Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Atx vs. Micro-Atx vs. Mini-itx

Last response: in Motherboards
Share
December 18, 2012 11:22:22 PM

I'm planning on building my first gaming/ graphic design custom PC. I'll be using the computer for mid range gaming, video and image editing for graphic design and programming. My main question is what type of motherboard should I get. I was planning on getting a high end Asus mini-itx, but my friends and others say they are mainly for home theater PCs and small stuff. I was going to get the Bitfenix prodigy because of the compact size, which is strictly mini itx only. My other idea was getting a full atx motherboard and fitting in a small mid tower case. Now I just found out about micro atx :sweat:  In other words, is there any advantages or disadvantages in these different motherboard types. I just want a compact computer (not a bulky full tower) that runs Photoshop, battlefield 3 and illustrator smoothly. *I will be using a full size graphics card which fits in the itx prodigy case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks,

More about : atx micro atx mini itx

December 18, 2012 11:29:23 PM

the only advantages are space and slots, if I were you i would get ATX due to the avalable features and options, what is your budget i will find you a great motherboard
m
0
l
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
December 18, 2012 11:44:52 PM

honestly the only real advantage to having a full sized atx is the amount of pci slots and the typical person only uses one pci-e slot. unless you want multiple graphics cards, a dedicated audio card, pci ethernet or other add on card like than i would go with micro atx or itx. i asked myself the same question once. why do i need a huge midtower case and a huge atx motherboard when all of my needs can be easily addressed with itx or micro atx motherboard.

check out fractal node 304, its also an awesome little itx case that can house just as much as a bitfenix, except a 240mm rad
m
0
l
Related resources
December 18, 2012 11:48:29 PM

Thanks, and my budget is around $1000
m
0
l

Best solution

December 19, 2012 12:15:17 AM

I just built my m-itx Bitfenix Prodigy gaming computer and I love it, but there are definitely things to know about building in some of the smaller form factors.

For m-itx, most cases restrict you from using full size gpus and large heatsinks. The Prodigy and a few others change the orientation a bit to get around this. However, as far as I know there are no m-itx boards that support multiple gpus in crossfire/sli (I don't see how they could possibly fit that in), many m-itx motherboards limit your choice of cpu heatsink because it either interferes with the pci-e slot or the backplate touches things it shouldn't (only really matters if you plan on overclocking). You also have to pay extra attention when choosing a power supply, some just won't fit and others might technically say they will, but are a real pain to smash in. Also, most m-itx boards only have 2 ram slots, limiting you to 16GB of ram, which is more than most people need anyways.

For matx, you get a lot more flexibility, and can usually have everything you would find on most full size atx boards. You can use 2 gpus (I don't think there are any that allow more than 2), and the cases usually fit most standard sized components. You do still have to pay attention when choosing the case, as some don't fit larger GPUs or tall heatsinks.

For ATX, you of course have all the options available, I'll just list the things you CAN POSSIBLY have access to if you get an enthusiast motherboard (or perhaps an extended atx). You can possibly have up to 4 GPUs, up to 64GB of memory, a dozen or so disk drives, and generally more space means better airflow for good cooling.

I decided I wanted a smaller system, and had been planning a matx build. I changed my mind and went with the Prodigy and an m-itx build because I liked the look of the case and wanted to try it out. I decided I didn't need SLI, and I only planned on using 8GB of ram. I don't want an optical drive, though I could put one in, and I don't need a bunch of internal drives. I am using one large SSD and the rest of my storage is external, although I could still put in like 9 drives if I so desired. My airflow and cooling is excellent, and because I wanted to overclock I tossed in a huge Noctua NH-D14 cooler. I run at 5.0ghz, I just loaded up Far Cry 3 and The Witcher 2 and both run beautifully at max settings at 1920x1080, the system is extremely quiet (near silent compared to my old Phenom 955 / 295 GTX system), and I like the smaller size and overall look of the system.

If you don't need extra GPUs or a million disk drives, I say go for one of the smaller form factors. I chose an ASUS m-itx motherboard, though I would have gone with the ASRock if it was compatible with the NH-D14. If I had gone matx, I had my heart set on the Asus Maximus V Gene board, it is more expensive but I loved the features. Good luck with whatever you choose!
Share
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
December 19, 2012 12:18:25 AM

bigbass416 said:
Get an EVGA z77 stinger its mini ITX and its amazing.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

thats the worst advice i have ever heard, the gigabyte z77 itx mobo has more features than that for $70 less. the asus has a TON more features for $20 less.
m
0
l
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
December 19, 2012 12:29:40 AM

lordravage said:
I just built my m-itx Bitfenix Prodigy gaming computer and I love it, but there are definitely things to know about building in some of the smaller form factors.

For m-itx, most cases restrict you from using full size gpus and large heatsinks. The Prodigy and a few others change the orientation a bit to get around this. However, as far as I know there are no m-itx boards that support multiple gpus in crossfire/sli (I don't see how they could possibly fit that in), many m-itx motherboards limit your choice of cpu heatsink because it either interferes with the pci-e slot or the backplate touches things it shouldn't (only really matters if you plan on overclocking). You also have to pay extra attention when choosing a power supply, some just won't fit and others might technically say they will, but are a real pain to smash in. Also, most m-itx boards only have 2 ram slots, limiting you to 16GB of ram, which is more than most people need anyways.

For matx, you get a lot more flexibility, and can usually have everything you would find on most full size atx boards. You can use 2 gpus (I don't think there are any that allow more than 2), and the cases usually fit most standard sized components. You do still have to pay attention when choosing the case, as some don't fit larger GPUs or tall heatsinks.

For ATX, you of course have all the options available, I'll just list the things you CAN POSSIBLY have access to if you get an enthusiast motherboard (or perhaps an extended atx). You can possibly have up to 4 GPUs, up to 64GB of memory, a dozen or so disk drives, and generally more space means better airflow for good cooling.

I decided I wanted a smaller system, and had been planning a matx build. I changed my mind and went with the Prodigy and an m-itx build because I liked the look of the case and wanted to try it out. I decided I didn't need SLI, and I only planned on using 8GB of ram. I don't want an optical drive, though I could put one in, and I don't need a bunch of internal drives. I am using one large SSD and the rest of my storage is external, although I could still put in like 9 drives if I so desired. My airflow and cooling is excellent, and because I wanted to overclock I tossed in a huge Noctua NH-D14 cooler. I run at 5.0ghz, I just loaded up Far Cry 3 and The Witcher 2 and both run beautifully at max settings at 1920x1080, the system is extremely quiet (near silent compared to my old Phenom 955 / 295 GTX system), and I like the smaller size and overall look of the system.

If you don't need extra GPUs or a million disk drives, I say go for one of the smaller form factors. I chose an ASUS m-itx motherboard, though I would have gone with the ASRock if it was compatible with the NH-D14. If I had gone matx, I had my heart set on the Asus Maximus V Gene board, it is more expensive but I loved the features. Good luck with whatever you choose!

thats pretty sound advice, i came up with the same conclusion. i also need 3 hard drive tops, i never use an optical and when i do i have an external, i dont need extra pci slots that ill never use, i have a gtx 670 and thats powerful enough. i am turning my old z68 i5-2500k build into a family computer and i am going itx by the end of the week with a fractal node 304 case. i cant decide on a z77 gigabyte board or the high end asus board. i really need the portability of an itx system
m
0
l
December 19, 2012 2:23:24 AM

The Asrock is a great board, just be sure to really check out any high performance coolers you plan to use. A lot of the back plates end up sitting on transistors on that board, which would cause a short. There used to be an unofficial list of compatible coolers floating around, but it's no longer up where I last saw it. If you are sticking with the stock fan or using water cooling then you should be just fine.

To vanwazltoff: The gigabyte board is also a solid choice as long as you aren't planning on overclocking. It doesn't seem to overclock well at all, but that has been the only bad thing I've heard about it.
m
0
l
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
December 19, 2012 2:36:36 AM

lordravage said:
The Asrock is a great board, just be sure to really check out any high performance coolers you plan to use. A lot of the back plates end up sitting on transistors on that board, which would cause a short. There used to be an unofficial list of compatible coolers floating around, but it's no longer up where I last saw it. If you are sticking with the stock fan or using water cooling then you should be just fine.

To vanwazltoff: The gigabyte board is also a solid choice as long as you aren't planning on overclocking. It doesn't seem to overclock well at all, but that has been the only bad thing I've heard about it.

ive heard that also. i only OC to about 4.4ghz. ill be using an i5-3570k

kevgan i would personally go with the slightly higher priced asus deluxe, the asrock doesnt seem like a good value for the price compared to other options, the gigabyte board imho is a better value besides the problem with OCing. i am also debating which itx board to go with and i am pointing more and more towards the asus deluxe board
m
0
l
December 19, 2012 11:30:10 AM

Best answer selected by KevGann.
m
0
l
April 13, 2013 2:59:24 PM

I'd say go micro atx solely because of the NZXT Vulcan. You can do two way sli, water cooling, and a ton of storage options. Also, there are lga 2011 micro atx boards.
m
0
l
!