Difference Between ATX vs Micro ATX Motherboard and How to choose?

Debate on any topic is challenging, and at times when both sides are a winner, you cannot get over it. It can go on forever and ever and ever ATX vs Micro ATX.

The motherboard is a topic where both ATX motherboards and Micro ATX are winners, but we still like to talk about them and try to declare one winner.

Before we ask the question, which motherboard is better than which or which motherboard is compatible for whom? People come up with the question, what is this ATX and Micro ATX? What does ATX mean? What does Micro ATX mean? And what are their applications?

ATX vs Micro ATX Motherboard

let’s look into our computer and know about the motherboard. The motherboard is the most significant device found on your computer, and you can quickly identify it. It is huge chipboard that can be seen holding everything together.

If you look into the PC, you will see that everything in your PC is connected to the motherboard. Therefore it is also called the mainboard. Motherboard, like we always say, acts like a mother and keeps everything together in a PC.

The motherboard’s primary function is connectivity; it connects all the computer devices and works together as a unit. A system unit becomes a unit with the help of the motherboard. Without a motherboard, you cannot run a computer. A motherboard connects all the devices like RAM, CPU, GPU, Hard drives, cooling system, and controlling devices to connect to the computer.

The motherboard has different sockets, plugs, and connectors for different types of devices. These devices connected through their specific connectors. Motherboard then allows communication among them. Faster communication means the quicker performance of the computer.

Related: Best Micro ATX motherboards

The motherboards are being developed every day, with every new upgrade you get fast performing motherboard than the last one. The new motherboards are always quicker than their predecessors, but there is a catch. Motherboards have chips on them that support all the other hardware components of the computer. These chips are called chipsets. These chipsets, along with the connectors, are upgraded with each upgraded motherboard, and mostly, the upgraded motherboards do not support the computer’s old hardware devices.

So if you only want to upgrade your motherboard, it can be difficult because your new motherboard might not support the old devices; hence, you will have to upgrade them. So if you are looking to upgrade your motherboard, don’t do it. Just go and buy a whole new PC that will be cost-efficient and perform better.

Now coming back to the motherboard, the motherboard is essential for your PC to improve your PC’s performance. The latest motherboard is better performing than its predecessors. They allow data to travel faster among the hardware than the old ones.

Difference between ATX and Micro ATX

We want both the titans to clash; we want ATX vs Micro ATX, but before the titans’ clash, we want to know what they are and why we hear about them often?

Motherboards are manufactured, worldwide and to make sure they are compatible with devices and computer cases everywhere, Intel standardized the motherboard. The ATX and Micro ATX show the size and specifications of the motherboard along with compatibility.

Both of these motherboards vary in size and specification. Other sizes are available, like Extended ATX motherboard or Mini ATX motherboard, but ATX and Micro ATX mostly used worldwide. They are the motherboard’s most selling sizes; therefore, experts, manufacturers, and users often discuss them.

So, before Micro ATX vs ATX size, let’s get to know about these motherboards:

What is ATX Motherboard?

Advanced Technology Extended or ATX is the motherboard configuration specification introduced by Intel in 1995. Intel standardized the motherboards for better compatibility. The motherboard was formalized by the introduction of the ATX motherboard to be compatible everywhere.

The ATX motherboard was revision many times, and their latest version, 2.4, was released in 2013. The ATX motherboard has a size of 13 in x 9.6 inches. This is the standard size of the ATX motherboard. The motherboard also comes in larger and smaller sizes. The most significant extent in the motherboard comes as Extended ATX.

 Before ATX motherboards were introduced, the de facto style was AT. The AT motherboard only had a keyboard connector and allowed connectivity only through expansion slots. There were no other connectivity slots or connectors on the AT motherboard. The ATX motherboards changed the game, and they let the computers to be more expandable. The USB ports that were introduced in ATX motherboards changed the whole game.

Related: Best Extended ATX motherboards

ATX motherboards also called Standard ATX motherboards. They are the standard size for the motherboard. They have potent VRMs that are very important for overclocking. The ATX motherboards, due to their immense size, have great VRMs and allow a stable power supply to the CPU while overclocking.

ATX motherboards also support more PCIe slots than smaller motherboards. The ATX motherboards mostly have up to 7 PCIe slots. The Extended ATX even has more number of PCIe slots on them.

What is Micro ATX Motherboard?

Micro ATX motherboards or also known as mATX motherboards, are smaller in size than the ATX motherboard. The smallest ATX motherboards were first introduced in 1997. These motherboards have the same I/O panel, and the mounting holes on the Micro ATX motherboard are quite similar to ATX. The mounting holes used to mount motherboards to the cases. The Micro ATX motherboard has almost the same mounting holes as a Standard ATX motherboard, which means that the Micro ATX motherboard can be fitted in an average case.

The motherboards have cases according to their sizes, but the Micro ATX motherboard can be used in an average case used for the ATX motherboard. Micro ATX motherboards’ standard size is 9.6 in x 9.6 inches, which is pretty small then the standard ATX motherboard. It is excellent for compact spaces and can fit in small cases easily. It is also cost-efficient, and people with budget problems tend to buy Micro ATX motherboard.

Micro ATX motherboards have a small size; therefore, they support a low number of connectors. ATX motherboards support a maximum of 7 PCIe slots, but the Micro ATX motherboards can only support a maximum of 4 PCIe slots due to their smaller size. The Voltage Regulator Module in Micro ATX motherboards is not that great compared to ATX motherboards due to the Micro ATX motherboard’s smaller size.

Micro ATX motherboards cannot support devices like the normal ATX motherboards, but they are excellent for standard PC because they don’t cost much.

When to Choose Micro vs ATX Motherboard?

The newbies, even after knowing everything, cannot understand what to buy or what not to. They might still be asking when should we choose Micro or when should we choose the ATX motherboard.

If you are suggesting somebody something, you will first try to know the requirements of the person. Micro ATX vs Standard ATX, which one is right for you depends on your needs. If you are looking for a high-end PC and want a powerful PC, you should go for an ATX motherboard. ATX motherboard has more space and supports more devices than a Micro ATX. It also has a powerful VRM and can keep over the edge cooling system.

If it was mATX vs Mini ATX and the requirement was performance, we would have advised you to go for mATX. Micro ATX vs Mini ATX motherboard, the Micro ATX motherboard is far more powerful than the Mini ATX.

Related: Best Motherboard for i9 9900k

If you are looking for a cheap motherboard, we will advise you to go for a Micro ATX motherboard. Motherboard ATX vs Micro ATX, ATX at a more affordable price will not be fast as mATX motherboard. The cheaper ATX motherboard will be an older version, which will be slower and will support old hardware, but Micro ATX motherboards are cheap, so a Micro ATX at the same price might be much fast than the ATX motherboard.

Now the question is for you, whether ATX or Micro ATX motherboard. The choice is yours but always chose wisely because the whole PC depends on the motherboard.

Final Thoughts

We have done a Micro ATX vs Full ATX for you. We compared them both and also defined their advantages over others. In the start, both form factor motherboards are the winner, but the winner will be decided according to their requirements for the user.

For a user with specific requirements, ATX might be the winner, and for another user with some different conditions, Micro ATX might take the cake. So everything depends on the need. If we do an ATX vs Micro ATX vs Mini ATX, a shallow space user might choose Mini ATX. Even though Mini ATX is not that powerful as the ATX, there is no competition, but the person might still choose Mini ATX. 

You need to find the best motherboard in the selected form factor. Choosing a form factor is such a headache when you will need to search to find the best motherboard in your fixed form factor. You will have to go through hundreds of motherboards to find the one made for you but wait a second. If you chose Micro ATX, you are in luck because we have already made a list of the MATX motherboard. You don’t want to get in the trouble of searching for the Micro ATX motherboard, go through our article about the Micro ATX motherboards. 

If you were in the ATX motherboard corner, then fear not; we will soon be doing an article about that too. Stay tuned, and you will get what you want and what you deserve.

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