Mini ITX Vs Micro ATX – What Is The Difference

Anyone interested in building or repairing a computer will need a motherboard and case. However, shopping for motherboards and cases results in a multitude of options ranging from different types of ATX and ITX motherboards. These motherboards differ in feature, cost, and form-factor (size). Importantly, the differences in form-factor also determine which cases can fit the motherboard. An overview of the differences in motherboards and cases, and understanding the differences between Mini ITX Vs Micro ATX can help you distinguish which parts work best for your build.

Is Micro ATX the Same as Mini ITX?

Size is the main difference between standard ATX, mirco-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards. The industry sizes for each are as follows:

Standard ATX: 12.0 inches x 9.6 inches
Micro-ATX (mATX): 9.6 inches x 9.6 inches
Mini-ITX (mITX): 6.7 inches x 6.7 inches

  • Standard ATX motherboards are larger in size, and this enables them to have more PCIe lanes. This trait means that standard ATX motherboards work best for multi-GPU setups or computers that use multiple PCIe input devices.
  • Micro-ATX motherboards are similar to standard ATX motherboards, but micro-ATXs are a few inches shorter in length. The advantages of micro-ATXs is that these motherboards fit smaller form-factor cases if necessary.
  • Mini-ITXs are even smaller motherboards with a length and height shorter than both micro-ATXs and standard-ATXs. The micro-ITXs usually have only one PCIe lane and are compatible with far more small form-factor cases.

 

What is the Difference Between ITX and ATX?

The differences between ITX and ATX are size, PCIe lane build, and RAM capacity. In turn, these differences determine what type of PC case you can use for your motherboard. For example, VIA Technologies first developed the ITX for use in small-configured computer systems, and ITX has less RAM than other motherboards. Intel developed the ATX for single-GPU PC builds, and it has more RAM than other miniature motherboards.

The major differences among types of ITX and ATX motherboards are as follows:

Standard ATX:

General Pros:

  • Multiple PCIe lanes
  • Higher RAM capacity
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Suitable for overclocking

General Cons:

  • Does not fit inside small cases
  • Costs more

 

Micro-ATX:

General Pros:

  • Great for single-GPU PC builds
  • Higher RAM capacity than a mini-ITX
  • Fits most cases
  • Very affordable

General Cons:

  • Not ideal for overclocking
  • Unsuitable for multi-GPU setups

 

Mini-ITX:

General Pros:

  • Ideal for smaller cases
  • Aesthetically pleasing (for smaller cases)

General Cons:

  • Not ideal for overclocking
  • Usually has only two RAM slots maximum
  • Unsuitable for multi-GPU setups

 

Will a Mini ITX Fit in an ATX Case?

From a technical standpoint, any size motherboard into a larger case. Large cases can accommodate standard, medium, and small motherboards. From a visual standpoint, however, you might not want to put a mini-ITX motherboard in a large case because the components can look crammed into one corner of the case.

While you can fit small motherboards into large cases, it is important to note that the opposite scenario is not possible. In other words, you cannot put standard-ATX motherboards in micro-ATX cases, and you cannot put standard-ATX and micro-ATX motherboards into mini-ITX cases.

Now that you understand the differences between micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, you can choose the best motherboard (and matching case) for your system based on desired features and functionality. Whether gaming or building, the following guide to corresponding cases and motherboards can help you select the best pair for your computing needs.

 

Top Micro-ATX Cases and Motherboards

Micro ATX Cases:

Thermaltake Level 20 VT Micro ATX Computer Case CA-1L2-00S1WN-00

Summary:

Thermaltake is one of the leading manufacturers in computing components. The Thermaltake Level 20 VT is a streamlined, modern case that protects the chassis while giving you access to all components. It has four scratch-resistant glass that give you a clear view of the internal features. The compact design holds a micro-ATX motherboard while leaving a smaller footprint. Internally, it has a has a spacious upper chamber for the motherboard and PCIe components along with a lower chamber for the PSU and drive bays. The removable 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drive device racks design enable multiple configurations. Thermaltake Level 20 cases also include two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HD audio port.

Pros:

  • Compact modular design that supports micro-ATX form-factor motherboards and leaves a smaller footprint
  • Features four (4mm-thick) tempered glass panels that shield the chassis and offer quick access to motherboard components
  • Interchangeable panels enable multiple configuration
  • Includes one tempered glass panel for radiator mounting to enable airflow
  • Includes two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HD audio port

Cons:

  • Does not have a 5.25 inch bay (requires an external drive for DVD drive installation)

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

Thermaltake Core G3 ATX Slim Small Form Factor Computer Case CA-1G6-00T1WN-00

Summary:

Thermaltake Core G3 Slim Case is among the most flexible motherboard cases. The compact design fits easily on office desks or in the nooks of console rooms or living rooms. In addition, this case comes with padded braces and travel foams for computing on the go. Dual placements enable both horizontal and vertical layout options, and the case is also expandable with two 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drive bays. The Core G3 Slim has two 120mm front fans for ventilation and multiple I/O ports for usability.

Pros:

  • Compact slim design that supports micro-ATX form-factor motherboards
  • Slim chassis design is versatile enough to fit in office or living room
  • Core G3 includes GPU padded braces and travel foams to keep hardware and chassis safe during travel
  • Dual placements enable horizontal and vertical layouts
  • Front-facing GPU mount
  • Two 120mm front fans pre-installed to prevent overheating
  • Includes two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HD audio port

Cons:

  • Standard side panel window (not acrylic or ultra-clear)

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

CORSAIR CARBIDE AIR 240 Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX Case

Summary:

The Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 features a cutting-edge design specifically focused on airflow. Its cubic design has an internal layout receptive to intake fans that provide cool air to the components that produce the most heat. Although perfect as a micro-ATX case, this compact case is the same size as many mini-ITX cases. This compact size gives you flexibility in setup – you can customize chassis orientation as a standard tower, an inverted tower, or as a desktop. Tool-free 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drive bays let you expand without needing a screwdriver, and the CPU backplate cutout enables upgrades without removing the entire motherboard. The Air 240 also has pre-drilled holes for 240-millimeter radiators or room for installing a front 240 millimeter radiator (for use with dual GPUs).

Pros:

  • Compact design compatible with either mini-ITX or micro-ATX motherboards
  • Three 120mm fans pre-installed for maximum airflow
  • Supports either two 240mm radiators with mini-ITX motherboard or one 240mm radiator with a dual-GPU micro-ATX setup
  • Full side window panel enables easy access to graphics card
  • Three easily accessible 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drive bays
  • Front panel USB ports for easy connectivity

Cons:

  • May scuff or scratch more easily than other brands
  • Made of thinner metal than other alternatives

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

Micro ATX Motherboards:

MSI Performance Intel 8th Gen LGA 1151 Micro ATX Motherboard (Z370M GAMING PRO AC)

Summary:

The MSI Performance series supports eighth generation Intel processors for socket LGA 1151. Designed for professional gaming, this motherboard features optimized PCB and power delivery with load-line calibration. Specifically, this MSI Z370 has smart settings that you can program through the Mystic Light App or your connected mobile device. These settings include power phases, fan and cooling controls, and installed accessories. Chemi-Con audio capacitors enable studio-quality sound settings, and VR hardware allows you to use mixed or augmented reality programming.

Pros:

Compatible with eighth generation Intel Core, Pentium, and Celeron processors for socket LGA 1151
Intel Z370 Express chipset
Micro-ATX form factor
Includes four DDR4 memory slots that support up to 64GB
Supports two-way NVIDIA SLI
Includes Chemi-Con audio capacitors with front output
Mystic Light App included for programming
Compatible with VR hardware

Cons:

Does not include built-in WiFi (but does have WiFi adapters)
Not compatible with ninth generation processors

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

ASUS ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming (WiFi AC) LGA1151 Micro-ATX Motherboard

Summary:

Specifically designed for connectivity and speed, the Asus ROG Strix comes with built-in WiFi, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth V4, and USB 3.1. Since overclocking problems are common issues with micro-ATX boards, the ASUS Strix addresses this with auto-tuning and a direct cooling system. With a compact metal frame, this micro-ATX board can also accommodate heavyweight GPUs. In addition, AURA Sync RGB provides broad-spectrum color lighting across connected devices, and the eight-channel HD audio provides immersive sound.

Pros:

  • Designed exclusively for eighth generation Intel Core processors
  • Dual M.2 and onboard 802.11ac WiFi included
  • Micro-ATX form factor
  • Five-way optimization with auto-tuning for overclocking
  • FanXpert 4 for device-specific cooling
  • Gigabit LAN, USB 3.1, and Bluetooth V4
  • PCIe slot designed to accommodate heavyweight GPU
  • AURA Sync RGB color lighting
  • Eight-channel HD audio

Cons:

  • Requires more installation time and technical knowledge for setup than other brands

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC LGA1151 Micro-ATX Z390 Motherboard

Summary:

A frequent issue with Intel motherboards is that there are not mutually compatible with eighth and ninth generation processors. MSI addresses this issue with the Z390M Gaming Edge micro-ATX model. Designed for professional gaming, this micro-ATX is compatible with both generations. It includes two TURBO M.2 for faster loading times and two TURBO USB 3.1 (Gen2) for connecting to other devices. In addition, patented “heatsink” technology helps prevent overheating for optimized performance.

Pros:

  • Compatible with eighth generation Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Compatible with ninth generation Intel i9-9900K, i7-9700K, i5-9600K processors
  • Designed for high-performance gaming
  • Includes two TURBO M.2 and Turbo USB 3.1 (GEN2)
  • Extended “heatsink” design to prevent overheating
  • Supports Intel optane memory
  • Mystic Light App included for programming
  • Compatible with RGB or Rainbow LED strips

Cons:

  • WiFi card may be weaker than other models

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

Top Mini-ITX Cases and Motherboards

Mini ITX Cases:

SilverStone Technology Slim Computer Case for Mini-ITX Motherboard RVZ03B

Summary:

The SilverStone Slim Case is ideal for those who need versatility in computing. With both vertical and horizontal orientation options, this case can fit into nearly any environment or scenario. It supports cards of up to 13 inches (330mm), making it suitable for higher-end GPUs. This case also supports AIO liquid cooling and has a streamlined airflow design to prevent overheating and dust buildup.

Pros:

  • Compatible with mini-ITX motherboards and ATX PSUs
  • Includes integrated RGB light strip and control box (LSB01)
  • RAVEN style front panel with slim, compact design
  • Supports AIO liquid cooling
  • Positive airflow design prevents overheating and dust buildup
  • Capable of horizontal and vertical orientation

Cons:

  • No optical drive bay
  • Few metal components

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

Cooler Master Elite 110 RC-110-KKN2 Mini-ITX Computer Case

Summary:

As the name suggests, the Cooler Master Elite features a design focused on excellent airflow. This mini-ITX case has a complete mesh panel for front to back CPU cooling, and it also supports using a 120mm water cooling system in the front. Compatible with mini-ITXs, this case has a tested design for use with HTPC, steam box, or compact gaming builds.

Pros:

  • Compatible with mini-ITX motherboards
  • Mesh front panel for complete unit airflow
  • Also works with standard-ATX power supplies (up to 180mm long)
  • Compatible with 120mm frontal water-cooling system
  • Fits up to 8. 3-inch long graphics cards
  • Ideal for HTPC, steam box, or compact gaming build
  • Can store up to 3 HDDs or 4 SSDs

Cons:

  • Low clearance for CPU cooler
  • Fan may be noisier than other brands

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

NZXT H200i Mini-ITX PC Gaming Case

Summary:

Those interested in smart technology may have found the ideal case with the NZXT H200i. This mini-ITX case is a CAM-powered smart device with built-in digital fan controller and LED lighting, enabling both automated cooling and visual personalization. The case also has a tempered glass panel for design visibility and a pre-installed cable management system.

Pros:

  • Steel frame design available in four color combinations
  • Includes tempered glass panel to display build
  • CAM-powered smart device with RGB lighting and digital fan control
  • Compatible with both AIO and custom loop-configuration water cooling
  • Pre-installed cable management system includes channels and straps
  • Includes two 120mm fans for maximum airflow
  • Case has audio machine learning tool for adaptive noise reduction

Cons:

  • Smart controls may include data mining features that conflict with privacy settings
  • Airflow fans have been reported much weaker than other brands

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

Mini ITX Motherboards:

GIGABYTE Z370N WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

Summary:

With its wireless design and built-in HDMI support, the GIGABYTE Z370N mini-ITX is great for building and computing enthusiasts. This performance motherboard can operate in PCIe x16 slot bifurcation in 2×8 mode with riser card, making it suitable for overclocking.

Pros:

Compatible with eighth generation Intel processors
Dual channel non-ECC (unbuffered DDR4) for performance
Supports Intel optane memory
Can operate in PCIe x16 slot bifurcation in 2×8 mode with riser card
Includes HDMI 2.0 support
Smart Fan 5 technology for intelligent cooling
RGB LED fusion for surround lighting

Cons:

Instruction manual is sparse in details
Connectors thinner in quality than other brands

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming LGA1151 Mini-ITX Motherboard

Summary:

The ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I is a great option for those who need a mini-ITX compatible with both eighth and ninth generation processors. Although it is a small motherboard, it incorporates smart technology five-way optimization to enable overclocking. This motherboard also includes FanXpert 4 technology to prevent overheating. In addition to overclocking capabilities, the motherboard’s signature feature is a “Gamer’s Guardian” deck with safe slot, guards, and DRAM overcurrent protector to encourage longevity.

Pros:

  • Compatible with eighth and ninth generation Intel Core processors
  • Incorporates dual M.2, USB 3.1 (Gen 2), WiFi (802.11ac), and ASUS Opti-MEM II to support DRAM overclocking
  • Smart five-way optimization for overclocking by prediction and thermal measurement
  • Includes FanXpert 4 cooling to prevent overheating
  • Includes a “Gamer’s Guardian” with safe slot, ESD guards, and DRAM overcurrent protector to help the motherboard last longer
  • Uses an additional double-decker heatsink cooling to prevent overheating the M.2 and PCH
  • Pre-mounted I/O shield for easy installation

Cons:

  • UEFI does not have options to power keyboard via mouse or key-press
  • Does not have twin eight-phase VRM design

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming mini-ITX Motherboard

Summary:

The ASUS ROG Strix X470-I series is ideal for AMD Ryzen 2 AM4 and seventh-generation Athlon processors. Designed for fast connectivity, this wireless design includes dual M.2, USB 3.1, WiFi, and gigabit LAN. In addition, its smart technology auto-tune enables overclocking for your build. A smart cooling system keeps the CPU from overheating, and LED illumination keeps all connectors visible.

Pros:

  • Suitable for AMD Ryzen 2 AM4 and seventh-generation Athlon processors
  • Wireless design
  • Includes dual M.2, USB 3.1 (Gen 2), 802.11ac WiFi, and Gigabit LAN for speedy connectivity
  • Smart five-way optimization for overclocking by prediction and thermal measurement
  • Includes FanXpert 4 cooling to prevent overheating
  • Pre-mounted I/O shield for easier installation
  • Eight-channel HD audio with dual headphone amplifiers for immersive sound
  • LED-illuminated jacks

Cons:

  • No integrated customer support included

CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON or Add To Cart For Later

 

 

Related Posts

About The Author