Micro-ATX vs Mini-ITX vs ATX: Which Motherboard should you pick?

Micro-ATX vs Mini-ITX vs ATX Guide

Are you curious about buying a mini-DTX or mini-ITX? Learn more about building your perfect computer, but first you need to buy the best motherboard.

If you want to DIY and build a new computer then you need to buy a motherboard. However, not all motherboards are created the same. When you buy a motherboard the variety of sizes, cost, and numerous features can more than confuse first-time buyers.

The Mini-ITX motherboard is not as big in height and width compared to the micro-ATX motherboards. However, the Mini-ITX has a single PCIe lane, which is advantageous because of its smaller size. The Mini-ITX has much more small form-factor cases than either standard ATX or micro-ATX motherboard types.

Now, let’s dig in more and learn about what exactly is ATX or Mini-ITX? Also, what would be the best motherboard format for you and your setup? Take to know the differences between ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX with your Motherboard.


Motherboards and Computers

Computers with Motherboards

In essence, the motherboard is the center and driving point of your computer as a whole. The motherboard is responsible for all of your computer hardware. That means everything in the computer like the RAM, graphics card, CPU, Sound Card, and more. These components would not be able to work without the motherboard. Therefore, the motherboard is needed to distribute electrical power from the power supply  to the different parts of the computer, and providing the power to run everything.

With every computer including a power gaming setup, the motherboard acts as the central hub or home to all of your computer components, which provides all of the resources they require in order to run.


Uses of ATX, Mini-ITX, and Micro-ATX

  • Internet Browsing
  • Less intensive multimedia and processing jobs and desktop PC work.
  • Low cost and economical gaming configurations.

Micro-ATX vs Mini-ITX vs ATX Overview

It is important to know, Motherboards come in a variety of all sizes, kinds and formats. What does this mean? In general, the most popular choices for numerous and general PCs include: ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ITX.

What is DTX (form factor)

DTX is an open industry standard specification initiated by AMD to help enable the broad adoption of small form factor PCs. The DTX standard is designed to empower OEMs, ODMs, and component vendors to deliver innovative solutions to markets that are small, quiet, and desktop-friendly, while leveraging commonalities within the ecosystem that benefit both customers and end-users. With only a minimum set of parameters necessary for interoperability, DTX frees vendors to innovate.

 DTX Overview

To obtain a license under AMD intellectual property to implement the DTX Specification, please register on this website and accept the DTX License Agreement. Registration is subject to approval and registered vendors may list their licensed DTX products on this website.

In summary, DTX is a shorter version of the ATX and micro-ATX. While on the other hand, the Mini-DTX is a slightly longer version of Mini-ITX.

Sizes and Specifications

Motherboards can vary in features, cost, and size. The main thing that first-time builders struggle with, is knowing what the difference is between motherboard form-factors (or sizes).

When you shop for the best motherboards it is crucial you understand what each one is specifically designed for in terms of their assembled purposes.

Motherboards Sizes and Specifications

  • ATX: 305 x 244 mm or 12.0” x 9.6”
  • Micro ATX:  244 x 244 mm or 9.6” x 9.6”
  • Mini ITX: 170 x 170 mm or 6.7” x 6.7”

When you evaluate these measurements, you can easily see the differences among them but what does this mean. The ATX is the largest, and then after is the Micro ATX, and then the least diminutive of the three is the Mini ITX.

For example, ATX and Micro ATX have something in common in terms of width and also both have similarities. Remember though that the only key similarity for any of these motherboards is the length. Take a look at some of the motherboards, Micro-ATX vs Mini-ITX vs ATX,  and evaluate their specifications to see the advantages and disadvantages.


1. ATX Motherboard

ATX Motherboard

The ATX format of motherboards was founded and developed in 1995. In essence, this is an older AT model that is made for a more stable and organized circuit board for computers and PCs. The full-sized ATX motherboards are some of the most popular motherboards for all computer PCs including for computer gaming.

The ATX has various slots for RAM and as well the capacity to support quality graphics cards. Overall, the ATX is a favorite because it is great for gamers wanting high intensity action and graphics. In general, gaming is really good with the ATX motherboard.

Summary of ATX: Benefits to Overall Limitations

ATX motherboards are attractive because you can add RAM, and moreover enable and support lots of options and quality graphics cards. An ATX motherboard will offer great capacity for gamers. Furthermore, the ATX can be upgraded with ease along with coming with numerous ports for USB, PCI, and much more.

ATX BenefitsThe limitations of ATX may be more for the sake of space and ultimate capacity [power. However, in general, the ATX boards are usually bigger and in the end are and will take up a lot more space due to the fact the design requires more physical space. But, as for other negative qualities the ATX does get loud for some. On the other hand, it does not overheat, so the unit does have a lot of appeal.

Why Get the ATX?

In conclusion, the ultimate attraction for this motherboard is the capacity and power for gaming and PC add-ons and options.  Expect as well, more numerous PCI or expansion slots for customizations. Also, the ATX units are among the most popular and highly rated motherboards for desktop personal computers. However, do be ready to pay a price that will cost a lot of money.


2. Micro-ATX

Micro-ATX

The Micro ATX motherboard is the ideal decision for anyone trying to build a Gaming PC or computer with limited funds. The Micro ATX motherboard has a lot in common with nearly all the same specifications as in particular the ATX motherboard. Why? Because the only difference between the Micro-ATX and ATX motherboard is the option of sizes and overall availability of units of the peripheral component interconnect express or PCIe slots.

Summary of Micro-ATX: Benefits to Overall Limitations:

In analyzing the Micro ATX, it is clear how beneficial it is able to support 4 ram slots. Why is this good? Because the Micro-ATX is more than able to meet your memory needs.

Micro-ATX benifits

Also, this Micro-ATX is quite affordable compared to other comparable motherboard options. Another important thing to know is that the Micro Atx motherboards are the most popular and well loved because of all the available and functional features for gaming.

The Micro-ATX does have some issues. For example, this particular type of  motherboard does not have the support of Multi-GPUs. How does this affect you? Well, simply put,  if you wanted to construct a computer PC with more than one GPU then this is clearly not the best option for you.

Furthermore,  the prices of Micro-ATX can be as expensive as the ATX models. Is this an issue? Of course, because so the better option would be the ATX if you are looking for Multi-GPU support.

Why Get the Micro-ATX?

The Micro ATX is best for anyone seeking and making a budget friendly gaming PC. Also, the micro-ATX motherboard has the features and functionality to provide high quality graphics card, processor, and memory power.

Moreover, the Micro-ATX is designed in a more convenient size compared to the ATX. In general, the smaller sized unit can give you more space for customization and space.

In summary, the new models of the micro ATX motherboards are able to support two GPUs. This motherboard has similar components as the ATX motherboard so you get a powerful motherboard at a lesser cost.


3. Mini-ITX

Mini-ITX

In general, the Mini ITX motherboard is the smallest among the competition. Moreover, the Mini-ITX is commonly used by anyone looking for a lightweight or portable computer PC. In terms of gaming and entertainment, expect that the Mini-ITX will be enough overall for gaming but lack somewhat in a professional capacity.

The mini ITX motherboards are smaller than most units and require less power supply. It utilizes less than 100 watts and uses an x86 processor for higher capacity output.

Summary of Micro-ATX: Benefits to Overall Limitations

 In terms of overall functionality, the Mini ITX comes equipped with two ram slots, which means that you have the capacity to get a maximum of 32 GB of Ram. There is the capacity to increase and customize RAM and GB sticks for your motherboard to personalize your Micro-ATX.

Micro-ATX Benefits

Overall, the Micro-ATX is suitable for gaming on your pc, however in terms of workstation or PC capacity it will not be enough for this motherboard. In essence, the Mini ITX provides only one PCIe slot, which is fine for a portion of gamers craving a smaller sized and compact computer setup.

Why Get the Mini-ATX?

Summary of Micro-ATX vs Mini-ITX vs ATX

In general, the Mini-ITX is an abbreviated and smaller version of ATX and micro-ATX. Moreover, the Mini-iTX is able to include one single expansion slot, which is helpful in a variety of ways. As well, the Mini-DTX is similar in width and size while being able to have two expansion slots.

If you were to buy a micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, or ATX unit motherboard then be prepared to know what works best for your setup and more importantly your budget limitation or range. Just remember that not all motherboard units are not the same and can offer not only size differences but functionality potential.

In essence, what is crucial to know and realize that these units can be differentiated in options, capacity, cost, and size. The priority for anyone to realize is that a novice to PC or building computers may have challenges  with knowing the contrast or range of possibilities between variable motherboard and unit features and specifications.


Pros and Cons of Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, and ATX

Here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of the Micro-ATX and the Mini-ITX below. Make sure to take the time to know what the differences are and what is needed to make.

ATX Advantage: The ATX unit is ideal for anyone seeking to enhance or have professional workstations or advanced high-end gamers. Moreover, the ATX can be expensive, however, it provides the best and ideal expansion options and power.

Micro-ATX Advantage: Popular unit because you get the benefits of the ATX while having greater expansion. The Micro-ITX is perfect for high powered processors and popular for its cost benefit.

Mini-ITX Advantage: You can save space with a Mini-ITX that will surely be a big draw. Also, Mini-ITX PCs Generally Cost Less and are lighter. Overall, the aesthetic design of this unit is more stylish and generally appealing for a variety of people.


Pros and Cons of Micro-ATX

Pros
  • The cheapest option of the three and thus the budget saver.
  • Best for single-GPU usage and PC builds and designs
  • Can fit into pretty much any case or unit setup
  • Higher RAM capacity than mini-ITX and other units
Cons
  • Not ideal for multi-GPU setups or higher capacity gaming
  • Essentially, there is the potential for extreme overclocking, so beware
  • Commonly lacking in aesthetics and style design

Pros and Cons of Mini-ITX

Pros
  • Perfect pick for anyone seeking smaller units for the setups
  • Better aesthetics than micro-ATX or any other motherboards
  • Ideal and made for compact builds.
  • Easy and compact design so the unit can fit into various types of PC case.
  • Outfitted with premium features for better quality.
  • Attractive design that looks better than micro-ATX units.
Cons
  • More costly and expensive than the micro-ATX
  • Aesthetically will look out of place and off in a larger workstation or setup
  • Won’t work for multi-GPU setups
  • Not ideal for extreme overclocking
  • Typically, only have two RAM slots

Pros and Cons of ATX

Pros
  • Great for advanced and serious gamers
  • There is many more PCIe Slots available compared to the competition
  • High-end Performance and powerful capacity
  • Availability of around 4 RAM Slots thus great for RAM driven applications
  • A User-Friendly Interface that does make it easy to utilize
  • Multi-Tasking Platform that can increase productivity overall
  • Ideal for overclocking, so keep this in mind
Cons
  • More costly and expensive than the micro-ATX or Mini-ITX
  • The ATX motherboard unit is bigger and will take up more space
  • If you are utilizing a single GPU then the ATX is ideal for its power but not efficient.

Multi-Tasking Platform

ATX users can expect an increase in productivity since the software has tabs that let them quickly switch between different forms. Users can also work on up to three different forms at a time. Not only is their productivity increased, but they can also make sure their work is done on time.

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