What Are the Three Most Popular Form Factors Used for Motherboards?

What are the three most popular form factors used for motherboards? Motherboards are a critical component of any computer, distributing power and connecting all the other components. They come in a variety of form factors.

what are the three most popular form factors used for motherboards

The three most popular are the standard ATX, microATX, and mini-ITX. Each has its place and makes sense in different situations.


The Mini-ITX form factor is one of the most popular and compact motherboard form factors. They are very small in size and they also consume less power than other forms of motherboards, making them perfect for laptops and portable systems.



Mini-ITX Motherboards use Intel x86 processors with low power consumption, often passively cooled and directly soldered to the motherboard. These CPUs are one or two generations behind state-of-the-art Intel Pentiums or Celerons.

A Mini-ITX Motherboard can be used in a variety of applications such as set-top boxes, network devices and thin client computers. These boards are also used in small form factor computers like cars and laptops.

In 2001, VIA Technologies created the ITX form factor as a reference design for small computer systems. It was initially based on the ATX standard but was later developed into its own version called Mini-ITX.

Other smaller versions include Nano-ITX and Mobile-ITX. The latter was first demonstrated in 2008 and is expected to be targeted toward cellular phone applications.


Mini-ITX is a small motherboard form-factor, developed by VIA Technologies in 2001. These boards are typically used in small-configured computer systems.

These boards use a CPU that is one or two generations behind the state of the art, which makes them less powerful than newer processors. These CPUs also run at a much lower speed, which means they generate less heat.

In addition, these CPUs are cooled by a heatsink only, instead of using a fan as in ATX-specification motherboards. This design eliminates bulky cooling devices and helps to improve power consumption.

Modern Mini-ITX boards offer fewer ports and slots than traditional ATX models. Generally, they will have only 1x PCI-Ex 16 slot and never more than 2x DIMM slots for memory.


Mini-ITX Motherboards provide the power of a modern PC in an extremely compact form factor. Their low power consumption and silent operation make them ideal for home theater PC systems, where fan noise could detract from the movie experience.

These motherboards are also a good fit for applications in the industrial market, particularly POS, KIOSK, vending machines and healthcare. They are available in standard off the shelf (COTS) boards, which reduce costs and shorten development time.

Conventionally, a Mini-ITX board uses a 20- or 24-pin “original ATX” power connector and a DC-DC converter that connects to an external power adapter. Vendors usually include both the power adapter and the converter with the board, saving space and design effort.


Motherboards are circuit boards that hold all of the circuitry necessary for basic functionality in a computer. They come in a few different form factors, including Standard ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX.

Mini-ITX motherboards are smaller than their traditional ATX counterparts, but still use the same I/O shield and connectors. They are also more quiet, which is a benefit for home theater PCs.

They are also easier to transport and install in cases that are designed for ATX or micro-ATX systems. These motherboards are often used in small computers, digital cable boxes, set-up boxes and network devices.


If you are planning to build your own computer, you need to know the right motherboard form factor for your needs. It is essential to pick the right one because it can determine the number of important things about your system including how much space you have, what type of components you can use, and which features you should consider getting.

Memory Slots

A MicroATX Motherboard has a number of memory slots that allow you to install RAM. This is a great way to increase your PC’s overall performance, especially if you’re a gamer or need more RAM.

Most motherboards have either two or four memory slots, although some small builds might only have one. These slots are called DIMMs (Dual In-line Memory Module) and they are designed to support RAM sticks of up to 32GB each.

Typically, when you plug RAM into the slot, it engages clasps on each end that snap tightly around the edge of the RAM. These clasps must be disabled before you can remove RAM from the slot.

RAM slots on a motherboard are long channels that are located near the CPU. They often have color-coded sockets to help you identify which one is the RAM slot.

Storage Slots

Modern motherboards offer a variety of storage options to suit your needs. The most common is to utilize M.2 slots to plug in SSDs that can achieve a much faster data transfer rate than conventional hard drives.

ATX Motherboards typically offer six or more SATA ports and between two to four M.2 slots, which will be enough for most users. Mini ITX boards usually come with only one M.2 slot, so they aren’t ideal for large drive installs, but they can be useful if you plan on building an SFF PC.

Expansion slots are another important feature to look for on a motherboard. While the number of slots on a board isn’t as important as what type of expansion cards you need, it’s always good to go for PCI Express (PCIe) slots if possible. This way, you’ll have the most options for future card upgrades should you ever need them. Ideally, you’ll want to go for an ATX motherboard with three or more PCIe slots.

Audio Ports

Audio ports play a vital role in modern computers. They allow users to connect different kinds of audio devices such as speakers, microphones, and home-theater systems.

A motherboard can have several ports to support these connections. In addition, it can also include optical ports for transferring digital signals from the computer to an audio output device.

Some motherboards may also have a 6.35mm audio port, which is ideal for high-end headphones. The jack on this port is designed to draw more power, which helps in driving the headphones efficiently.

In addition, some motherboards also come with S/PDIF-Out, which can carry compressed 5.1 DTS or Dolby Digital Audio. It is an ideal port for setting up surround sound systems with a single cable.

Other audio input and output ports on a MicroATX Motherboard are Line-In, Headphone-Out, Center Speaker-Out (CS-Out), and Rear Speaker-Out. They are usually recognized by their color and label or icon.

I/O Ports

The I/O ports are a crucial part of any motherboard. They let you connect the computer to other devices, including printers and scanners, external hard drives, modems, and more.

They also provide you with a way to communicate with your PC over the network. This connectivity is important because it allows you to access your data remotely and share it with other people.

There are a number of different I/O ports on a MicroATX Motherboard, including USB, PS/2, and HDMI. The former two are standard connectors that allow you to connect your mouse or keyboard to the computer, while HDMI provides you with video connections.

Another important feature on a MicroATX Motherboard is its expansion slots. These are the places where you can install other components, like graphics cards.

ATX Motherboards

ATX is one of the most popular form factors used for motherboards today. Originally created by Intel in 1995, the ATX form factor has been a staple in desktop computers since its debut. This size of motherboard offers users a lot of options, including space for I/O ports and PCIe lanes, as well as SATA connections.

The Basics

Motherboards are the core of the computer and manage the communication between crucial electronic components like CPU and memory. They also provide connectors for other peripherals.

The most common type of motherboard is the ATX Motherboards. These are full-size motherboards that fit inside cases.

ATX motherboards are popular because they offer a larger surface area and support a wide range of components. They typically support multiple graphics cards, custom watercooling loops, and a lot of storage drives.

They are more expensive than other form factors but are worth the cost if you are planning to build a high-performance system.

The ATX standard introduced several significant improvements to motherboard design. It standardized the position of I/O ports, moved CPU and RAM slots to a location that wouldn’t interfere with full-length expansion cards, and reduced cable lengths by moving the drive and power supply closer to the motherboard. This improved airflow and made the motherboards more efficient.

The Sockets

A motherboard is the core component of a computer system and it connects different components inside. Motherboards are usually formed in a standard way so they can be fitted into a variety of systems.

A typical ATX motherboard has many sockets and connectors that can be used by different devices. These sockets provide connections for a CPU, RAM, storage drives and other components.

The ATX motherboards also have a voltage regulator module (VRM) that plays a crucial role in overclocking and boosting the speed of the processor. This can result in an impressively fast PC that’s perfect for gaming or workstation use.

ATX motherboards are generally larger in size than Micro ATX boards and tend to support more storage drives and multiple graphics cards. They also offer a wider range of cooling options.

The Connectors

ATX Motherboards come with a wide array of connectors for the basic components of a computer. These include power connections, I/O ports and expansion devices.

An ATX motherboard also includes an advanced system for power management. This allows the computer to be turned on or off by a modem or network signal and keeps the real-time clock running when a user’s computer is idle.

These motherboards come with a number of PCI slots for expansion cards, including high-speed networking and storage controller cards. They also come with SATA connectors for hard drives and optical drives.

Another important connector on an ATX motherboard is the processor power cable. This cable provides 12 volts of power to the CPU voltage regulator and some high-end video cards.

Modern ATX power supplies provide a main 24 pin power supply and a 4 or 8 pin auxiliary connector providing additional 12V power to the CPU. Traditionally a single 20 pin connector provided power to the motherboard.

The Features

ATX Motherboards feature a large number of expansion slots. These can be used to install additional storage expansion cards and other components in addition to the CPU and video card.

AT Motherboards are typically a little more expensive than M-ATX and S-ATX motherboards, but they’re usually more capable of handling the needs of avid gamers. They’re also often easier to install, upgrade, and replace than their M-ATX counterparts.

The features of ATX motherboards include 3 PCIe x16 slots, 4 RAM slots, and support for one or two graphics cards. EATX boards, on the other hand, have a minimum of 6 RAM slots and a maximum of 8 slots.

ATX is the standard form factor for desktop computer motherboards and power supply design. It was first developed by Intel in 1995 to improve upon earlier de facto standards like the AT design. It was the first major change in desktop computer enclosure, motherboard, and power supply design in many years, enhancing standardization and interchangeability of parts.

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