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ATX or micro-ATX?

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  • Motherboards
Last response: in Systems
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September 29, 2013 10:29:41 AM

First time builder...
It's not a gaming rig, but I want it for 3D modelling, simulations, less intensive games such as Civ-5, etc. I am going with i7 4770 processor as I want to future-proof the system. I am not planning to OC, see no point in having a optical drive and prefer to keep my files on external portable drives. So I am going for Samsung 840 Series Pro 256GB for the storage(no internal HDD). Graphic card is Sapphire Radon HD 7790 as I think it'd be good enough for my needs. Question is, Should I really go for an ATX? Since the pc surely won't produce that much heat and I don't think I'd need all that space in the ATX form factor. I should say this is going to be a home-computer but obviously it would be nice if it would be light just in case. Like I said, I want this system to last for quite a while so I was thinking it wouldn't hurt if the motherboard supported Thunderbolt, but as you know Thunderbolt has only recently been integrated into Mobos and the only thunderbolt certified mobos, are ATX sized. So yeah, that's another plus for ATX.

So all in all, should I go for a ATX or a mini/micro?

More about : atx micro atx

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a c 107 V Motherboard
September 29, 2013 10:50:04 AM

One other consideration is that you could go with an mATX board with a second PCIe x16 slot and add a Thunderbolt card later when and if the prices become reasonable.

I've used a few ASUS Z87M-PLUS boards lately and they are quite excellent. The Gene mATX board is nice in that it has two PCIe x16 3.0 slots, I've used one and liked it about the same as the Z87M-PLUS, but the Gene is pretty expensive.
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September 29, 2013 4:52:32 PM

RealBeast said:
One other consideration is that you could go with an mATX board with a second PCIe x16 slot and add a Thunderbolt card later when and if the prices become reasonable.
I've used a few ASUS Z87M-PLUS boards lately and they are quite excellent. The Gene mATX board is nice in that it has two PCIe x16 3.0 slots, I've used one and liked it about the same as the Z87M-PLUS, but the Gene is pretty expensive.


I suppose you're right... No real reason to stay at ATX... I think I'd go for MAXIMUS VI GENE if I am going for a mATX. But now that I think about it, should I go all the way to mini itx, given my usage? If so, I would probably go for MAXIMUS VI IMPACT. What do you think?
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a c 107 V Motherboard
September 29, 2013 5:29:00 PM

I'd go mATX, the mini-ITX has only 2 memory slots and 1 PCIe x16 slots so no future cards.
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a b V Motherboard
September 29, 2013 5:34:28 PM

mATX is more than enough for most people, unless you want to run more than two cards stick with mATX.

I have a MAXIMUS VI GENE, it's a fantastic board, just keep in mind that graphic cards will be very close on a mATX board if you do SLI or Crossfire, but your unlikely to do that.


Also, don't worry about thunderbolt, it's a gimmick right now. If thunderbolt starts becoming popular you will get a new board by that time anyway.
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a c 102 V Motherboard
September 29, 2013 6:04:03 PM

The only question to ask is do you need more than 4 expansion slots? Most people dont need more than one .

So probably the ATX standard only even exists because when it was written mb's didnt have on board sound , network chips and a bunch of other stuff that we take for granted as being built in .
But do use a good case like the corsair 350D , or Silverstone TJ 08e
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September 29, 2013 6:38:16 PM

RealBeast said:
I'd go mATX, the mini-ITX has only 2 memory slots and 1 PCIe x16 slots so no future cards.


I see. mATX it is then...
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September 29, 2013 6:40:59 PM

edogawa said:
Don't worry about thunderbolt, it's a gimmick right now. If thunderbolt starts becoming popular you will get a new board by that time anyway.

Yeah that's what I was thinking... also thanks for your point about cross-firing, but yeah i don't think I would do so.
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September 29, 2013 6:46:28 PM

Outlander_04 said:
But do use a good case like the corsair 350D , or Silverstone TJ 08e

I was thinking of CoolerMaster Silencio 352 I kinda like it. What do you think?
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a b V Motherboard
September 29, 2013 9:53:49 PM

Case wise it's all personal opinion, about what you want 95% of the time, so just choose a case that would make you happy. Personally, I think the Corsair 350D is one of the best mATX cases for the price point, love it to death.
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September 30, 2013 7:16:03 AM

Okay, so i had a look around and a lot of the micro cases are too small for my GPU. (400 x 250 x 60 mm). Is there any website you might know, that helps you filter down cases depending on the maximum size of the GPU they allow? Even if I find such case it might be a bit too bulky, so is there any point in a mATX build with this given GPU?

note to self: Next time start buying the components only after you have made up your mind about all the parts!
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a c 107 V Motherboard
September 30, 2013 7:46:16 AM

Use something like THIS. I've used three recently and it is a great case, Silverstone PS07. I had no problem fitting a big card and all my parts, although I did use a short (150mm) fully modular power supply which allows more room between the optical drive and PSU.

I used it with a GENE mATX ASUS board and an i5 4670, SSD, several HDDs. If you use it, read the manual first as it gives good tips on cable routing as you build.
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a b V Motherboard
September 30, 2013 8:45:20 AM

Yea, that Silverstrone one is a great case. It might be a bit space constrained for everything though.

RealBeast recommended a good case, but if you're still interested in the 350D, it's roomy for a mATX case, there is a version without a side Window.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Another great case is coming out in a few days too: Bitfenix Prodigy M
The mini-itx version is fantastic, so I would expect the mATX version to be good too.
http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/prod...

http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/prod...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Other mATX cases to consider:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 30, 2013 10:22:43 AM

edogawa said:

Another great case is coming out in a few days too: Bitfenix Prodigy M
The mini-itx version is fantastic, so I would expect the mATX version to be good too.
http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/prod...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks. I have seen that one. There is also another one they have made called Phenom which is equally nice. I think I'll decide between these two.
Oh btw,
said:
Okay, so i had a look around and a lot of the micro cases are too small for my GPU. (400 x 250 x 60 mm).

I should say that I got the dimensions wrong. The graphics card's dimension is actually 215(L)x106(W)x35(H)mm so it should be okay.
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a b V Motherboard
September 30, 2013 10:55:43 AM

Sounds good to me. :D 
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October 5, 2013 5:14:37 AM

Final question about the power supply: is the form-factor of a psu merely its dimension, or is there more to it?
I was told I need a ​psu of:

-500W (or greater) with one 75W 6-pin PCI Express power connector (GPU recommendation)
-Maximum PSU length: 160mm (So it'd fit my Phenom case.)


My mobo is going to be a Maximus VI gene and the processor is i7-4770

Got any recommendation for a enthusiast-level psu?
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a c 107 V Motherboard
October 5, 2013 8:11:35 AM

I would recommend the 140mm long Silverstone ST55f-g 550W fully modular PSU like THIS. I use it on all my mATX builds. For me Amazon beats Newegg on this due to shipping, same price and rebate at both.
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