Can I build a gaming system with a mATX motherboard?

By Ancelot327 ยท 25 replies
Mar 22, 2011
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  1. Hello guys, well the title of my thread clearly says what i want to know =) I just want some opinions, I would like to know if i can build a gaming system using a micro-atx motherboard. I'm not thinking to build a hell of a gaming system but something that i can use for WoW, CoD, Fallout 3.

    I just need the motherboard because i already have the other parts, only the case is missing.

    I already spent 373$ on PSU,CPU,Ram,HDD. I'm willing to spent another 300$ on video card, mobo and the case. Any good opinion would be helpful =) My psu has 500w and it says it can hold up to 600w but i dont trust that O.o

    This is my cpu- AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor

    RAM- Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory

    And this is the video card i have in mind, is there any other better one let me know.

    ASUS ENGTS450 DC OC/DI/1GD5 GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    I only use nvidia video cards.
  2. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257

    everything sounds good. Of course you can...

    That is a micro ATX by its description, and you could make one hell of a gaming system with that board.

    The video card you are planning on getting isnt bad either, I'm sure you will be able to run those games with that card.

    Here is a list of motherboard that should work for you.

    If that link doesnt work, here is a few direct links.

    This is the one I might get though.. just my opinion.

    Hope that helps...
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    I think you can build a decent gaming PC using a micro ATX format. As long as the components are decent and the case is configured so a long graphics card fits and you have adequate cooling, it should be fine. I might try a micro ATX gaming PC in the future myself.

    Edit: Wouldn't you know it. After 19 hours of no one responding, Trillionsin gets in ahead of me by minutes. :)
  4. Ancelot327

    Ancelot327 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    Thanks guys =) i think im going with that motherboard since im going to use AMD

    MSI 890GXM-G65 AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    I would like to know if the video card im getting isnt to big for the board? i dont want to have heat problems and my PSU is only 500w with peak to 600w, but i dont know if is safe to use the peak to 600w. first i must calculate how much wattage i will need for my build. And i think i will have to buy something to cooldown the heat O.o . Another thing the motherboard says it has an onboard videocard and its a radeon, since im going to use nvidia videocard should i have any issue with that?
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    "500 watts to 600 watts peak" is a bizarre and sort of suspicious rating for a PSU. PSU capacity changes with operating temperature and other things. Good PSUs, "Antec Corsair, and other just give one rating, the max capacity, presumably to be delvered under a wide variety conditions encountered.

    The short answer to your primary question is this, "you can build a fine gaming PC with a mATX board". An Intel chipset or CPU, (ditto for AMD), of the same number has the same absolute potential in whatever size board you choose.

    HOWEVER, this is only true as long as you never intend going past a single video card configuration. Almost all mATX boards have only one PCI-E x 16 lane. So, as a general rule, you can forget SLI or Crossfire dreams.

    The top end ATX boards may have up to four PCI-E x 16 (or x8) lanes, to accommodate an equivalent number of video cards.

    I would absolutely suggest staying away from mATX cases due to cooling issues.

    With all that said, here are 2 Gigabyte Intel H67 boards: a mATX and an ATX The specs are virtually identical, save for some extra PCI expansion slots in the ATX model. The ATX board is only 10 dollars more, so it begs the question, since you should use at least an ATX mid-tower for the case, why not just buy the ATX board anyway
  6. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Yes I think you can use an mATX for a gaming computer. I have an mATX and my computer was built with gaming in mind, so it is a "gaming computer" I think.

    Indeed, I'd like to know what powersupply you have.

    Why do you use only NVidia cards?
  7. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    I know Shuttle PC's use board of their of Small Form Factor and not quite the same as Micro ATX but I've had 3 Shuttles all with higher end gaming configurations (previous pc was C2Q 6600 @ 3Ghz, 8800 GTX -> HD5850, 4GB OCZ-EL DDR2 all running fine off a 400W Shuttle PSU but it was a high efficiency quality PSU). Only issue was it was limited to housing a HD5850 as the HD5870 was slightly longer and the motherboard power connection was in the way. That's about the only thing I'd say to look out for when looking to build something with a mATX board, space for the ever stretching video cards :)
  8. Ancelot327

    Ancelot327 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    The PSU i have is a "rocketfish gaming" , i though it was good one or maybe is a crap ;P . I use nvidia videocards because i dont have issues with them, i used radeon before and i had problems loading some games.
  9. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Rocketfish is garbage; they're rebranded Huntkeys, which are almost universally craptastic.

    An mATX motherboard is suitable for gaming, provided you avoid overclocking anything. Also, I'd highly recommend not using an mATX motherboard with a quad-core CPU; they get relatively hot and can often cause heat dissipation issues on smaller mobos. If you do want a quad-core, go for it but avoid any OCing IMHO, unless you've got a third-party HSF on it that can keep it cool enough.
  11. Ancelot327

    Ancelot327 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    so the psu wont do the job? :/
  12. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257

    It's just a power supply... since you already own it (or maybe im assuming) then give it a shot.

    All I can say is that I'd buy better with my money... I'd stick to a few of the more popular brands... if it dies then just replace it with a Corsair, Ultra, Cooler Master, OCZ, or Thermaltake those seem to always work out well for me.

    I would suggest staying away from DiabloTek. Not first hand on their PSUs, but other products from them seem to be very cheap as well.
  13. Ancelot327

    Ancelot327 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    Ty for the help ppl =D, but now im afraid if the 500w will be enough for the system im gonna build.
  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    It might be barely enough. You would be better off getting a good-quality one though. The best would be Corsair, Antec's Neo, TruePower & Signature series, Seasonic, Thermaltake's ToughPower series, Kingwin's Lazer Gold series, NZXT's Hale90 series, PC Power & Cooling and the high-end OCZ products.
  15. Ancelot327

    Ancelot327 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    to think that i paid 100$ for that PSU pice of crap =/ never though it was that bad, best buy sucks.
  16. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257

    Yea, it does... but like i said, why not give it a shot? If you notice poor performance then replace it and sell that one on ebay.
  17. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    A wonky PSU will likely blow, frying most (if not all) components connected to it at the time. Not a risk worth taking IMHO. "Poor performance" is limited to sudden restarts and/or BSODs, and only lasts for a while, eventually culminating in a brief spark and/or popping sound, and the smell of burnt plastics.
  18. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257

    I'm sorry. I suppose you are correct.. however working with many PCs Ive had PSU's "blow" and never fried any additional components... servers as well. I'm still not denying the possibility, of course.
  19. Ancelot327

    Ancelot327 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    well you guys are correct, but i spent 100$ dollars on tht PSU, i have to sell it or else i give it a shot, my friend used one before and it worked well.
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Again, it depends on the PSU. I'm referring specifically to low-quality brands like Huntkey, Athena Power, Logisys, Rocketfish, Deer, Diablotek, Linkworld, Dynapower, Raidmax, Apevia, Apex, Coolmax and other brands that not only have fabricated information on the sticker, but are also rated at 25C operating temperatures, which are obviously unrealistic.
  21. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257

    Here you can always give this a shot.

    Im using this as my base. These seem to give me different ratings... but good for a general idea.

    Please note, this is WITHOUT a video card. (using onboard video)

    PSU calculators:
    Our recommended PSU Wattage: 313 W
    Your Recommended Minimum Power Supply is

    I tried to get all the options the same... but somehow they came out a little different. As you can see a basic PC doesnt require much wattage. However I am unsure what the wattage on your video card is.. sorry, I just havent taken that much time too look it up. Hope the calculators help though.
  22. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257


    I have a 1300 W PSU. I just tried to calculate mine... way overshot per this website's recommendation.

    So there's an idea for you, as crude as it may be.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    I have a much simpler, but very effective way of dealing with basic PSU needs. I shove an Antec EA-380 into everything, whether it needs it or not. Sometimes I use an EA-430, but only if they're on sale.

    The EA-430 should handle most newer mid-line single video cards.

    If you have paranoid delusions of being crowned "king of gaming", with "8-way SLI" then obviously, you're going to need something way, way bigger.
  24. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,596   +257

    Antec EA-380

    I'd agree, Cranky. It's always nice to see an old timer give his opinion. ;)
  25. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Those PSU calculators give you a very crude estimation; I usually find it best to add 30-35% to the results for a better estimation.

    That being said, using the Antec EA380 or the EA430 is a good rule of thumb for most budget and some mid-range systems. Similar alternatives include the OCZ StealthXStream 500W/600W, the Silverstone ST50F-ES, the XFX PRO450W & the Seasonic S12II 430.

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