gaming pc

Motherboards: ATX vs. Micro ATX vs. Mini ITX – Which Should Gamers Choose?

Which component is the most important in your gaming system? According to professionals, it is the motherboard. Experts say the motherboard is the command system of any gaming setup or PC, because it defines the compatibility and upgradability of a system. The motherboard establishes a connection between the other components of a PC computer system, making it incredibly crucial to the stability and performance of your gaming rig.

So which type of motherboard should you get for your gaming system? This is the question we will discuss in the following article. Specifically, we will look at three different types of motherboards: the ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX brands of motherboards, outlining the pros and cons of each type and describing in detail what each brand will bring to your gaming setup.

ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX Motherboards: A Quick Summary

Although we will discuss the size and functionality of the ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX motherboards a little later on in this article, here we will give you a brief summary of each type.

ATX Motherboard

The ATX Motherboard is the most common type of motherboard and can be used for almost any type of build, including a high-end gaming system. These motherboards are quite a bit larger than the Micro ATX and Mini-ATX motherboards. They are simply ideal if you want to eliminate the hassle and grief that comes with trying to find compatible parts for the motherboard and assembling those parts. Perfect for any type of gaming system, they offer a lot of space, they have very efficient and effective cooling solutions and can be implemented almost anywhere, making them an ideal solution for over-clocking.

Micro ATX Motherboard

Trying to build a quality gaming system on a tight budget? If so, the Micro ATX motherboard might be just what you need. Most of the components for the Micro ATX cost much less than those for the motherboard we will describe next: the Mini ATX. The reason for this is that their manufacturing and architecture do not require such high definition. The Micro ATX is also ideal for HTPC and compact gaming builds. The cases for the Micro ATX even come with handles, making them easy to carry if you often join or host LAN parties.

Mini ATX Motherboard

The Mini ATX motherboards are a terrific option for HTPC and compact gaming setups. With this motherboard, users can build portable computers, making them perfect for gamers who like to travel. They are also perfect for low-performance oriented setups.

Pros and Cons of the ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX Motherboards

In this section we will briefly list the pros and cons of the ATX Mini ATX and Micro ATX motherboards.

ATX Motherboard

Pros

  • Overclocking. The ATX Motherboard provides excellent overclocking potential for the serious gamer.
  • Compatibility. Being the most common size of motherboard, it is very easy to find compatible components to go with the ATX motherboard.
  • Looks good. Looking for great aesthetics? The ATX is the board for you.

Cons

  • Cost. The ATX is not a very budget-friendly motherboard.
  • Large. The ATX motherboard requires a lot of space and a larger case.

Micro ATX Motherboard

Pros

  • Budget friendly. The most affordable of the three types, the Micro ATX motherboard will not put too big of a dent in your wallet.
  • Somewhat portable. Although not as portable as the Mini ATX, the Micro ATX can still be considered portable.
  • Compact. The Micro ATX is small enough to fit desktop setups.
  • Decent Overclocking

Cons

  • Lower RAM capacity. The Micro ATX has a much lower RAM capacity than the ATX.
  • Not always compatible. The Micro ATX should not be the choice for multi-GPU setups and discrete GPU chips.

Mini ATX Mother Board

Pros

  • Budget friendly. While the Mini ATX is very budget friendly, it is not as affordable as the Micro ATX
  • Very Portable. The Mini ATX is the ideal choice for portable and compact gaming setups, making them perfect for LAN parties.
  • Great for HTPC setups.

Cons

  • Not great for overclocking.
  • Memory problems. The Mini ATX has a very low RAM capacity.
  • Compatibility issues. The Mini ATX is not intended to be used with Multiple GPU setups.

Which Motherboard Is Best for Gaming: ATX, Micro ATX or Mini ATX: A Larger Definition

When it comes to the ATX series of motherboards, the various definitions and differences between the standard ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX models refer to a form factor—a factor that essentially describes the standards used by manufacturers to label the electrical and physical compatibility of components with other pieces of hardware. In other words, the various types of motherboards will be ideal—or extremely compatible—with different types of PC cases and gaming systems and the variety of power supplies that run them. With that being said, here we will discuss the ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX motherboards in more detail.

ATX Motherboard Defined

In terms of motherboards, the standard ATX brand is the most common size. It is usually the preferred choice among those looking to build high-end gaming systems, or for those putting together workstations in an office setting. The ATX motherboard, which is the largest of the three types, measures 305 millimeters by 244 millimeters. This is one of the larger motherboard sizes available, one that demands a similarly larger PC case.

The traditional ATX motherboard comes equipped with multiple PCIc slots, as well as a superior cooling system—via a system of fans—and support for up to 64GB of RAM (random access memory).

The ATX motherboard is perfect for the casual gamer, but it also ideal for those looking to build mid-range to high-end systems. Its larger size makes it easier to implement an effective cooling solution that is more affordable and easier to install. It is also much better at dealing with heat than the Micro ATX and Mini ATX form factors.

Micro ATX Defined

Much like the Mini ATX motherboards, the Micro ATX boards are very small in comparison to the ATX. They measure roughly 244 millimeters by 244 millimeters, which is significantly larger than the Mini ATX boards. The Micro ATX motherboards are known to offer a perfect balance in terms of compatibility and portability.

Mini ATX

Are you looking to build an HTPC system or a very compact gaming system? If so, you should really consider the Mini ATX motherboard. These motherboards are currently the smallest form factor available that can still house a GPU and up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory—the average memory board size on the market. The Mini ATX is also a great choice for portable computers built to enjoy LAN parties. An average Mini ATX motherboard measures just 170 millimeters by 170 millimeters and can easily be housed in any case, including those built exclusively for the Mini ATX board as well as those built for the ATX and Micro ATX motherboards. This makes them very versatile.

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