Motherboard Sizes and Form Factors
Motherboard sizes can make or break a system, so be sure to consider what size you need before buying a computer. There are many types of boards available, but they all share some basic specifications. ATX motherboards typically have 7 expansion slots and are capable of supporting multiple high-end graphics cards. You can even add custom water cooling loops to an ATX motherboard if you want. Plus, you won’t have to spend extra money to purchase a larger case, and the same size motherboard can fit in a smaller one.
Typically, a big motherboard will offer the most expansion and connectivity. Most people won’t need a multitude of connections, but they may need more. Typical users will use a single PCIe x16 slot for their GPU, two RAM slots, SATA connections, and fan headers to help with cooling. Others, however, will need tighter connections or multiple PCIe slots, so you’ll need to consider a bigger board.
The next size up from ATX is mini-ITX, which is smaller than micro-ATX and more space-efficient. A mini-ITX motherboard is 170 x 170mm in size and represents the smallest standard motherboard size. There are even smaller versions of this motherboard that are available, such as the nano-ITX and Pico-ITX. Both of these sizes are compatible with smaller casings, but the smaller versions of these motherboards are generally more expensive.
Motherboard size is the most obvious difference between form factors, and you should pay close attention to size. You might have to settle for the smallest form factor if you want to build a portable PC. If so, you may want to choose between Mini ITX or Micro ATX motherboards. If you’re building a full tower computer, however, you’ll likely need a mid or full-sized case to fit the ATX motherboard.
Besides size, another factor to consider when choosing a motherboard is the expansion slots. Smaller motherboards have fewer expansion slots and can limit your overall PC performance. So, if you’re planning to add a lot of RAM, EATX motherboards are a good choice. They’re long enough to accommodate up to 10 HDDs and four M.2 NVMe SSDs, and have a variety of expansion slots.
In addition to CPU, you should consider RAM. An ATX motherboard has four PCIe slots, while a Mini-ITX motherboard has only two. Mini-ITX motherboards only offer two PCIe slots. However, if you’re planning on using your computer for high-performance work, PCIe is essential. However, you should also consider the form factor if you’re building a gaming rig. For instance, a Micro-ATX motherboard must allow for multiple expansion slots and RAM. A full-tower motherboard must have room for other components as well.