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ATX vs Micro ATX vs Mini ATX

Building a PC can seem quite intimidating. Deciding parts, buying them fitting it all together in a case and then loading up the OS is quite the task. With so many tasks on the list, it can sometimes be hard to focus on individual parts. 

We’re talking about your motherboard or the type of motherboard you should pick in specific. In this article, we’re comparing ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX motherboards so you know which one is the best choice for you. 


Micro, Mini or the regular ATX?

Here are the main differences between ATX, Micro ATX and Mini ATX motherboards.

Size

The most obvious difference between the three is the size. ATX motherboards are the largest of the three and usually measure 12″ x 9.6″. Micro ATXs are square in shape and come in at 9.6″ x 9.6″ while Mini ATX is the smallest of the bunch measuring just 6.7″ x 6.7″.


RAM Slots

ATX motherboards have the most RAM slots and overall capacity to handle more RAM. This comes from their obvious size advantage. Most ATX motherboards have at least four RAM slots while micro ATX motherboards come in at two slots. On a Mini ATX, you might find two or even a single RAM slot.


PCIe Slots

Once again, ATX motherboards win this one out thanks to their larger size. Typically an ATX motherboard will have more PCIe slots than micro or mini ATX motherboards which often tend to have the same number of slots. 

ATX motherboards have the most RAM slots and PCIe lanes.

If you’re building a gaming PC, you typically don’t need that many slots but if you’re looking at multi GPU setups, ATX motherboards are a better choice. 


Price

ATX motherboards tend to be costlier than their micro or mini ATX counterparts. The increase in price is understandable as these are bigger motherboards, with more RAM and PCIe slots and more often than not, more features.


Features

Most ATX motherboards will support more advanced features such as RGB lighting, support for aftermarket liquid coolers and might even come with 5.1 or 7.1 audio ports right out of the box.

Not it’s not to say that Mini or Micro ATX keyboards skip out on these features, but they’re usually not available on the smaller ones. 

Also read: How to build a custom PC? Top 7 PC builder websites


ATX vs Micro ATX vs Mini ATX: Pros and Cons

Here are some pros and cons for each type of motherboard. 

TypeProsCons
ATXBetter suited for long term usage.
More RAM Slots.
More PCIe lanes.
Highest RAM Capacity.
Better suited for overclocking.
Expensive
Won’t fit in smaller cases.
Micro ATXLeast expensive.
Better for single GPU builds.
Easy to fit into cases.
Usually lack advanced features like RGB.
Not as much RAM Capacity.
Not much freedom for upgrades.
Mini ATXEasier to fit in smaller cases.
Better aesthetics.
Usually have only two RAM slots.
More expensive than Micro ATX.
Won’t work for multi GPU applications.

Which one to pick?

Whatever motherboard you end up choosing will eventually depend on how long you want to use your PC, how many upgrades you plan to add, what features you need and how much you’re willing to spend. 

If you’re looking to build a PC long-term where you’ll be upgrading as you go along, an ATX motherboard is your best bet and it’ll give you the most longevity and flexibility when it comes to upgrades. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to build a PC on the cheap which you don’t really intend to upgrade all that much or you plan on building a different PC altogether, mini ATX and Micro ATX motherboards will save you a ton of cash. Not to mention if you like compact PCs, these two are pretty much your only options.

Also read: How to rate my PC on Windows 10?

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