

Advanced Technology Extended (ATX)

 
Pros:
  • At least seven PCI slots
  • Efficient Internal heat management
  • Supports overclocking
  • Higher RAM capacity

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Inability to fit in smaller cases

Micro Advanced Technology Extended (Micro ATX)

Pros:

  • Cost
  • Ultra-low-power
  • Reliability CPU direct soldered

Cons:

  • Fewer PCI slots
  • Less RAM Capacity
  • Small size

Mini Information Technology Extended (Mini ITX)

Pros:

  • Portability
  • Ideal for home theater systems
  • Easy to manage hardware components

Cons:

  • Ram Capacity 32GB
  • Limited Graphics Card Compatibility
  • Expensive
  • No support for CPU overclocking

Recommendations

 
Advanced Technology Extended

Advanced technology extended motherboards were initially rolled out back in 1995 and included many improvements in previous motherboards. Advanced Technology Extended motherboards are very large and almost exclusively designed for large desktop computers. The smaller counterparts Mini-ITX and MicroATX are steadily growing in popularity, ATX motherboards remain in high demand and provide many benefits for graphic designers, computer network administrators, PC gamers and technicians who wish to overclock their CPU.

Overclocking the CPU will increase the speed of the processor and allow your machine to work much faster. Overclocking does increase the speed of the processor and the rate at which it accesses RAM. Overclocking the processor is increasing the multiplier of the CPU to process more commands. The faster the processor works, the more electricity is required, which produces more heat.

PC gamers and graphic designers prefer Advanced Technology Extended motherboards because its essential to keep up with the latest and most efficient graphic processing units. High-end GPUs are quite large, as they include multiple fans and heat sync to help with heat dissipation. Overclocking CPUs sometime requires bigger heat syncs, and the Advanced Technology Extended motherboards are made with extra space around the CPU to install a bigger one.

Three example ATX motherboards:
  1. GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS (Amazon)
  2. ASA TUF X299 Mark 1
  3. MSI X299 Gaming Pro

Micro Advanced Technology Extended

The Micro ATX form factor provides the best of both worlds, not too small and not too large. Micro ATX offers the most diversity regarding its practicality as you get an excellent bang for your buck, despite the size and expansion restrictions. However, despite only having four PCI slots, micro-ATX motherboards can perform reasonably well with gaming and graphic designing.

Despite its compact design, MicroATX motherboards have no issues accommodating resource needs for PC gaming. On average, PC games need 16GB of RAM, which the MicroATX board is capable of supporting. The Micro ATX can even support high-end graphics cards; however, the space restrictions limit the use of multiple graphical processing units.

The affordability and high-end processing options of the MicroATX make this motherboard form-factor ideal for the work environment. The MicroATX mother, being a middle-sized one, can support high-end processing without the need to overclock the processor. In an office setting, increasing the size of the RAM is usually all the upgrades needed.

Three example mATX motherboards:

  1. MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge (Amazon)
  2. Aorus Ultra Durable B450
  3. Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene

Mini Information Technology Extended

Mini ITX is the smallest of the three form factors and is designed for enhanced portability and is recommended to be used as single task workstations, home theater systems, and environments where software access from a remote server.

Mini ITX motherboards do not require lots of power as it only has one PCI slot and usually can only support eight to thirty-two GB of RAM. Mini ITX motherboards are not used for heavy processing, so there is no need for large amounts of RAM or overclocking the CPU, as the small space would quickly overheat.

The low power requirements of the MiniITX makes them a popular choice in office buildings and hospitals, where multiple users perform less complex tasks and require fewer resources like RAM and processing power.

Three examples of MiniITX boards:

  1. ASUS ROG Z370
  2. MSI H3101 Pro
  3. MSI B450I (Amazon)

For a budget-friendly gaming PC, MicroATX is the best option for the following:

  • The ability to perform at the same level as the ATX despite having fewer PCI
    slots.
  • Big enough for high-end video cards.
  • Heat management can support the overclocking of the CPU.

For high-end gaming the ATX motherboard is the best option for the following:

  • The larger space designated for the CPU is larger to install more prominent
    heat sync to support overclocking.
  • Seven PCI slots to install multiple cards.
  • Excellent health management to keep things cool with overclocked processing
    and high-end GPUs.