Micro ATX question

By Corwin613 ยท 18 replies
Aug 6, 2009
  1. Will a Micro ATX motherboard fit in an ATX case or will none of the slots line up?

    I've never used a micro ATX board before so I am bit at a loss plus I currently don't have any micro atx cases. I haven't purchased the board yet either but I wanted to ask first.
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    A new motherboard will come with an alignment template. Motherboards that will fit, can have a variety of templates so that sockets differ, and USB ports, ethernet sockets, PS/2 locations will be located or aligned in different spots. but everything ends up neat and orderly.
    There are problems with used boards for which you do not have the template.
  3. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    Short answer Yes. As raybay said a new board will come with an ioshield (the metal plate around the ports, what raybay reffered to an an "alignment template") so all the ports will line up with the shield. with a used board you can run it without the shield (just be carefull no foregin objects enter the opening) or you can usually find a compatible shield at a computer shop or on ebay for less than $10. as for the screw holes and expansion slots a mATX board is just a shortened version of an ATX board (usually 2 or 3 less expansion slots) so they will line up just fine. You will just end up with some unused expansion slots (the lower 2 or 3) in the case.
  4. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    Ok thanks for the info. I may have to look up an IO shield once i get the motherboard not sure off the top of my head if it came with one.

    Would a case that is Micro ATX compatible have a proper IO shield? I know boards have different ports integrated on them so you just don't take out the ones you don't have.
  5. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    Not likely. Both ATX and mATX cases generally come with standard IOshields, these generally are made for the motherboards of 5-10 years ago (usually 2-4 usb, 1serial, 1parallel, 1 game, 3 audio, 1 VGA, 2 PS2) since at that time most boards had the same ports in the same location. In recent years newer boards (common on intel 775 and later,as well as, AMD 939 and later,ocasionally on earlier boards) commonly differed from this standard configuration oftain subing more USB ports for older ports like parallel and serial ports. The introduction of onboard 6 and 7 ch audio also added ports and changed port layout. some newer boards also have eSATA ports and have eliminated PS2 keyboard/mouse ports since many newer keyboards and mice are USB.

    Because of all these changes in recent years IO port layout is no longer anything resembleing standard and most newer boards require custom shields. Again you can run without a shield but it will leave gaps between the case and ports so you will need to be carefull not to let any foregin objects (especially metal ones) get into the case.
  6. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    Yeah this is a Intel 775 boardso it probably requires a specific IO shield then. I will look into it and make sure I have the correct one then

    Thanks all
  7. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    Ok anyone know of any places that sell IO shields? I do need one for my motherboard...

    Though the case I have installed it in has a wierd IO shield part that isn't like the others....

    the motherboard I have is a BIostar P4M800 Pro-M7
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,549

    What happened to the I/O shield that came with the board.

    Micro ATX mini towers are available but, they are usually limited to 2 Hard Drives, and 2 optical drives. Plus they have fewer PCI knockout slots than an ATX case.

    I have a Micro ATX Intel G31 / E2200 system built into one of these cases; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...090007 50001333 1054808291&name=Cooler Master (They're all the same case, just different PSU configurations)

    An I/O shied is a standard size, just different hole placement. Pop the one out of the old case (.) (!) or (?)

    You do understand that the I/O shield is mostly to prevent the computer from generating RFI? As long as the computer isn't knocking out the television, (or the neighbor's TV), it's still usable until you can find the correct one.

    You could also call MSI support to try and order the part from them. I've never dealt with MSI support, so I can't predict how much luck you'll have.
  9. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    I bought it as a set used and it unfortunately didn't come with one... It is a black metal case with red interior Ill see if i can't find what kind it is...

    I am using a ATX case not sure what kind it is since I bought it years ago... The IO shield screws in place and its not like a normal IO shield cases typically use...
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,549

    Every case I've bought has had a standard size I/O shield, one that is the same size as any shield that would come with a new board. This goes back 5 years.

    There are standards in place for compatibility with respect to size and mounting, (such as for PSUs), it's part of universal plug and play, which is mandated now. So, whatever case you're using has to have a few years, "experience" on it to be different.
  11. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    That's definately a bit odd. The last computer I saw without a standard IO shield was a dell made in 1999 (back when just about everything in dells was propriatary).

    If your case has a non-standard cut out for an IO shield you likely won't be able to find a sutible shield. You may want to consider a new case. You can find good ones about $50 and sometimes less. If the psu is as old as the case that may need replaced as well.

    As for the shield local computer shops usually have them; they tend to have a mix (oftain removed from dead systems they part out) so they may or may not have one that matches the ports on your board. You can also usually find them on ebay. You can also probably order one from the motherboard manufacture (Biostar) however they may have an inflated price.
  12. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    PSU is new 580 wat Powermax Demon PSU

    Case does have an odd IO shield in it with older standard ATX shield but its not a normal one which I am sure I can fix/mod with the correct one

    Will have to check into local computer shops I though about asking Biostar but didn't really want to pay out the wahzoo for it

    Case resembles this one http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=BLK-CP601-1 but the front is different so I image it is an older model

    EDIT: Money is tight at the moment so I may in a month or so change case.... was looking at this one since the board is a Micro ATX - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811128029 though any other suggestions would be helpful (under 100$)

    Thanks again to all of you
  13. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    Alot depends on what kind of case you want. My personal favorite sub $50 cases are coolermaster (perticuarily the centurian series) they tend to be well made, easy to work with, and relatively cheap.
    Here are some reccomendations:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119195 (if you want a case than can be a tower or desktop)
  14. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    In our experience, the <ON> button on the Centurian series breaks way too often, and Coolermaster has no replacement... some still work, others don't, and so you need to get a new case.
  15. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    Well the only issue I am having with this case so far is the IO shield (which understandably would can be a big deal)

    Thanks for the suggestions Dmill89 though I have to say I don't really like the looks of those cases a whole lot - i am a bit vain about what my computer looks like

    I do like black cases but sleeker designs .... sorry if i sound picky

    Don't suppose anyone has the case I was looking at?
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,549

    Well, at last we totally agree on something. Cooler Master seems hell bent on being the "gold" standard industry wide in lousy customer service.

    As to cases that have been suggested by dmill89, the "Antec 300" is by far the best choice. With the price @ $59.95 with free shipping it also is more price competitive than it appears at first. Shipping for a case is usually about $17.00.
    That's this one; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

    I don't know if the "will a Matx board fit an ATX case" question has been addressed to your satisfaction, but here again Plug and Play standards are in effect. A Matx board's mounting standards are over 2/3s of the ATX bolt pattern. As might be obvious this is the two rows of holes that are rearmost in the case. Mus' gotta be that way, to place the I/O array in the I/O opening.

    Have you tried to simply run the machine without the shield? It doesn't do all that much. you just can't be yanking on the cables. But who really does that anyway? Besides, the shield doesn't contact the socket arrays, so it adds very little, if any support. As to EMI/RFI issues, you just need to test.
  17. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    yeah been running it a little here and there just got the new Vid card for it today have a new hard drive for it as well but i am going to wait on installing it I think for the time being

    Been playing Spore on it

    EMI/RFI = Electromagnetic Interference/Radio Frequency Interference???

    How is not having an IO shield going to be worse then running a computer with the case open??

    Only bought 2 cases previously just reused the old ones before - Lian Li PC7 and whatever this black one I have is...
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,020   +2,549

    Er, exactly.
    Well um, It's probably not. This is probably why I told you to go ahead and try it. The I/O shield is partially just decorative anyway. Would you walk into a store and actually buy a machine with the I/O jacks just hanging in mid air? I doubt it. The FCC mandates permissible levels of EMI emissions, the I/O shield being only a small part of the suppression strategy. This is much ado about nothing. Every other part in the computer has been engineered to assist with the suppression of EMI also.

    They do sell all plexiglass cases as well. The trouble with citing those as an example is the possibility that the plastic material may contain some metallic compounds to assist in doing away with interference. This is how the "anti-static" bags are manufactured, since just the plastic by itself would be loaded with static potential. Just as a point of trivia, the glass in the front of all CRT tubes is leaded, to prevent the emission of X-Rays.

    Basically the overall strategy in suppression of EMI, is to envelope the entire computer electronics with metal (the case), then ground it. There are nooks and crannies where this isn't entirely accomplished. THe FCC's absolute standards are very stringent, beyond the point where a device would cause any severe EMI problems.

    Now the *****s who never tune up their cars, or still run copper spark plug wires are a very different story. Don't know if they'd knock out today's digital broadcast TV, but they sure used to walk all over the analog signal.
  19. Corwin613

    Corwin613 TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 93

    Oh Ok well thanks for the information

    Yeah as I said no problems without the IO shield would like one though just cuz it makes it look a bit nicer

    Still will be doing tune ups on my systems off and on for the next week
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