What is Micro ATX Motherboard? Uses, Pros, Cons & More

What is Micro ATX Motherboard?

A micro ATX motherboard, referred to as uATX or mATX are those that measure only 244 x 244 mm and have a maximum of 4 expansion slots and DIMM slots. It allows using quad-channel memory and dual graphics arrangement.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Also known as mATX motherboards, the Micro ATX motherboards are usually 9.6 inch wide and 9.6 inch deep.
  • The major advantage of the Micro ATX motherboard is the compact and small size.
  • The Micro ATX motherboards are cheaper in comparison to the standard motherboards.
  • The output of the Micro ATX motherboards is however lower than the standard ATX motherboards.

Understanding Micro ATX Motherboard

What is Micro ATX Motherboard

The Micro ATX motherboard is a variant of ATX motherboard which is smaller in size.

Its 244 × 244 mm size is the standard but there are a few specific models that come with smaller dimensions such as 244 × 205 mm.

Designed primarily with intent to save energy usage, production cost and space, these smaller motherboards offer the same amount of room for memory as a regular ATX motherboard.

However, the mid to high range Micro ATX motherboards come with four RAM slots therefore offering less room for storage than the regular ATX motherboards.

The budget class of these motherboards however comes with only two of these slots.

Also referred to as μATX or mATX, the Micro ATX motherboards introduced in December 1997 come with a maximum of 4 PCI Express slots instead of 7 as found in a standard ATX motherboard.

The Micro ATX motherboards are backward compatible with standard ATX and its mounting points are designed as the subsets of the points used in a regular ATX board.

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However, the I/O panel is pretty similar and so are the power connectors, which is why you can use a Micro ATX motherboard in a full-size ATX case.

Moreover, the chipsets used in these smaller ATX boards are usually the same as those used in the regular ATX boards. This allows using the same components in the two boards.

However, the Micro ATX boards will not offer similar expandability as the regular ATX boards due to fewer expansion slots which is why several manufactures design their Micro ATX boards with a complete range of integrated peripherals such as integrated graphics.

This saves space and at the same time conserves expansion slots.

Moreover, since 2006, the Micro ATX motherboards come with dual-GPU configurations.

Usages of a Micro ATX Motherboard

The design and small form factor of the Micro ATX motherboards makes it a useful component to use in modern computer systems.

The dual GPU and quad memory configuration has reduced the demand for a full ATX motherboard even further.

A Micro ATX motherboard is used by gaming enthusiasts as well as professionals along with those who are looking for a smaller and cheaper motherboard. These boards offer great value to them.

Also, these smaller ATX boards are useful to those PC builders who want to build a more compact system that will offer much more flexible placement, whether it is on the desk or on the floor.

Finally, a Micro ATX board is useful to build a PC that will be good enough and serve most of the computing purposes.

Though there is nothing official about it, these small form factor ATX motherboards have all those features to meet the computing demands of three quarters of computer users at the minimum.

This is a significant reason other than its low cost that the micro ATX boards are gaining immense popularity among the mainstream consumers.

The Lifespan of Micro ATX Motherboard

A Micro ATX can efficiently work for a period of 3-4 years. After this period, the users have to change the motherboard of his PC.

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If the user goes with a good, updated motherboard, and properly uses the PC then, it can easily serve 5 years without any issue.

This update is necessary as new concepts and peripherals are introducing rapidly in the universe of computers.

For example, 5 years ago most of the motherboards offered DDR3 RAM slots, but now DDR4 RAM is mandatory in every great performing PCs.

The Pros 

  • One of the major advantages of the mATX motherboard is its size. The size of it is very compact; for which the size of the chassis becomes relatively smaller.
  • This type of motherboard is quite cheaper than the ATX motherboards.
  • Except the high end users, most of the computer users prefer micro ATX motherboards, as they are able to fulfill most of the purposes of the users at an affordable price tag.

The Cons

  • Some this type of motherboard, of low budget, doesn’t offer more than two slots for the RAM. Although most of the mATX motherboard manufacturers offer some product with 4 RAM slots and they are quite costly.
  • It offers less PCIe slots to the users. Although it isn’t a major issue because most of the users use only one PCIe slot for mounting the GPU.
  • Most of the computers which are equipped with a micro ATX motherboard have a very compact design. For this compact design, these PCs are not able to offer a great cooling system.
  • This type of motherboards are not used in any gaming PCs. As it has a very compact size, it is not able to provide sufficient room for large GPUs, great cooling system, and other advanced features which are very necessary in a gaming system.
  • The mATX motherboards offer a lower power output than a regular motherboard.
  • An ATX motherboard can easily be replaced by a mATX motherboard. But to insert an ATX motherboard to a system which has mATX motherboard, the user has to change the whole cabinet as its size has to be increased.
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FAQs:

What does micro ATX motherboard mean? 

The micro ATX motherboard is the compact form of ATX motherboard. In terms of performance, micro ATX motherboards are not as good as ATX motherboards, but, having a compact size, it is used in most of the computers of recent time.

What is the standard size of a micro ATX motherboard?

Most of this type of motherboard has a dimension of 24.4 x 24.4 cm, 9.6 x 9.6 in; whereas the dimension of the larger ATX motherboard is 30.5 x 24.4 cm, 12 x 9.6 in. The most promising thing in a mATX board is its compact size.

Is a micro ATX motherboard good for gaming?

No, the micro ATX motherboards are not made to serve the gamers. Being compactly designed, this type of motherboard is not able to provide great cooling ability.

The GPU ability of it is also limited. Not only gamers but also every high end user should avoid micro ATX motherboards. But casual games can be played in it.

Can micro ATX fit in Mid Tower?

Most of the mid-tower and full-tower cases support ATX motherboards. As we mentioned earlier, a micro ATX motherboard can be easily fitted in every PC which supports an ATX motherboard. The size of ATX is larger than micro ATX.

About Taylor Swift

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift, a UOPEOPLE graduate is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She loves to play video games and watch movies when she has no writing assignments. Follow Her at Linkedin