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Is there any point to full ATX for a gaming build?

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Quartz, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Quartz

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 1, 2014

    Posts: 5,992

    Location: Aberdeen

    So you're building your super-duper gaming rig. The basis is, of course, the motherboard. But with SLI and XF being deprecated, why bother going full ATX? Why have anything more than mATX?
     
  2. IT Troll

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 15, 2005

    Posts: 1,891

    Location: Edinburgh

    For one big reason. Choice.

    I went mATX, but you just don’t seem to get much choice now. On Intel you will get a handful of budget boards and maybe a couple of midrange. On AMD the choice is even worse.
     
  3. eddiew

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 26, 2007

    Posts: 2,213

    Location: Leeds

    Yeah, all the best quality boards (talking VRMs mostly) are ATX.

    mATX is often more of a compromise than ITX; it really is the middle child.
     
  4. Orcvader

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 11, 2009

    Posts: 13,958

    Location: Havering

    All the high end features and focus seems to be on ATX boards. If mATX had the same love I would've easily picked it over ATX. Back on my old Sandy Bridge build there was at least a couple of decent choices, but for Ryzen there was hardly any.
     
  5. Dave Burton

    Associate

    Joined: May 8, 2018

    Posts: 20

    I used an MSI Mortar Matx for my recent 6600k build, and find it perfect for my needs. I'd only ever consider ATX if there was no other choice now, it's a simple waste of real estate as the case etc needs to be bigger to house them...
     
  6. bakes0310

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 22, 2004

    Posts: 11,812

    I went from a eatx board in a Corsair 900d case. Even though I had two gpu's and h115 to cool the CPU it was a collassal waste of space. So I built my current pc which is an itx which has been amazing with just one card and I can still fit a h115 to cool the CPU. No regrets apart from probably not enjoying the right build as I have a aio for the CPU and an aio GPU, but it has no affects on performance.
     
  7. skylineboy

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 2, 2010

    Posts: 1,855

    Location: Egypt/ Surrey

    I think it can be summarised by features and aesthetics.

    Features:
    SLI and CF are still around and there are some who see great benefit to them. Some games support them in DX12 very well, others not so well. It is an area that needs further direct input from the developers. But some features like double M.2 slots or 6x Sata or similar are equally important to some people and tend to only be available on larger boards. I prefer the larger boards for the wider range of features available. As mentioned above, the better features like excellent VRM solutions as well as


    Aesthetic
    I've owned some large cases (TJ07 & 900D) so I do understand the real estate problem some people describe. I use the larger cases for the water cooling space. A mini ITX or mATX board in a large tower looks odd especially when it is dwarfed by a full length gpu and two 480mm radiators. Is the board required to be ATX, no. Do I require the space, yes because I need the extra space for silent fan profiles. Do I like the look of a mini ITX board in a full tower case, no. So that is why I will go for ATX as long as I am able to.

    I do love the look of some of the ITX boards however and a mini powerhouse under my tv is something I'll do in the future for sure.
     
  8. LePhuronn

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 26, 2010

    Posts: 2,142

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    I'm almost exclusively ITX now. Onboard sound is pretty good these days (at least for my broken ears), I only use 1 graphics card and I have no need to move beyond 1Gb networking. Even some of the Z370 and X470 ITX boards have chunky VRMs for overclocking. For me there's no need to go bigger, unless I'm planning a show piece which I could never afford to build.
     
  9. bakes0310

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 22, 2004

    Posts: 11,812

    I have an external soundcard that I plug my headphones in and I think it's great.
    1 card is my choice now, used to have 2 but one high end card is still plenty.
     
  10. Chaos666

    Gangster

    Joined: Nov 26, 2015

    Posts: 280

    Location: Derby

    it all depends what you need really ... atx boards are most popular so their prices are more competitive ...
    nothing wrong with matx if you want a smaller case etc....
     
  11. BobShark

    Associate

    Joined: Jun 23, 2018

    Posts: 69

    Location: The sea!

    I personally prefer full ATX, just more real estate for expansion options and easier to work with.

    I've got an mATX at the moment, and with a massive graphics card (used to have a palit GTX1070), some of the SATA ports were inaccessible without the card removed.
     
  12. LePhuronn

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 26, 2010

    Posts: 2,142

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    But that's more poor board design rather than a failing with the form factor as a whole. But still, we all have our preferences which don't invalidate our little niggles.
     
  13. pandem0nium

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 5, 2010

    Posts: 2,424

    Location: Solihull

    I've just put a Gigabyte ITX z370 board with a 8600k into a mid tower atx case. InWIn 303C.

    I thought it'd look daft, but doesn't really. Gives the graphics card a lot a breathing space. Cable management is a lot easier.

    All the features I need are on the mb. Sound is good. Board has got two M.2 slots and the main one has a heatsink on to keep the temps down.

    It's lacking in the vrm department though, as you'd probably expect. I've kept volts at stock and overclocked to 4.9. Reason being that the vrm tems are very high - 90s to 100.
    I could probably push it a few hundred megahertz higher with a better equipped vrm section that I'd more likely find on a bigger board.

    usb 3.1 front panel connector would be nice to have as well since my case supports it but it's not a big deal.
     
  14. 8 Pack

    OcUK Staff

    Joined: Feb 20, 2012

    Posts: 9,572

    Location: John Smiths Stadium

    No point for gaming build at all. MATX or ITX is many instances are totally fine.
     
  15. bakes0310

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 22, 2004

    Posts: 11,812

    Why are itx motherboards generally more expensive than Matx?
     
  16. LePhuronn

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 26, 2010

    Posts: 2,142

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    More engineering goes into them because of the size. There's enough similarity between ATX and Micro ATX for the latter to draw much of the same engineering, but Mini ITX is totally different and therefore you start designing from fresh.
     
  17. Calo

    Gangster

    Joined: Mar 11, 2016

    Posts: 274

    Location: Newcastle

    Is it just me, or is it simply nicer to have a big old motherboard sitting in there, ready for anything?

    I used to think, what is the point of mATX when you have mITX.
     
  18. LePhuronn

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 26, 2010

    Posts: 2,142

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    No. Not these days at any rate. Intel CPUs have no upgrade path so you need a new mobo every generation. Multi GPU for gaming is practically dead and onboard sound these days is so good you're unlikely to get a dedicated soundcard later if you're already happy with onboard.

    You may one day decide "I'm gonna RAID a bunch of M.2 SSDs so will need a riser card" or "actually, I could do with 10Gb ethernet" in which case if you don't have a free 4x PCI-E slot already you're scuppered, but I see these as fringe cases with a sufficient price tag attached to it you'd probably have no qualms about just getting a new mobo anyway.
     
  19. IT Troll

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 15, 2005

    Posts: 1,891

    Location: Edinburgh

    mITX tends to be a bit restricted when it comes to memory slots and I/O ports compared to ATX & mATX. But if you don’t need so many, then there are some good quality boards. mATX does also have the option of running SLI/Crossfire, but that is not so sought after now and might explain why the choice of mATX boards has reduced.
     
  20. bakes0310

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 22, 2004

    Posts: 11,812

    What I need for a gaming pc is one big SSD, support to have 16gb-32gb ram and PCI express x16 to run one graphics card. Itx can do that that just as good as eatx boards. I currently have a itx build in an phantek evolve itx case that has room for my h115 aio and my 1080 hybrid. Really can't argue with that.