Question What is the difference?

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Lafong

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I've never owned a mini, but I'd imagine the worst part of it would be trying to work inside such a small case. Too cramped, which would likely lead to cooling issues if you ran a higher powered processor.

If you could regard a mini as a disposable appliance, they might be tolerable. But I can't live with the shortcomings.
 
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geofelt

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ATX will have 7 expansion slots and M-ATX will have 4.
ITX will have one.
As a practical matter, only one expansion slot is used by most, namely the x16 pci slot.

MATX will fit in a ATX case, but not vice versa.
Usually, MATX will be cheaper.
 
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Math Geek

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the size is the difference. smaller mobo means less room for the extras. so fewer slots on it all around.

you need to evaluate your needs. most likely you won't miss the extra slots/ports if you look at what you actually use.

i just built a mini-itx system with a leftover 3600x. i used no sata ports as i went with an m.2 ssd and no optical drive. i don't need 4 ram slots anyway so 2 is plenty. only add-on card was the gpu which is in the only pcie slot. mobo has enough usb ports and front connectors so i don't lose anything there. and the case actually has a ton of room for its size and i had no problems getting everything into it easy enough.

of course if you want 5 m.2 slots, 10 sata ports, 30 usb ports, 6 pcie slots and on and on and on, then clearly the smaller size is not gonna work for you.
 
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Ncallstar

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I've never owned a mini, but I'd imagine the worst part of it would be trying to work inside such a small case. Too cramped, which would likely lead to cooling issues if you ran a higher powered processor.

If you could regard a mini as a disposable appliance, they might be tolerable. But I can't live with the shortcomings.
So if I just have a 11400 and prob a 2060ti or something close to it and don’t need to overclock benchmark max maybe a micro atx could be good?
 

USAFRet

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So if I just have a 11400 and prob a 2060ti or something close to it and don’t need to overclock benchmark max maybe a micro atx could be good?
Well...a micro is generally more expensive than a standard ATX size.
Miniaturization costs...

Unless you have real space needs and are going to put it in a little case (with all the hassles that brings), there is little reason to go microATX.
 

Karadjgne

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Ability. The best mITX generally rank with the better ATX, but the best ATX outshines anything smaller in form factor.

It has to do with real estate. ATX has it, mITX doesn't. So things like transmission channels traces are slightly smaller, more compact, which can affect OC of everything from cpu to ram. Because of lack of real estate, there's also far less components, things like fan headers, Sata headers, USB headers etc. There simply isn't enough space to route the traces necessary for all the seperate components or space to actually put them. That also includes things like heatsinks as there must remain a set amount of space around the socket for a cooler, so mITX generally only has 2x DIMM slots. My Asus mITX has an m.2 bay, with heatsink on top of it, and a micro-fan and the motherboard audio chipset mounted on top of that, hi-rise fashion, just because of lack of real estate on the board itself. The thought being 'if you can't go out, go up instead'


DTX boards are mITX in size, but the same length as mATX, which can add more components abd/or slots etc. Rare boards though and don't fit many mITX cases.
 

Lafong

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So if I just have a 11400 and prob a 2060ti or something close to it and don’t need to overclock benchmark max maybe a micro atx could be good?
Micro ATX and "Mini" are 2 different things.

Mini typically refers to Mini-ITX motherboards and any associated case.

Your original post refers to something called "mini atx".

I have no idea which you mean.
 

Ncallstar

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Well...a micro is generally more expensive than a standard ATX size.
Miniaturization costs...

Unless you have real space needs and are going to put it in a little case (with all the hassles that brings), there is little reason to go microATX.
Micros seem to be way cheaper
 

Math Geek

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mini -itx is def more expensive than atx. smaller always costs more.

you do lose a good bit of oc ability, unless you spend top dollar, since there is not as much room for power parts, not that you want to try a massive OC in such a tight space.

i bought an AsRock B550 phantom gaming/itx which looks nice though the first one was DOA with a dead ram slot. got the replacement yesterday so not had a chance to rebuild it.

it has some great features for it's size/price from what i saw looking at models. it even has 2 m.2 slots with a second one being on the back of the mobo. pretty neat if i ever want to add a second one.
 
Micros seem to be way cheaper
That seems to be highly variable. At the "top end".... meaning better VRM with meaningful heatsinks, WiFi, BlueTooth, etc....they can be more expensive than their identically equipped full-size ATX counterpart. It is more typically true at the low/mid range of boards though.

I think the major difference in mATX and ATX is in cooling. In general terms an mATX case has less volume and less cover space for ventilation grills so fewer mount points for fans. There's rarely room for a 360mm or even 280mm AIO...often even a 120mm AIO is difficult to accommodate. I don't know if I've ever seen an mATX case that accommodates vertical mounting of the GPU.

That is of course a (probably unfair) generalization as there are some very well-ventilated mATX cases...just as there are some horrible ATX cases. But the problem remains: if you want to couple one of the high-end mATX boards with a high-end processor and a high-end GPU your case choices are much more limited so you end up compromising performance for thermals and noise.

But one clever use is in an ATX case when vertically mounting the GPU. Normally, it would cover the bottom slots of an ATX board making them unuseable, so let the GPU cover the vast empty area below an mATX motherboard instead.
 
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geofelt

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One of my favorite MATX cases is the Silverstone TJ-08E.
It comes with a 180mm front intake fan that provides all the intake airflow that you might ever want.
There is an advantage in having a small volume.
The hot air in the case can be exchanged more rapidly.

Once you get into the need for 360 and 480 types of aio, that is a different matter.
 

Why_Me

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Well...a micro is generally more expensive than a standard ATX size.
Miniaturization costs...

Unless you have real space needs and are going to put it in a little case (with all the hassles that brings), there is little reason to go microATX.
So you're saying a mATX is usually more expensive than an ATX. Not so with Intel B560 and B660 boards.
 
So you're saying a mATX is usually more expensive than an ATX. Not so with Intel B560 and B660 boards.
Why not price compare yourself? It's not hard at most on-line retailer where you can input features (chipset, socket, I/O ports) and then look at both ATX and mATX variants on the same pick-list. Amazon's not too good but Newegg, Microcenter, even B&H Photo isn't bad. The best is probably PCPartpicker though, although it's not a retailer and not infrequently wrong on prices when the market is dynamic.

Keep in mind different markets value products differently...and often have availability of different products. That affects prices you might see. That tends to make price ranges going from extreme to extreme not really useful since all the products aren't likely to be available for your purchase consideration.

And lastly: the extreme high end of ATX boards can be easily explained: they're BIG (many just under eATX size) and can hold a LOT OF BLING (monster heatsinks, RGB out the...whatever, even water blocks all over the top). The bling brings crazy high prices that adds no computing value in most cases...but look amazing in huge RGB show piece monuments. mATX simply isn't suited to that, it's too small to base a truly gauche system on one. Which, I suppose, is another difference between mATX and ATX which are better for such builds.
 
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Karadjgne

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But one clever use is in an ATX case when vertically mounting the GPU. Normally, it would cover the bottom slots of an ATX board making them unuseable, so let the GPU cover the vast empty area below an mATX motherboard instead.
That's iffy. Especially with larger gpus that are using 3x-3.5x and even 4x slots, vertically mounting puts those cards so close to the side panel that airflow is highly restricted to the point of being almost useless and gpus are cooking as a result. I'd only vertically mount a liquid cooled or 2 slot reference/founders card in most atx cases.

The difference with mITX is that many of those sff cases are not glass bound, the side panels are perforated aluminium or mesh. So an excellent source of direct air for a gpu, either vertically, horizontally or in some, vertical on the Y axis with a riser.
The bling brings crazy high prices that adds no computing value in most cases...
No No No! All that RGB and other Bling makes a pc faster and adds fps! 🤣
 
That's iffy. Especially with larger gpus that are using 3x-3.5x and even 4x slots, vertically mounting puts those cards so close to the side panel that airflow is highly restricted to the point of being almost useless and gpus are cooking as a result....
I do agree there's a lot going on with vertical mounting and really it's main, if not only, benefit is to showcase your expensive GPU in a monument build. That does look cool with a properly liquid cooled card running died coolant behind tempered glass panel. But what I had in mind is running an open-air case arrangement so no side covers to get in the way. There are not many mATX open-air cases and this is a way to make an ATX open-air case work well with an mATX motherboard and still look balanced and not "hollowed out".

I've often wondered if someone makes a proper case that leaves an open spot in the case cover along with mounting bracketry allowing you to slide the GPU up and down to fit into that open spot for drawing cool outside air. It might only work well cosmetically with full-length cards but that's pretty much the norm these days at top-end.
 
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