Hatman

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I use a micro ATX board and it performs just as well as any other board.


The only dislike I have is that its too cramped to fit my 7950GX2 in, a PCI slot gets in the way.
 

leo2kp

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Meh, niche market. You're going to compromise somewhere for the convenience of a small board. I'd personally leave MicroATX for the in-car PCs and ultra-portable gaming rigs IMO
 

TSIMonster

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I prefer MicroATX. These days, the only compromise is losing a PCI Slot, or something similar. Most people only need 1 or 2 PCI slots anyway. I'll be glad when everything downsizes. I am tired of titantic size cases and graphics cards. There may be a few people who need 10 hard drives and 15 Optical drives etc. Me, 2 hard drives, 2 optical drives max. MicroATX fits my needs. I have had 2 microATX boards (ECS) and both overclocked very well and were very reliable boards)still running today.
 

merc14

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I use MicroATX and a coolermaster Centurion case for low end builds. They are not for overclockers and lack many amenities but for an inetrnet rig with some word processing duties, doing taxes, editing photos and playing kid's games they are fine. Match it with a Fortron 350 watt PSU and some Corsair Value Select RAM and they can add a vid card later if needed. On some you need to augment the chipset cooling a little bit. I actually superglue some of those Thermaltake heatsinks to the top of the chipset block on certain models.
 

mr_fnord

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Where is the overclocking test? BIOS settings don't usually matter with integrated video, I've got an ECS mobo with BIOS options for all voltages and bus speeds, and lock/unlock options, and it still won't go over 5% OC due to integrated video! It doesn't have to be some 3 week tuning session getting the absolute maximum Mhz out of the chip, just a simple test to see if the integrated video totally chokes at almost no overclock.
 

mr_fnord

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You know, no onboard RAID, only 4 SATA ports and 4 internal USB ports, no onboard WiFi, only three fan connectors so you have to get splitters for your neon setup.
 

rodney_ws

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Ahh yes... neon! The spinning rims of the PC realm!
 

blueeyesm

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Do you mean nano-itx boards? those are what are used for in-car PCs, rather than µATX.

Personally, I find µATX is good for such uses as HTPC systems, light-use computing (i.e. glorified type-writer and office use), etc.

I'm still a bit iffy on using such form factors as SFF for gaming or hardcore usage, such as a storage server, however, they are still fun to tinker with.






 

TSIMonster

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Both of my last 2 mATX boards had onboard RAID. Not too many people need 4+ HDDs (even though my last mATX board had 6 SATA ports) Not many ATX boars have onboard WiFi, and a PCI card is like $10.

lol.
 
My Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R has onboard RAID, 6 SATA ports, 8 internal USB ports (plus 4 in the back), and 2x1394a (and another in back). It has parallel, serial, and gigabit LAN in back, and a HDMI_AC header; a few other miscellaneous things too. It only has the one fan header (besides the CPU fan), but why would you plug lights into that anyway? Oh, and it has 2xIDE and a floppy connector, neither of which I am using. I've got 2 SATA drives and an optical drive in my X-QPACK2, and could fit two more in the other 5-1/4" bay and external 3-1/2" bay. It's quiet, and the CPU (e6750 at stock) I don't think I've seen hit 35C on stock cooling.
It has lots of overclocking options too (although I haven't found the RAM timings yet).
 

nh484000

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My Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R has onboard RAID, 6 SATA ports, 8 internal USB ports (plus 4 in the back), and 2x1394a (and another in back). It has parallel, serial, and gigabit LAN in back, and a HDMI_AC header; a few other miscellaneous things too. It only has the one fan header (besides the CPU fan), but why would you plug lights into that anyway? Oh, and it has 2xIDE and a floppy connector, neither of which I am using. I've got 2 SATA drives and an optical drive in my X-QPACK2, and could fit two more in the other 5-1/4" bay and external 3-1/2" bay. It's quiet, and the CPU (e6750 at stock) I don't think I've seen hit 35C on stock cooling.
It has lots of overclocking options too (although I haven't found the RAM timings yet).

Its a Great board. I just got mine the other day and my Q6600 sound be coming tonight.

But those RAM timings... I think in the BETA BIOS there are RAM timings. Im not 100% sure but i think i read that somewhere.
 

yyrkoon

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Too bad the article left out the best mATX board period. Even though it is an AMD AM2 board, the ABIT NF-M2 nView is/was the best mATX board hands down. It is also un-fortunate that ABIT discontinued the board, but last time I checked you can still find it for sale at the odd eTailer.

Any mATX board that can host 8HDDs, is capable of populating 8GB of memory, has firewire + 6 USB ports, can overclock better than most of the 'big boys' for under $100 usd cannot be all that bad. Top it off with rock solid stability (read: I have my Opteron 1210/ Corsair XMS2 OC'd, and the system refuses to BSoD, or lock up _period_ ) The board also has onboard video, HD audio, and GbE ethernet, but inparticular, the video is nothing special, and would serve fine for the odd HDPC system. Myself, since I game with this system, I payed extra for a discrete video card. The voltage adjustment ranges are enough to more than fry a given stick of memory, and the overclocking settings in the BIOS are plentyful.

I've had this CPU close to 3Ghz on this motherboard(base CPU frequency is 1.8Ghz), but un-fortunately for me, my choice of cases (Lian Li PC-G50) leaves little room for large heatsinks, so I've had to 'settle' for a 250Mhz 'FSB' or 2.25Ghz overall CPU speed. None the less, the system is completely stable, and handles everything just fine.

The only two gripes I have with this board is that:

1) the system refuses to POST with a USB HDD attached until the device is powered down, and then will fail to boot into WinXP if the device is quickly powered back up. The only fix in either case is to leave the device powered off until you've booted completely into Windows.

2) the Placement of the 1x PCIe slot is in a bad spot, especially when the motherboard is mounted in a reverse ATX layout case. Basically in the reverse ATX configuration, with a Video card in the PCIe 16x slot, you will be traping heat between the two expansion cards. Luckily in my case, since I do not use a power hungry video card, this point is all but rendered moot.

I would really love to find a C2D motherbaord that is similar to this one, but un-fortunatly I have yet to find one.

 

uberman

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The only problem I see is usually the small board goes in a small case which isn't too helpful if you want to wedge in a large vid card or components that give off a lot of heat.
 

mtbman1980

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i run a msi micro atx board for my gaming system and have had no problems, has all the conectors i need,16xpci-e, 4 sata ports and all the old legacy ports as well. lots of oc options. and if you need more fan header get a fan controller.
 

kschoche

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Why wasnt there any AMD-based comparison or was there simply no interest in that, the article made a very valid point that many people prefer the equivalent AMD systems for HTPC applications, and listed several advantages.. I'm at least interested in a side-by-side with some of the latest chips/hardware.

 

cmcnorgan

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I have been considering micro-ATX for use in our home office which has multiple computers that are often left on overnight (e.g., downloading via bittorrent). The room gets pretty hot, so I was thinking that replacing one or more of the computers (there are 3 - 2 for me, one of which is also a linux fileserver, and one for my wife) with machines with a lower power draw might make a difference.
 

Ninjaz7

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I have a emachine gutted with silverstone 520w(smaller wireing for micro) 165 opty w/gskill tccd on a nf4 micro,kickin a 7600gs w/ audigy2zs...this machine rocks...gaming,dvd burning,pics, tunez(w/z560 logitech)...nice home theater/gamer/workstation.
Micros have everything I could want/need I think...
 

dogman-x

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Do any of these Micro-ATX boards support Dolby Digital Live? The way I understand it, the Intel chipset includes the necessary Dolby Digital encoding hardware, but there is a licensing fee to Dolby to turn on this feature in the driver, so a lot of motherboard vendors don't enable it. So just having a the right chipset and an SPDIF output doesn't tell you if you have Dolby Digital Live included with the motherboard.

Background: For those who don't know what I'm talking about, Dolby Digital Live takes the 3D sound channels (Left, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround, Center, and Subwoofer) and intercepts these output streams at the driver layer, then passes the audio data to specialized hardware that encodes up to 6 separate channels into a Dolby Digital bitstream that is then sent to the SPDIF output connector. So you just run 1 digital audio cable out of your computer to your Dolby Digital audio system. The result is SPECTACULAR sound effects in 3D games.

Note that the application layer doesn't know that any of this is happening. The game just sends up to 6 audio streams to the driver and sort of assumes that they are output separately. Since the Dolby Digital encoding takes place below the driver, any game that supports 3D sound effects will work with Dolby Digital Live.
 

darklife41

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May 18, 2006
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Micro ATX gives up too much for my taste. E-SATA, firewire, solid capacitors, etc., etc..

On top of that, we seldom build a system that doesn't use all available PCI slots on a full size board, which makes Micro ATX unrealistic for most people. Add a modem on a Micro ATX and you're done.

But the one thing that I really don't like about this type of review is that they can't possibly cover the reliability factor. 90% of the failed motherboards we get in for repairs are Micro ATX. Pay a little less now and a more later, or pay more for a full size board that'll last.
 

darklife41

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I believe some ASUS Micro ATX boards support Dolby Digital Live. Check out the specs on the manufacturer web site for any particular board to be sure.

I'm more into music than gaming, and Dolby of any type totally sux for music so I never use it. :)
 

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