Motherboards are the backbone of a computer system, providing connectivity and communication between all of the different components. However, not all motherboards are created equal. There are different types of motherboards, each with its own unique features and advantages.
TL;DR: There’re six types of motherboards which are ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, Extended-ATX, Flex-ATX, and Nano-ITX. (Read below for an in-depth information bomb)
In this article, we’ll explore the six main types of motherboards, what form factor is, and the pros and cons of each form factor.
What is Form Factor?
The size and shape of a motherboard are referred to as its form factor. It specifies the physical size, layout, and mounting holes of the motherboard, as well as where the ports, sockets, and other connectors are located. A motherboard’s form factor also impacts compatibility with specific computer cases, power supplies, and cooling solutions.
What Are The Different Types Of Motherboards In 2023?
There are six different types of motherboards based on their form factors:
The most popular form factor used in desktop computers is ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended) motherboards. They are 305mm x 244mm and include standard mounting holes, allowing them to fit in most computer cases. It includes many expansion slots, including PCI, PCI-E, and AGP, allowing you to install extra components like graphics cards, sound cards, and network cards.
They also include several SATA connections for hard drives and SSDs. ATX motherboards have the benefit of having enough expansion space and being compatible with the majority of computer chassis. The biggest drawback is that they might be hefty and take up a lot of room in compact cases.
Micro-ATX motherboards are 244mm x 244mm in size, which is smaller than ATX motherboards. They feature fewer expansion slots than ATX motherboards, although they are still compatible with most desktop cases. Micro-ATX motherboards are an excellent choice if you want a smaller form factor for your computer while yet allowing for some expansion.
Micro-ATX motherboards have the benefit of being smaller and more compact than ATX motherboards, making them a viable alternative for smaller cases. They have fewer expansion slots than ATX motherboards, which is their biggest downside.
With dimensions of just 170mm x 170mm, Mini-ITX motherboards are even more compact than Micro-ATX motherboards. They are made to be utilized in small systems and have a single expansion slot, usually a PCI-E one.
For constructing compact form factor PCs or home entertainment systems, mini-ITX motherboards are the best choice. Mini-ITX motherboards have the benefit of being incredibly tiny and compact, which makes them perfect for usage in small cases. Due to their modest size, their biggest drawback is that they have few alternatives for growth.
Extended-ATX (E-ATX) motherboards measure 305mm x 330mm, which is larger than ATX motherboards. They contain more expansion slots than ATX motherboards and are thus suitable for high-end gaming systems or workstations. E-ATX motherboards also feature additional power phases, which can help with stability and overclocking.
The advantages of E-ATX motherboards are that they have more power phases and greater expansion space than ATX motherboards. The primary downside is that they may be too big for various applications.
Flex-ATX motherboards, which measure 229mm x 191mm, are even smaller than Micro-ATX motherboards. They are intended for usage in PCs with tiny form factors or embedded devices. Flex-ATX motherboards include a single expansion slot, usually PCI-E, and so have restricted expansion possibilities.
Flex-ATX motherboards have the benefit of being extremely tiny and compact, making them excellent for usage in small form factor computers or embedded systems. The biggest downside is that, due to their compact size, they have restricted expansion choices and may not be compatible with some typical computer cases.
With dimensions of only 120mm x 120mm, nano-ITX motherboards have the smallest form factor currently accessible. They are intended for use in embedded systems or ultra-compact Computers.
Nano-ITX motherboards include only one expansion slot, which is often a PCI-E slot and have few additional choices for expansion. The benefit of being exceedingly tiny may be utilized in embedded or ultra-compact systems. The biggest drawback is that they don’t support all typical computer cases and have few extension choices.
In summary, there are six main types of motherboards based on their form factors: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, Extended-ATX, Flex-ATX, and Nano-ITX. Each form factor has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of motherboard will depend on the specific needs of the system being built. When selecting a motherboard, it’s important to consider factors such as compatibility with the case, power supply, and cooling solution, as well as the required expansion options and the intended use of the system.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Can I use an ATX motherboard in a Micro-ATX case?
No, an ATX motherboard will not fit in a Micro-ATX case. The two form factors have different sizes and mounting hole locations.
What is the importance of form factor in motherboard selection?
The form factor of a motherboard defines its size and shape, as well as its compatibility with computer cases, power supply, and cooling systems. Selecting the correct form factor is critical to ensuring that the motherboard fits correctly in the case and functions properly with the other components in the system.
What are the advantages of using a smaller form factor motherboard?
Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, Flex-ATX, and Nano-ITX motherboards are more compact and occupy less room in the chassis than larger form factor motherboards. They are perfect for creating embedded devices or tiny form-factor Computers. Smaller motherboards, however, could offer fewer expansion possibilities because of their lower size.
What are the advantages of using a larger form factor motherboard?
In comparison to smaller motherboards, larger form factor motherboards, such as E-ATX, offer a greater area for expansion and feature more power phases. They are perfect for high-end workstations or gaming systems that demand a lot of processing power and extra parts.
Can I use a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboard in a full-size ATX case?
Yes, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards may be used in full-size ATX cases, however, they might not fit completely inside. Before making a purchase, make sure the motherboard and case are compatible.
What are the expansion options available on a motherboard?
PCI, PCI-E, and AGP expansion slots are available on motherboards as alternatives for adding extra components such as network cards, sound cards, and graphics cards. Several SATA ports are also available on motherboards for hard drives and SSDs. Depending on the motherboard’s form type and model, different numbers of expansion slots and connections are available.
What factors should I consider when selecting a motherboard?
While choosing a motherboard, take into account compatibility with the case, power supply, and cooling solution, as well as the needed expansion possibilities and the system’s intended application. While choosing a motherboard for a given CPU, it is also vital to examine the chipset, socket type, and Memory compatibility.
This article was originally published on March. 2, 2023