Micro ATX vs ATX Motherboard- Everything to Know

Micro ATX vs ATX Motherboard- Everything to Know


Many people just live to play games or have their perfect workstation to execute their software’s and get zero lagging, so the concept of building their PC becomes quite appealing. Building a brand new PC implies making multiple riveting decisions. Intel or AMD? What amount of RAM would suffice? Should obtain a 4K graphics card? Will it be worth it get fancy cooling system? So many exciting questions you seek answers to however one integral part remains. What motherboard form-factor will you choose?

The motherboard is the basic driving force of the computer; it is responsible for allowing you to have heavy programs, software, games and running them without any glitches. The motherboard encompasses all of the fundamental and crucial elements of the computer. The debate of choosing a motherboard for high-end gaming or heavy usage comes down to the Micro ATX motherboard vs ATX. These two are the most famous opt they when you contemplate motherboard for high-performance PCs.

Choosing the right motherboard from these two for your PC can be rather tricky, as you cannot straight away deduce which option will suit you more. We will explain it all in this post. So let’s dive in.


Below are some features that allow us to compare the two form factors better:

  • Slots
  • Overclocking
  • Size
  • Price
  • Case

RAM Slots

Faster running memory is necessary for heavy PC usage like gaming and using large programs. Therefore, motherboards need to have sufficient RAM slots to increase the memory and hence give the performance a much-needed boost. RAM will deduce how efficiently you can run all your programs.

PCIe Slots

The purpose of PCIe slots is to give your PC some added functionality. Therefore, with the choice of several PCIe slots, you can have additional video cards plus modems affixed to the PC. Such additions enable you to get finer quality graphics and high performance. These slots further include numerous sound cards to support high-quality sound effects.


It is the practice of enhancing your motherboard’s clock rate to run it at a higher speed than its design was supposed to run. Some motherboards support overclocking while some do not. It is a safe practice and can help you get the most out of your CPU or Graphics Processing Unit. Though it runs heating risk, cooling options are always available.


The major distinction between motherboards is the form factor or size. Initial standard motherboards came bigger and bulkier offering slots and options, while later ones came smaller offering fewer slots and budget-friendly options.


Depending on the size, quality, and type of the motherboards their prices can vary considerably. Of course, a bigger motherboard will cost more because it is offering more. However, often it also relies on the demand and supply of the motherboard making it pricey despite its size.


Motherboards need to be placed in their cases and while these cases come with the standard and specific measurements for each motherboard, you can sometimes interchange the cases and use a bigger case for the smaller motherboard, it depends on the mounting holes on the case and if it will work for the other board. Commonly there are also mid to high tower cases in which you can place the bigger motherboard too.

Motherboard Reviews

ATX Motherboard

ATX Motherboard

As an alternate for the initial AT format, Intel came out with the ATX in 1995 and the existing ATX format features a big motherboard measuring 12 x 9.6 inches. This category of the motherboard has more to propose owing to its size so you know you will be getting the best of what motherboards have to offer at their maximum. It boasts a large size that can accommodate multiple ports plus add ons. ATX allows you to add up to four video cards and it has a varying depth that differs on several boards to adapt to bigger cooling fans on different PC modules. An ATX format can be an ideal fit to suit your gaming or big software usage needs.

The ATX has up to four extra slots that can include RAM cards of up to 32GB. It retains outstanding performance while running highly RAM-intensive software on the computer. The availability of the additional slots makes it effortless to run top-grade graphics on the PC. While a 16GB can suffice, imagine having, even more, to run programs or games on your PC, an extremely smoother experience than ever. Furthermore, professional gamers could utilize the ATX for building powerful PCs for games that require high-level CPU and GPU. 

With about seven slots for adding extra devices to the PC, the possibilities are endless. You get more graphics cards, more video cards, and an even better sound experience, which means full experience performance. Moreover, some PCI slots also hold extra HDD or SSD disks and this is extremely helpful in storing heaps of important data. The ATX motherboard carries a hefty price tag for all it offers and can cost more with the add-ons and components.


  • Amazing performance
  • More speed
  • Great expansion options
  • More room for components
  • Better cable routing in the case


  • It can take up too much room
  • More expensive
  • Only limited to gaming and heavy usage

High-end Performance

These boards retain high-end features and the design enables amazing performance than other motherboards. The ATX can encompass a bunch of expansion options with great RAM and give you a high-quality execution particularly when running operations that demand high-performance and you cannot afford any interruptions or lagging while working.

It is a fantastic option while dealing with heavy office computer programs making it perfect for business workstations setting. It retains two sets of onboard controllers to support external drives, and you get the option for plenty of add-ons for enhancing your computer’s performance. 

More Surface Area, More Range

With a bigger surface area for working, the PCs with ATX constantly have a larger array of component options that users can choose from so you get to have more without needing to purchase or switching to a different motherboard. 

Generally contemplating extra graphic cards, it can be expensive for it caters to massive setups, but an ATX becomes a great solution and the perfect size offering ample options.

Overclocking Wonder

ATX motherboards also have more skilled cooling and high-end components for regulating the voltage module (VRM), which can play a significantly higher in the overclocking ability of a system. Therefore, for those wanting to push the CPU to its maximum potential and get faster operations, the good news is that you can. The ATX motherboard is the way for overclocking.

Better Hardware Options

While talking about the hardware options for ATX motherboards, probably the biggest distinction between this motherboard and others is the case options.  As ATX becomes a favorite then the manufacturers pay special attention to it. It receives extra support from manufacturers meaning there are so many choices. You get to choose features, aesthetics, performance rendering it super easy to build your PC and have it exceed your expectations.

Designs Galore: Although many companies’ case offerings are outstanding and of quality despite the form factor, you choose, the ATX reigns supreme in having expansive case options. There are piles of chassis you can pick from, providing you the option of everything from noise canceling, refined, to brightly lit cases with glass panels and designs to show off your hardware in the most beautiful way. Larger cases give the potential for better and finer cooling ways. You can also extend some ATX versions by almost 13-inches for holding more features for your computer. While handling the extended versions, you need to contemplate if your motherboard can fit in the case.

Micro ATX Motherboard

Micro ATX Motherboard

The mATX or micro ATX motherboard initially came into the scene in 1997 and was a product of Intel. The world got to say hello to what the ATX has to offer, but in a smaller package. This motherboard features a reverse compatibility characteristic making it feasible to utilize it and use the hardware for ATX motherboards.

The Micro ATX has similar power connectors to the standard ATX versions and this is what it makes a favorite of many for it allows you to alternate easily between the standard and micro form factor without any extra hassle. The mATX comes at a smaller size of 9.6 × 9.6 inches and everybody knows good things come in small packages because this motherboard makes things much easier. Its size enables it to fit in a small case so no trouble of massive cases taking up all that space or finding appropriate space for stowing this motherboard. Moreover, if you already own an ATX case then you can place the mATX in it. The similar width to ATX motherboard allows mATX to retain the mounting points of the ATX.

Its micro size also means fewer slots so very little room for add ons, which were in abundance with the ATX. Moreover, there are only two RAM slots and the PCI slots can go up to four. However, this does not deter the mATX to perform any less. It comes ready to tackle your essential computer requirements. It will also take care of most (if not all) of your gaming needs for a full experience. Though it could struggle a tad with handling business programs. The mATX can include cards of up to 32GB so it gives you ample memory.

Although, some variances of Micro ATX offer up to four RAM slots giving you extra space for running your RAM-intensive programs. In the PCIe slots, you can enhance your user experience by adding video cards, sound cards, etc. The mATX motherboard comes at a fairly reasonable expense while offering so much. It is also common in standard computers where many prefer the smaller version for high performance.


  • Compact and portable
  • Less pricey
  • Great performance
  • Good memory
  • Fits most cases


  • Lack of expansion
  • Limited add-ons
  • Not suitable for overclocking

Removing Gaps

The modern micro ATX motherboard has fulfilled many undesirable gaps of the standard ATX. Choosing to make a smaller version with the mATX gave birth to a somewhat smaller full-tower computer. Now you can choose from all of the similar high-powered graphic cards, processors, memory kits, or coolers, but the best part is, you get to pack it all up in a much lighter and compact chassis. How amazing is that? Its build enables you to also fit it in most of the standard computer cases.  

Lighter Cases

mATX keeps getting better for its cases are available in all shapes, types, and characteristics. You get foam paneling to cancel noise, better side paneling for a solid build, or even the tempered-glass open layouts that display all you have inside your case. This makes for amazing aesthetics making you the envy of your friends and family.

Better Mobility

In all designs, the case remains lighter and smaller, but most importantly will take much less space when compared to the ATX. You could even place it on the floor if you love to go to LAN parties because moving your PC will be so easy. Those with little space will benefit greatly from the build of mATX and it looks more appealing. You do not get the domineering and imposing vibe like the ATX motherboard PCs. You can easily fit your micro-ATX PC with other electronics or your room decorations. 

Great Cooling Systems

Despite a smaller footprint, micro ATX cases still get high-end cooling and exceptional construction system fans with cooling chambers. Although cable management could be a tad difficult because there is little space for concealing them. However, with smarter space management, your mATX setup will look very neat.

More For Less: The micro ATX comes with some of the best goodness of the ATX in a little package, but the price is also less. Perhaps the biggest and most significant advantage of mATX is the overall cost that comes with it. Owing to the smaller footprint and materials going into this motherboard, it helps you get noticeable savings by choosing a mATX motherboard for your PC over the standard ATX format. If you seek a PC that fulfills your essential gaming and high program needs without overwhelming your desk like full-size tower computers, or wish to get the max out of your budget and small space then mATX CB can be the right pick. You can have this motherboard run standard computer programs for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Will Micro ATX have any performance effects?

Micro ATX compels less space so you can build in a smaller case, but never worry about the performance for it will be similar to ATX. While there will be no negative affects in execution, the difference lies more with add-ons like RAM and PCI slots.

2.  Can I substitute my micro ATX motherboards with standard ATX motherboards?

Of course, this is possible. You can easily substitute your ATX motherboard with the micro version as both boards run on the same components and you can interchange them, while getting similar performance.  Although the MicroATX will be smaller with fewer slots, its layout makes it easier to operate this motherboard in the chassis of ATX because of the same mounting points.

3.  Can I fit my ATX motherboard fit in a mid-tower?

Generally, the full tower or mid-tower cases can easily fit the standard ATX board, as it is the most common and widely used size. Most mid-towers are up to 18 inches high with 8 inches of width so they could even fit a mATX.

4.  When do I need an ATX motherboard?

For those planning to upgrade their PC and take the extreme performance route for heavy softwares or gaming then ATX is the way to go. This motherboard will take care of all your performance needs and allow you multiple expansions and performance enhancements. However, if you need a budget option and nothing hardcore then a micro ATX can help you save much money.

5.  Why can’t I overclock my micro ATX motherboard?

MicroATX motherboards are for smaller cases that do not have the best airflow and are usually placed under cramped spaces. These motherboards do not enable intensive performance and have low power. Therefore, you cannot overclock your mATX and it is not recommended to try it no matter your cooling options. It could severely damage your motherboard due to excessive heating especially if you have a small case. It will also not be ideal to attempt overclocking even with a bigger case.


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