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  1. #1

    Heeeeey RPSers (micro-ATX question)...

    So,

    I'm looking at building a new PC here soon, and I'm trying to gather some research together in order to decide if I want to build a micro-ATX or a standard ATX case. I'm kinda over the whole monster-rig-building phase, and just want something to run current-gen games well. Is it possible to fit that power into a micro-ATX build, or do I need to stick with the standard-sized ATX motherboards?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    You can fit it all into a micro-ATX. The most important thing is making sure the case isn't too small for whatever graphics card you get (which will probably eat up all the room) will fit in the case. You'll probably not get sli or much in the way of PCI slots and you might be limited to two dimm slots, but by the sounds of it you'll get everything you want.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Micro-ATX is the new ATX. Even Mini-ITX is beginning to become the new Micro-ATX. Two-way SLI/Crossfire is quite possible with Micro-ATX, though a mid-tower ATX case might be better for cooling. With a single graphics card and a sane number of hard drives, the difference between ATX and Micro-ATX really dwindles. It's mostly about motherboard pricing and overclocking capability.

  4. #4
    I don't have any intention to overclock anything (just because I never have, and never really saw a reason to do so), and I usually only purchase a single card. I'm glad to hear that it does at least seem feasible, though, as I want something that will sit on my desk, possibly behind my monitor, rather than on my floor underneath my desk where it's taking up my foot space. :3

  5. #5
    Vector Jams O'Donnell's Avatar
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    I use a micro ATX, and though its video card is a little underpowered that's more down to budget constraints than size constraints. If I wanted to I could slap a big expensive video card in there. Otherwise the computer is pretty potent, with a bit of wiggle room for overclocking if I really wanted to do that (I don't).

  6. #6
    So... Now that we seem to have established with relative certainty that mATX is possible (thank you for the rapid responses), does anyone have any recommendations on hardware? NZXT is where I always went for my cases in the past, but they only have one mATX case, and it seems to have issues with construction and standardization of parts. So, I think I'm going to stay away from that one.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Case choice is going to be a matter of personal preference to some extent. The ones I'd recommend right off the bat are the Fractal Design Arc Mini, the Fractal Design Define Mini, and the Silverstone TJ08-E.

    The Define Mini is the more fancy-pants sound-dampened option, while the other two are more or less trying to do the same as traditional midi tower ATX gaming cases.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Was in this same situation, did a lot of research and came down to these conclusions:
    ATX vs. MicroATX

    MicroATX
    + Good balance of high end components and small size
    + Great flexibility in cases nowadays, from miniature to full gfx card accommodating variants
    + good selection of motherboards, with as much overclockability as larger sizes

    -Not much smaller than ATX when compared to mini ITX, 2.4 inch difference in height only
    -Not as much variety in motherboards when compared to ATX or EATX, tend to be a bit more expensive with less features
    -Limited RAM slots
    -VERY limited PCIe slots (usually max 3)

    ATX
    + oldest standard for personal home computers, huge variety in motherboard models and features
    + Great expandability, up to 6 RAM slots and 8 PCIe slots
    + Quite reasonable size/features tradeoff

    - Very challenging to fit into compact cases
    - Smallest case possible for ATX is 14 inches wide (or 14 inches tall if tower case)
    - Generally more difficult to install and work with in SFF case. Difficult choices regarding maximum number of hard disks and cooling must be made.


    For me it boiled down to this:
    Would I be willing to live with a case this big?

    440mm(W) x 175mm(H) x 425mm(D)


    or go smaller and lose out on expandability with this?

    235mm(W)x487mm(H)x284mm(D)


    Ultimately I went with ATX. I didn't care about the depth of the case so much, just the height and width.

    You can overclock, use regular desktop hardware, fit in watercooling, it's all been done on small mATX cases. What you do lose out on though is the ability to say add a PCIe RAID card in addition to a sound card and gfx card, or have 6 ram sticks. Flexibility regarding expansion cards is severely limited. The BIOS that comes with mATX boards is also much more stripped down than ATX or EATX, and they don't have as many indicator lights on the circuit board itself that can warn you if voltage levels are unstable for ram, CPU and PCIe slots.

    The expandability and bios features of ATX motherboards won me over.
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