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Home » Motherboard Sizes-Form Factors of Motherboard || PcRux

Motherboard Sizes-Form Factors of Motherboard || PcRux

Learning about different motherboard sizes is quite important to help you understand your PC better. A motherboard is a printed circuit board in a laptop or a computer system that comes in different sizes. It is the largest of all the boards in a laptop and it acts as a connector for all the major parts as well as peripherals to remain interconnected.

Different Motherboard Sizes

Different form factors and motherboard sizes include ATX, ITX, BTX, and NLX. ATX is the most common form factor of Motherboard used in Modern-day PCs.

Basically, it is a plate made of fiberglass with copper on it, copper accounts for providing the conductive pathways in the insulator fiberglass. This plate/board has an extensive copper wiring network and various slots and ports. 

Here is a chart comparing different sizes and form factors of motherboards in computers.

 ATXEATXMicro-ATXMini-ITX
Max Size12″ x 9.6″12″ x 13″9.6″ x 9.6″6.7″ x 6.7″
RAM Slots2 to 82 to 82 to 42
RAM TypeDIMMDIMMDIMMDIMM, SODIMM
Expansion Slots4 to 7 PCIe Slots4 to 8 PCIe Slots2 to 4 PCIe Slots1 PCIe Slot
Graphics Card Slots1 to 41 to 41 to 30 to 1
SATA ports4 to 124 to 124 to 82 to 6
Motherboard Sizes Comparison Chart

The importance of a motherboard cannot be undermined since it plays a key role in the functioning of a computer.

Motherboards are like the backbone of a computer system. All the components of a computer are connected to this circuit board for communication and synchronization. 

  • For this, motherboards have buses that take and bring back signals from one component to another and this makes communication possible. 
  • Amongst all the vital components of a motherboard, there is a tiny quartz crystal that plays the role of a system clock. It sends out signals at accurate time intervals so that all other components know when to work and when not to. This process is efficient in maintaining the overall synchronization of the computer system.
  • Another important function of the motherboard is that it holds the ROM chip for BIOS. BIOS stands for basic input/output system and it is the first program that your system accesses in order to get started. It is not possible for your system to start without a BIOS chip in the motherboard since it has all the instructions and settings that your system needs to boot. BIOS also plays a key role in managing data flow to and from the various peripherals. 

Also Read: What Motherboard Slot Has Direct Access To The North Bridge

Different Components Of Motherboard
Source: Wikimedia

The motherboard has multiple components including various ports and slots, a CPU chip, and a CMOS battery.

Here is the list of some major components that play a significant role in making the motherboard functional.

  • Various Ports and Slots

A motherboard has various ports for tool extension. The USB (Universal Serial Bus) port is used to connect various peripherals like the keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, etc. to the motherboard.

The catch with USB ports is that the peripherals connected through it can be inserted or removed without having to restart the computer system.

For some old devices which cannot be connected through the USB port, motherboards also have parallel ports.

The motherboard also has various slots like the RAM slots which hold the RAM and connect it to the computer system. Other slots include the PCI slot (for inserting expansion cards on a computer), ISA slot (for connecting modems), AGP slot (for attaching video cards), and the power supply slot.

  • CPU chip

The Central Processing unit is one of the most essential parts of a computer system and the motherboard holds accountability for having the CPU or processor embedded in it.

  • CMOS battery

This complementary metal oxide semiconductor battery is used to store the BIOS program and settings, and the date and time. 

YES, motherboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. To go into the deeper details, motherboards come in quite a few different sizes, and having knowledge about these sizes can be of ultimate advantage if you want to build your own system or even purchase a new computer.

It is important to choose a right-sized motherboard because it has a direct impact on the performance of your computer. This happens because different sized motherboards have different numbers and types of ports and slots, hence they support different types of hardware.

Knowing about the sizing of your motherboard can be vital for extracting maximum performance efficiency from the required size of the board.

Therefore we will look at the form factor of various sizes available and discuss them in detail, but before that, I would answer a question that popped up in my mind when I was reading about this topic for the first time.

How To Check Type Of Motherboard On Your Laptop || PcRux

The form factor is a standard in computers that manufacturers follow to make sure that their parts are compatible with the motherboard.

The form factor of a motherboard is typically significant because it is the one that decides the overall size of the chasis. 

The different sizes or form factors of Motherboard are ATX, ITX, BTX, and NLX form factors. These form factors have some extended versions. Let’s learn about them.

ATX Form Factor Motherboard

Source: Wikipedia, ATX Motherboard

ATX Motherboard

The most common form factor used in PCs today is ATX and these are the boards that you will find most easily in the market.

ATX stands for Advanced Technology Extended and it was created by intel back in 1995. A standard ATX motherboard has dimensions of 12 x 9.6 inches OR 305 x 244 millimeters.

Its decent size allows it to have plenty of heat sinks. It has around 6 expansion slots and a 20-pin power connector (a modern ATX motherboard may have a 24-pin power connector). It has at least 4 memory slots as well and it can support up to 4 RAM modules. It can have as many as 7 PCI express slots.

Extended ATX (EATX) Motherboard

If you are looking for something that is larger than a regular ATX board, an extended TAX is what you will go for. It is sized 12 x 13 inches and it has more expansion slots than ATX.

It may also have more heat sinks because of the bigger size. Sometimes an EATX can sport up to 8 RAM slots along with 2 CPU sockets as well. They are difficult to find in the markets.

Micro ATX (MATX) Motherboard

This is yet another version of the ATX motherboard. As the name suggests, they are smaller than the ATX motherboards and have a square shape. Its dimension is 9.6 x 9.6 inches OR 244×244 millimeters and because it is smaller, it has fewer expansion slots than ATX- around 3 expansion slots.

They have at least 4 memory slots as well. These are cheaper as compared to ATX boards and they were designed to fit smaller computer cases.

They have a 24-pin power connector and they can support up to 4 RAM slots. They can have a maximum of 4 PCI express slots.

ITX Form Factor Motherboard

Source: Wikimedia
ITX Form Factor || Motherboard Sizes

Mini ITX Motherboard

These are the most miniature boards that are capable of supporting the standard-sized hardware components. ITX stands for Information Technology Extended and it was developed by VIA Technologies.

The ITX form factor came out in 2001 starting with the mini ITX. This was designed keeping in mind the demand for smaller and space-saving computers. It consumes less power and therefore is even easier to cool down than the bigger ATXs which also eradicates the need for heat sinks.

The mini ITX is 6.7 x 6.7 inches OR 170 x 170 millimeters and because of the very small size, it has only 1 expansion slot and only 2 memory slots. It can support only 2 RAM slots and it has only 1 PCI express slot. Most of them use a 4 pin power connector.

NOTE: The mini ITX, micro ATX, and ATX will all fit into the same computer case because of the fact that all three of these boards have their mounting holes, rear input/output panels, and expansion slots aligned. 

Nano ITX Motherboard

With dimensions of 4.7 x 4.7 inches only, these are built to consume very little power. Because of size and power limitations, they are capable of supporting very limited and specific hardware components. They are used in places where there is a need to build very small computers. 

Pico ITX Motherboard

They are even smaller than the nano ITX boards and measure only 3.9 x 3.9 inches. They consume very little power and have very few features and expansion slots.

They are basically used in the automation and IoT industry where they can be implemented easily.

BTX Form Factor Motherboard

Source: Wikimedia-BTX Form Factor ||Motherboard Sizes

BTX motherboards were designed by Intel and it has advancements like an improved board design, with better cooling dynamics. It also has a better structural design, which is flexible enough to work on both- smaller and larger tower cases. However, BTX was never able to succeed the ATX.

NLX Form Factor Motherboard

Source: Amazon-NLX Form Factor || Motherboard Sizes

NLX is yet another form factor created by intel for low-end, low-profile computers. The NLX board uses a riser card to plug the expansion slots in parallel to the motherboard instead of the traditional perpendicular plugging setup. These boards are typically found in slimline computer cases. 

Yes, all the micro-ATX motherboards of the almost the same size. There can be a minor difference in width as some boards are narrow in shape. The mounting holes of all the boards are the same.  There might be slight differences in the sizes but that won’t make difference to fit in a niche PC case.

There are multiple methods to know about the motherboard your PC is using. The simplest one is:

Press the Windows key and open the run dialog box. Now type “msinfo32” and hit the enter key. This will show you all the system information including the type of motherboard.

We have published a separate article on the same. For more details refer: Find type Of Motherboard on Your System

Different sizes of motherboards are available in the market and are used for relevant devices. It is quite important to learn about the components of your laptop and the motherboard is an important computer component that your PC cannot survive without. I hope you loved reading this article on motherboards. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends.

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