Difference between ATX and micro-atx?

By abhinit90 ยท 16 replies
May 10, 2007
  1. Can anyone plz tell me the difference between Atx and micro-atx
  2. Ruben

    Ruben TS Rookie Posts: 100

    This is about PC case form factor and mobo form factor

    micro ....being a .... smaller size?
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    This is a throw-away term used in different ways by different manufacturers or marketing outfits.
    It usually refers to the size of the case, size and power rating of the power supply, and/or size of the motherboard.
    It has little to do with the speed or performance of the computer, but can mean that there is inadequate cooling in some.
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,028   +2,558


    Primarily it refers to the size of a motherboard. It's actually about 80% (or so) the size of an ATX board. It should (the mobo) mount on the same bolt pattern as an ATX board, however, it won't cover all the holes.

    When other products, (heat sinks, cases, power supplies and such), are mentioned in conjunction with Matx, it's generally to imply compatibility.

    Intel lists Matx (motherboards) as about 9.60" x 9.60".

    The ATX specs are 11.60" x 9.60".

    With respect to cases a Matx only case would likely be called a "mini-tower".
    Almost all "mid-tower" cases would accept both spec boards.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    ATX is a full size standard motherboard.
    micro-ATX is about 80% of the size and smaller. (and of course less slots)

    There is also BTX - but that is now pretty much obsolete.
  6. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Just out of curiousity -would the diminuation of the board physical size occur many more failures due to contaminant shorting between solder tracks?
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,028   +2,558


    To paraphrase Bill Clinton, depends on what you mean by "contaminant". I don't consider it a good idea to let a board become anywhere near that dirty. Anyway it doesn't seem to be a pervasive theme. If I were going to postulate anything, it would be heat issues, since everything is a fair amount closer together. That holds true for my Pentium 4 (Prescott) mini-tower, which only allows 2 fans, and obviously has a smaller internal volume than a mid-tower.
  8. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Posts: 244

    There's also uATX, this is even smaller than mATX, I just bought one for a very small case and it's ridiculously small, about 9.6" by 8". I personally don't like/recommend anything smaller than ATX due the lack of slots, ports, room for components etc. But just when it's necessary then you have to go with those small forms of MOBO-CASE. That's why I hate brand name computers, 90% of them(hold on maybe 100% of them as far as I remember) use mATX leaving you in the best case one empty Dimm and one PCI slot. :wave:
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,028   +2,558

    Adventures at Best Buy.....

    Usually the pre-built computer cases only offer expansion up to the top of the line. IE, If you buy an Emachines with 1 optical drive, then your expansion is limited to 2 optical drives, since 2 is the most that Emachines puts in a shipping model. Was this a rhetorical question? If not and you're interested in building your own machine, I'm fully on board with the mid to full tower and ATX motherboard plan.
  10. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    mATX can have 4 DIMM slots, but max of 4 graphics/PCI/PCIe slots total.

    So nothing's stopping people from putting in 2 8800GTX in SLI in an mATX box. But cooling would be a problem, and if you're going to have a hugh end system in mATX, you'll probably be looking at watercooling.

    But basically, other than the lack of slots (and most of the time, ports), most people won't see any difference between ATX and mATX.

    At the same time, most people won't see any difference between a P4 and a new Core2Duo. Current enthusiast community excluded.
  11. abhinit90

    abhinit90 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 115

    ok more info than i wanted thnx everyone
  12. greeny12m

    greeny12m TS Rookie

    Screw holes

    just to clarify can i replace my old ATX Board with a micro ATX and mount it on the same mountings?
  13. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Posts: 244

    Yes! but depends how old is the ATX and actually depends the Layout of the old Mobo, I will say 95% of the cases you can use you old mounts without any problem, I just recall having problems trying to swap a new micro ATX Mobo to an old Dell.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,028   +2,558

    By The Current Standards.......Matx is....

    Matx mounts on the rearmost 2/3 of the ATX bolt pattern. (That would be the left 2/3 looking into the case).
  15. raygunn

    raygunn TS Rookie

    hi guys, i hope some1 can help me, i have a problem w/c is related 2 this topic, i purchase a computer that has a Alhena5 mobo w/ a built-in video card, i was planning 2 upgrade the card & i like the 9800 gtx (or is it gtx+) w/ 1G of mem. but when i got 2 the store the sales guy told me 2 upgrade my power supply,...the label on my power supply says micro ATX 9.6x9.6 300w...what does that mean?, & if have all of this do i have 2 worry about cooling system like CMH said?

    tnx in advance guys.
  16. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    The guy is concerned that the power supply, which is rated at 300W is not powerful enough to support a fairly power-hungry video card. For the gurus on this board to help you, please take a clear picture of the sticker on the side of your power supply and post it here, so they can see the voltages and loads for your power supply, as well as the form factor (if you have a smaller case, standard PSU might not even fit in it. On a face value, I would buy at least a 500 watt PSU to install a card like that.

    Cooling is a different issue that I would relate mainly to the case, not the motherboard or a power supply. 9800 GTX+ runs fairly hot so there may be some heat build-up in the case, therefore you need a good airflow in the case to get all that excessive heat out.
  17. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    That is an old label from before ATX 2.00 standard came out. That was when a Micro ATX did not have a video graphics port, and used onboard video graphics and just two or three PCI slots... at that standard, before 2.00, 300 watts was plenty... and could be built in a much smaller power supply case, sometimes evern half size.
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