A motherboard is the backbone of a computer and greatly affects the overall performance of the system. Apart from the performance, it offers a wide range of features, which is why it can dictate the quality of your PC. When it comes to motherboards, there are lots of sizes of motherboards, although ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards are most common.
What is the Difference Between ATX vs Micro-ATX vs ITX
In short, ATX motherboards offer more ports, slots and features, while micro-ATX motherboards have slightly less and are small in size. ITX is the smallest form factor of a computer motherboard, and it can be used in the smallest PC case and HTPCs.
ATX motherboards are the most common motherboards in the market. Most high-end motherboards come in this form factor and offer more features than the micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards. ATX motherboards are smaller than E-ATX/Extended-ATX motherboards but that form factor is used in mostly flagship motherboards. If you are looking for the best motherboard for Ryzen 5 3600, we got you covered.
ATX motherboards usually come with four DIMM slots, and there are three to six PCI-E slots on these motherboards. The number of M.2 slots can vary, depending on the chipset but most modern ATX motherboards come with at least two M.2 slots.
Although it is not necessary, ATX motherboards usually come with better power delivery than the micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards. A great thing about ATX motherboards is that they are better in thermal dissipation due to having a larger footprint.
ATX motherboards can easily fit in modern mid-tower cases but some older cases might have compatibility issues with modern ATX motherboards, especially those with non-standard power connector placements. ATX motherboards don’t fit in small form factor cases, which is why mini-ITX motherboards exist.
Now, when it comes to price, ATX motherboards cost slightly more than micro-ATX motherboards, although mini-ITX motherboards can be more costly sometimes.
ATX motherboards are great for those people who are willing to spend a decent amount of money. ATX motherboards usually cost around 30-40 bucks more than micro-ATX motherboards of the same model.
Micro-ATX motherboards are smaller than ATX motherboards. Having a smaller motherboard means that there will be fewer compatibility issues with the case. The length of micro-ATX motherboards is usually the same as the ATX motherboards but there is a big difference in the height.
Micro-ATX motherboards come with four DIMM slots, just like ATX motherboards, however, there are only two or three PCI-E slots on these motherboards. Instead of six or eight SATA III ports found in most ATX motherboards, you get four or six of them in micro-ATX motherboards. Similarly, there is usually a single M.2 slot in modern micro-ATX motherboards.
Micro-ATX motherboards are not very popular and that is why there are very few high-end motherboards with this form factor. That is why these motherboards are not good for overclockers and enthusiasts who are looking for high-end power deliveries and quality VRM components.
The price of micro-ATX motherboards is lower than both ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, which is a great thing for budget users. Micro-ATX motherboards go well with budget mid-tower cases that are not designed for high-end motherboards.
Overall, there is no need to buy a micro-ATX motherboard if you have a large-sized case and have a mid-range budget for the motherboard.
Mini-ITX motherboards are the smallest motherboards in the market, and these motherboards are designed for mini-ITX cases. Small form factor systems are great to use as HTPC because large-sized rigs look awful in TV lounges.
A mini-ITX motherboard is smaller than an ATX and micro-ATX motherboard in both length and height. These motherboards come with only two DIMM slots in most cases, and there is a single PCI-E X16 slot and M.2 slot on these motherboards.
Unlike micro-ATX cases, there are many high-end mini-ITX cases available in the market, and they are priced fairly higher than most mainstream motherboards. As expected, the performance of such motherboards is similar to their ATX counterparts, and that is why many enthusiasts build high-end small form factor rigs with such motherboards.
When it comes to the compatibility of mini-ITX motherboards, these motherboards are compatible with almost all cases and that is why you cannot run into compatibility issues with these motherboards, although there is no point in buying a mini-ITX motherboard if you are going to use it in a mid-tower or full-tower case.
Finalizing this article, we can say that all three form factors of motherboards have their pros and cons. ATX motherboards are the best choice in most cases where the demands of the users are high performance and good looks.
The micro-ATX motherboards are great for budget users who are looking to save every penny they can, and these motherboards still offer most of the features that are present in ATX motherboards, while having a slightly smaller footprint.
The mini-ITX motherboards are best for those who are looking to build a small form factor PC that can offer high-end performance too. The price of these motherboards is not very budget-friendly but most of these motherboards are capable of handling high-end processors and graphics cards.