Poll: What form factor did you choose for your last PC?

We were having a lively discussion about the popularity of various PC form factors in TR's staff chat today, and it occurred to me that we haven't done a new poll in a while, so here we are. We want to know what form factor you chose to build your last system around. Maybe you went tiny with Mini-ITX or even Mini-STX. Perhaps you're a midsize fan and went microATX. Or—like we imagine is the case for many TR readers—you stuck to the traditional path and chose a plain old ATX motherboard and case. Whatever the case may be, tell us about the size of your last system using the poll options below.

Comments closed
    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    I went mATX in 2007 (dorm room PC) and all my builds and/or OEM desktops since then have been mATX.

    • moose17145
    • 3 years ago

    Extended ATX inside an Obsidian 900D here!

    Go big or go home! If i need portability I have a 7 year old laptop that is still kickin’ just fine for anything i would need or want to do on the go.

    • Anovoca
    • 3 years ago

    My last build was an ATX media center. Needed ATX for the wide array of PCI slots for tuner cards. I specced out 3 different M-ITX builds before giving up on the idea of trying to use M-ITX as nice as it would have been for a living room setup. In the end, it was cheaper to go ATX and keep my current expansion cards than building M-ITX and have to buy USB wifi and tvtuners.

    My next all purpose workstation will for sure be mATX. I have a feeling that with 3+ SLI on the way out the door that the market for enthusiast boards will start to even out across the other form factors and the variety will be there next time I am in the market.

    • hkuspc40
    • 3 years ago

    Going mini-ITX for next build for sure… ATX unnecessarily too big.

    • Kaleid
    • 3 years ago

    ATX, everything under is a compromise

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    ATX.

    Might go to microATX for my Kaby Lake build as I recently switched to a single GPU and just use SSDs now.

    • TwoEars
    • 3 years ago

    ATX master race.

    • Kraaketaer
    • 3 years ago

    The only reason for ATX to dominate today is the wealth of models and low prices compared to other form factors.

    -If you need I/O, mATX does all of what ATX does. And honestly, do you need more than a handful of SATA ports? I doubt it. Multi-GPU is a tiny fraction of users, and steadily shrinking.

    If you just need a single GPU, a few drives and that’s it? Go mini-ITX. Sure, mITX limits you in terms of cooler size, and RAM clearance can be an issue. Then again, closed loop coolers are plentiful, reliable, and cost the same as high-end air coolers. Also, there are plenty of good air coolers wit great RAM clearance available too. Only two RAM slots? Not much of an issue outside of X99 – getting 2x8GB is cheap and enough for all gaming, 2x16GB is not really more expensive than 4x8GB, and will do fine for most memory intensive (non-workstation) desktop work. Of course m.2 slots is a bit tricky on mITX – but doable, for sure.

    ATX has more or less outlived its necessity – with fast I/O integrated into chipsets and CPUs, the need for more than one expansion card is quickly fading.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 3 years ago

      In principle I would agree with you, except that in many cases an equivalent mITX mobo costs *more* than the mATX or ATX counter part. So you end up paying a premium to take connectors away.

      (By “equivalent” I mean gives you the same chipset and supported connectivity technologies such as USB 3x, M2, etc. Obviously the number of slots and connections is reduced, but you can at least connect the same devices.)

    • heinsj24
    • 3 years ago

    Until eGPUs are somewhere beyond announcements and boutique shops, I’m using an ATX.

    The Fractal Design R4 is the last ATX/mATX case I want to buy and I’ve been nursing it for about 3-4 years. I could probably fit 16 2009 Mac Minis (my preferred machine and form factor) in the space this ATX takes up – just to support a R9 390 video card for PC gaming.

    Something the size of a Mini-ITX can be hidden anywhere; the ATX case can’t.

    • Peldor
    • 3 years ago

    ATX because if I’m going to build it, I might as well have the elbow room.

    ITXish for the pre-built officebox that is somewhere on a FedEx truck.

    • ET3D
    • 3 years ago

    The question seems to imply it’s about cases, yet asks about motherboard form factor. Cases can vary quite a bit for the same motherboard size.

    In any case, the form factor of my last PC was ‘laptop’.

    • odizzido
    • 3 years ago

    I have an ATX case I picked up probably 15 years ago. I don’t really care what my PC looks like so as long as things fit and the buttons work I will use it indefinitely. My mobo is currently ATX as well, though I’ve used micro ATX boards in this case.

    • Krogoth
    • 3 years ago

    ATX, the form factor that refuses to die.

    I’m kinda surprised that Intel hasn’t tried to kill it off yet. They had the perfect opportunity when they started with making mainstream SoC chips (Sandy Bridge). BTX was interesting but it obviously was a short-term solution to address the thermal issues of newer Netburst chips.

    Intel abandoned it when the spec made it difficult to use CPUs with integrated memory controllers (Nehelam) and Core 2 chips weren’t blast furnaces at stock.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 3 years ago

      They made the NUC, what else should they do?

        • Krogoth
        • 3 years ago

        ATX is completely out of date and makes no sense in a modern desktop build as far as thermal/noise management are concerned. Most of “expansion slots” go unused and end-up being a hindrance to cable management and cooling for expansion cards.

        I suppose that the move to NVM Express and U.2 Express will be the final nail in ATX’s coffin.

          • _ppi
          • 3 years ago

          The empty slots actually make very nice clearance for cooling. Plus I do not see how it is hindrance to cable management.

          Anyway, it would be nice to see mITX/mATX cases compared in thermals/acoustics vs the best full ATX cases.

    • renz496
    • 3 years ago

    regular ATX is still for me. i live in hot climate country and no AC i my room. i did try using corsair R100 before replacing my aging CM690 II and i see my peak gpu temp raise around 10c.

    • Noinoi
    • 3 years ago

    I use an ATX case as, well, I’m not a fan of buying things online, and a smaller case that would have fit the 970 I’ve chosen would make me spend a lot money than I did on the 100R – local retailer availability sometimes make things harder than it should. Besides that, with an ATX case, I can do any size up to ATX, of course – it would be awkward if a desired motherboard couldn’t be used since the case won’t let it to be installed.

    • jackbomb
    • 3 years ago

    Current PC is microATX. I can’t remember the exact year I built it (would’ve been 2013 or 2014), but it stll does just fine as my main computer. LGA2011 i7-4930K @ 4.3GHz, GTX 980, 32GB RAM, Asus Rampage IV Gene board. Small, fast, and silent. Perfect.

    • Zizy
    • 3 years ago

    Form factor of the latest computer is ATX, although the board inside is mATX for cost reasons.
    For my personal computer, both form factor and board are ATX.

    • ozzuneoj
    • 3 years ago

    I built my current ATX system in a Cooler Master 690II Advanced back in 2011 and have only done minor upgrades since then.

    Smaller systems are tempting but the only time my primary system ever used a MicroATX board was my first (as in my own, personally) computer in 1999… which strangely enough was a Gateway mid tower that could easily have fit a full ATX board.

    • Oriflamme
    • 3 years ago

    ATX master race

    • sleeprae
    • 3 years ago

    Most recent purchase overall? A notebook (Dell Latitude E5440 for testing duty)
    Most recent component purchase? Mini ITX (ASUS Z170I-Gaming for HTPC)
    Most recent component purchase for main PC? Extended ATX (ASUS X99-E WS–technically CEB)

    Not sure how to answer, so I went with main PC = E-ATX.

    • Fonbu
    • 3 years ago

    I have a thing for aluminum and I’ve reused the same LIAN-LI PC-7FWB in four builds with ATX since 2011. That things lasted longer than most aluminum frying pans and each build I replaced the fans.

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    ATX, since there’s no other formfactor with an onboard sound blaster ZxR.

    • rudimentary_lathe
    • 3 years ago

    ATX, and the one before that was mATX (both in a mid-tower ATX case).

    I’m intrigued by ITX, but I just don’t want to find myself in a situation where I need that extra expansion slot or SATA header and I don’t have it. Plus the ITX parts (cases and boards) tend to be more expensive. On top of that I expect it wouldn’t be as fun to build in.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 3 years ago

    Like many posters here, I built my current gaming PC in mini-ITX, but I regret that choice. I will be going back to micro-ATX for future builds. Micro-ATX offers all of the expansion and features that I need for a gaming PC, but it doesn’t have as many compromises for cooling, expansion and component cost as a mini-ITX system. If you believe that there’s any reason for ATX to still exist outside of extreme SLI/Crossfire setups, take a look at the [url=http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5832&dl=#ov<]GA-Z170MX-Gaming 5[/url<] for an example of how good micro-ATX motherboards can be. My current build lives in a mini-ITX [url=http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=533&area=en<]Fortress FTZ01S[/url<]. My previous build was in a micro-ATX [url=http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=303&area=en<]Temjin TJ08-E[/url<]. I'm considering something like the [url=http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=392&area=en<]Sugo SG10[/url<] for my next system.

      • Ryhadar
      • 3 years ago

      That gigabyte board is definitely good. Great layout and nice looking. I’ve helped build two systems with that motherboard and both have been rock solid. Only complaints would be gigabyte’s dated UEFI implementation and that the VRM heatsinks don’t feel solidly attached.

    • rechicero
    • 3 years ago

    I said micro ATX, but thats the mobo, the case is a normal ATX case. mATX for the bang per buck, the Fractal Design R5 because is amazing.

    • heyal256
    • 3 years ago

    I went with ATX for the extra expansion options (more drive bays available in the case/more sata ports onboard). I think when I was building my pc (a few years back) most matx motherboards only came with 4 sata ports and the build as planned would have used up all the onboard sata ports leaving no room for expansion.

    • just brew it!
    • 3 years ago

    I had gone micro-ATX in the Socket AM2/AM2+ generation, but shifted back to full ATX for the AM3/AM3+ generation due to a lack of micro-ATX AM3/AM3+ boards with decent chipsets.

    Now that I commute on public transit I spend a fair amount of time on a laptop too. (Current personal laptop is a refurb HP EliteBook 8460p.)

    Edit: This post was made from said laptop. Just passing La Grange, IL now. πŸ˜‰

    • ludi
    • 3 years ago

    Tricky poll for a “typical” TR reader, eh? I haven’t built a system from scratch or even done a major upgrade in a few years, although last time I did so, it was ATX and followed advice from TR’s then-current System Guide. I also keep an older Dell workstation sort-of upgraded for Linux use.

    I’ve bought and refurbished a couple Dell laptops more recently, albeit both used. And I’ve also replaced two mobile devices (S4, iPad) mostly like-in-kind, not because I wanted to, but because I had to (WiFi failure on phone, screen failure on the tablet).

      • Topinio
      • 3 years ago

      Tricky poll because (hopefully not just for me!) it depends which was the most recent home refresh out of the server, workstation, HTPC, laptop…

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 3 years ago

      The poll options were a bit limited. I haven’t built a machine for over 8 years but thats not because I can’t. A new Dell all-in-one last year, two scrounge Thinkpads from work (one a [i<]totally pristine[/i<] W520), a scrounge Dell desktop from a previous job... all this machine building seems like kids stuff.

    • CheetoPet
    • 3 years ago

    microATX because I’m still under the delusion that someday I’ll actually buy 2 video cards.

    • malicious
    • 3 years ago

    My last build used mini-ITX for a low power, headless server. It serves that purpose well enough but the form factor is too cramped to be fun to work with and too limited for a general purpose computer, I think.

    On the other hand, my full ATX primary desktop is looking more like a waste of space every day. Its replacement will most likely be micro-ATX.

    • Wildchild
    • 3 years ago

    I always use different cases for individual clients that don’t really have much of a preference aside from theme and form factor. I’ve only used a few “meh” cases before, but not anything I’d consider bad. Between the ones I’ve previously owned and ones I’ve used for clients, I like my NZXT S340 the most. It’s by far my most personal favorite.

    Second place goes to the Rosewill Thor V2. Aside from the few cheap, plastic parts they use and the fact the sucker is HEAVY. I weighed it myself and it comes close to 50 lbs with the system completely build together. Aside from that, I’d recommend it to those who want a Full ATX case with excellent air flow.

    Like a lot of people though, I’ve recently moved on and come to appreciate smaller builds. Temps might not be as ideal larger cases, but the difference is really negligible and the amount of space you save is nice (I keep mine on my desk).

    There’s also something about a cute little PC that packs a punch too.

    • hasseb64
    • 3 years ago

    Glad to see so many microATX brothers here. Was thinking mini first but change my mind due to better airflows in micro sized case.
    Next time mini for main computer for sure

    • cygnus1
    • 3 years ago

    I have multiple systems that serve different purposes in the house. several ATX, a mATX, and a little asrock beebox, mac mini, and a couple laptops.

    The main desktop I use is the only system that’s ATX and not a server of some kind though so I chose ATX for the poll.

    • sircharles32
    • 3 years ago

    My last build was actually a rebuild of my home server.
    I got sick of the huge case it was residing in (Super Mid-ATX Xclio Wind Tunnel Black), and went with a cube Β΅ATX (Fractal Design Node 804). I actually like the new foot print, and I can still fit the same number of drives (10), and it has excellent cooling (2 x 120 mm intake and 1 x 120 mm exhaust, in each chamber).

    • SonicSilicon
    • 3 years ago

    After almost a year, my latest, a Mini ITX board, is still temporarily in a Micro ATX case.
    The intended permanent housing is a [b<]Baby AT[/b<] luggable, which needs a custom expansion card plate so the backplane can properly line up.

    • southrncomfortjm
    • 3 years ago

    Corsair Carbide 500R. Really easy to work in. Also really good at keeping dust out once I got a micromesh cover for the big intake fan.

    • firewired
    • 3 years ago

    TL;DR – mITX

    Back after a very long hiatus from TR. Missing Scott and Geoff, hope they are doing well.

    Mini-ITX was my last build, and it is the best system I have built in 30 years (no, not a typo). I sold my most-recent old system online at Kijiji which paid for the GPU.

    Fractal Deisgn Core 500
    ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac
    Intel Core i7-4790T (OEM)
    16GB (2x8GB) ADATA DDR3-1600
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
    Noctua NF-A14 PWM rear-case-fan replacement
    Samsung 850 EVO 500GB (Win10Pro)
    SanDisk SSD 240G (Hack & Linux on separate partitions, generally used only for testing)
    Pioneer BDR-207DBK (for old game installs, I will not re-buy games I already own)
    Corsair CS650M ATX PSU
    EVGA NVIDIA GeFroce GTX 1070 Founders Edition (no other blower beats the FE)

    <What’s with all of the EVO’s anyway? How many EVO’s do we really need? Can I get a Mitsu EVO too please as a bonus prize?>

    Obviously the GTX 1070 was the last piece of the build. Was fortunate enough to get one on first-day release for MSRP (though in CAD$ … geesh). I see they are all gouged now. Yes the FE is expensive, but the plastic-blowers from after-market board partners are not nearly as well-behaved as the FE which, for my purposes, was worth the added expense.

    It is near-silent at idle, and the under full load gaming or encoding with Handbrake the fans are not intrusive at all. The Noctua rear-fan is fantastic and was worth every penny. I have a NF-A12 PWM to replace the 212 EVO’s stock fan but the 4790T is so cold the stock fan barely spins.

    The CPU occasionally hits ~50C using Handrbake on a hot day in Canada.
    The GPU runs ~72C with stock fan setting after hours of intense gaming.

    I use on-ear headphones with volume set low so I can hear others in the house call out to me from upstairs to avoid being yelled-at shortly thereafter, so when I say the system is quiet I mean it in a very real sense.

    I have been on SFF almost exclusively since the turn of the century and cannot imagine a scenario where I would want or need to go bigger. Proper parts research and making no compromises is the key for SFF success. Water-cooling in my opinion is overrated in this form-factor and not needed if proper parts research-and-matching is done. There can be price premiums to SFF hardware, but I find if I wait an extra month and save up I can then afford the part I want versus the part I do not really want but could have bought earlier.

    I have sites like TR to thank for the many years of coverage in helping make parts research possible significantly less time-consuming than would otherwise be necessary.

    • _ppi
    • 3 years ago

    I went with ATX Fractal Design Define R5, even though mITX mobo would serve me well in terms of features, mainly because of:

    1) Silent PC build is best done using those 14cm slow-spinning fans. You just can’t do this in mITX or “true” mATX. While some mATX cases could provide competitive acoustics, they are so large, that there is very little space saving compared to mid-ATX case.

    2) I wanted case with possibility to install optical drive (even low-profile) and SD card reader (3.5″). Sure, I could have used external ones, but then I strongly prefer to have these integrated in the box when I already need bulky desktop because of 1).

    Some not-so-stellar reviews of some potential mATX candidates sealed the deal. Of course with full-ATX case I went with ATX mobo.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    I’m torn. I have a full tower system but the “My system is on a chip” choice is 100% accurate because I’m a slob and there’s a crushed Dorito under there!

    • f0d
    • 3 years ago

    ATX
    i cant see me being able to fit everything in my thermaltake x9 system into any mATX case
    3 huge rads
    9 hard drives
    watercooling reservoir/pump
    sometimes sli/crossfire
    2011 mobo and cpu

    [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=108775[/url<]

    • NovusBogus
    • 3 years ago

    Micro ATX for the last several builds, as well as the one I’m currently planning. Enough room for a GPU and a couple of expansions if I ever need them while still being portable. Also less expensive than ATX.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 3 years ago

    I use an mATX motherboard inside an ATX case, just because I really like my Corsair Carbide 400R.

    • Redocbew
    • 3 years ago

    I built my last machine in a Node 304 which I really like. I’m surprised there’s so many people still using full ATX cases, but I’ve always been a SFF geek.

      • tay
      • 3 years ago

      Node 304 here as well. Love the case. It is just right for my needs. My reason for switching from mATX was that smaller case would allow me more computers in the same space πŸ™‚ better WAF

      • Spyrano
      • 3 years ago

      Also a Node 304 for my latest build. Fits my GTX 980 Ti just fine, so I don’t need anything bigger.

      My last build was also mITX. A Bitfenix Prodigy, which was great, but practically as big as a microATX case.

      • dragmor
      • 3 years ago

      When I last built I was looking at this and a Shuttle SZ87R6, in the end I went with the Shuttle for the 5 1/4 bay, but its not as well built as my previous SN95G5. There are little things like the cable routing that let it down.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        Seems like Shuttle lives in the shadows, but they have what appears to be a very solid product line. I guess I built 6+ shuttles back in the day, had the in-laws get a little fanless model for their TV last year, great stuff. No publicity though, that I’ve noticed.

          • dragmor
          • 3 years ago

          Advertising probably depends on country. A lot of computer stores still carry them in Oz, but the marketing spend is none existent outside Asia.

          I think the problem with Shuttle is that they stayed expensive (hard not to with a mid-high end mobo and PSU) and the big manufacturers (Dell, HP) started selling smaller systems. Shuttle can’t compete on the standard desktops and is basically price competitive with small enthusiast builds, while limiting the component choice. due to the inbuilt components.

          The SZ170R8 cases is a step in the right direction (4xHD) and front fan, but they need a renewed focus on “quiet” with there cubes. The 80mm front fan and 92mm rear need improvement, as does the power supply fan. It’s office quiet, but not home quiet.

          I had one of the fanless XS35 atom machines. Was a great desktop for a couple of years, but my $400 Asus VivoNote tablet was a lot faster. The atom aged quicker than most desktops (seemed to be the same performance as my A64 3500+.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 3 years ago

            Yeah I’ve never had a problem finding their products for sale, but its up to me to search them out. How many small-sized systems have gotten news updates on TR while Shuttle goes about their business in silence. Its strange that they seem immune to the regular “rules” of the market.

            Never found Shuttle to be expensive.

            Agree that their cubes are not cutting edge in the noise department, or anyway not the last time I checked.

    • travbrad
    • 3 years ago

    I have a mid tower ATX case but it’s by far the oldest thing “in” my system. It’s about 10 years old and I’ve had 3-4 different CPUs/mobos in it and even more different GPUs. It’s just not something I upgrade very often and I never build full PCs for myself anyway, just gradually upgrading a few things at a time instead.

    I’ll probably get a new case for a Kaby Lake build this winter though (especially if there’s one with eDRAM). Either mid tower again or full tower.

    • smilingcrow
    • 3 years ago

    None of the above as with the Windows 10 poll.

    • Fieryphoenix
    • 3 years ago

    I went with form factor E-ATX, though my motherboard is just ATX, since I reused my reliable old Cooler Master Stacker.

    • mkk
    • 3 years ago

    I’ll be looking for an mATX case and motherboard next time. As did I the last time, but there just wasn’t an appealing enough combo to go with. Hoping to eventually see a revamped Define Mini from Fractal Design, but I guess the case market is mostly big or small these days. I partly blame the water cooling hype.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    H) None of the above.

    The most recent PC I’ve bought is a 4L MiniPC with a nonstandard motherboard, a Dell Optiplex 790 USFF to be precise.

    I suppose Mini-STX is the closest size-wise but my PC has an internal PSU instead of a nasty power brick. Given there are some high profile gaming systems in the same category (Alienware Alpha, Zotac EN970 etc.) I’m surprised it’s an option you’ve missed.

    My next PC will either be the same again if someone makes a model with a Polaris GPU or back up to a ~20L Micro ATX system. Mini-STX doesn’t yet have provision for an internal PSU and Mini-ITX cases tend to be too big to accept the functionality compromise. The Dan A4-SFX would have been tempting if it was a more mainstream price.

    • solo_clipper
    • 3 years ago

    My last two builds were Mini-ITX, both powered with 19v power adapter’s. I’m a low power, silent pc guy. PC power supplies are way back in my rear view mirror. Very much looking forward to Mini-STX, eagerly waiting for the reviews.

    • nizer
    • 3 years ago

    Mini-ITX for the world! The Dan A4 SFX case is on the wish list: [url<]https://www.dan-cases.com/dana4.php[/url<] Until then I rock my Silverstone RVZ01 .. πŸ™‚

      • K-L-Waster
      • 3 years ago

      That Dan case looks awesomely space efficient. The price tag is exorbitant though — you could probably buy 3 extremely good ATX cases for that money.

      If it cost closer to the RVZ01 it would be a very attractive option.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        Well if a person only needs just one case, and they have the money for this one, why would they consider buying three? πŸ™‚

          • K-L-Waster
          • 3 years ago

          Hmmm, point… maybe instead they’d buy a PSU, RAM, and a CPU cooler πŸ˜‰

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 3 years ago

      Impressive case.

    • cynan
    • 3 years ago

    I haven’t bought a motherboard and case at the same time since 2008 for [b<]my[/b<] PC. I did one refresh since then in 2012, but reused the case after modding it a bit. So I answered ATX. I did, however, build another mATX case/mobo PC since 2008 for someone else in the household.

    • Concupiscence
    • 3 years ago

    For my latest build I really thought about going microATX, but I was going to put it into [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811152590<]a standard ATX case anyway,[/url<] and the price differential over mATX was small. The case is fantastic and a pleasure to work with, and the modular drive cages will be handy if and when I throw in a gigantic video card in the future. As it stands, the XFX DD Radeon 7970 the box's i5 6600K feeds has plenty of room and temperatures are great. It's a much tidier, nicer build than the FX-8320 in a CM690 that sits next to it... Our home theater PC's a spiffy little i3 4170 in a microATX 'board. The Fractal Design 1000 looks sharp, but is deeply irritating to work within. If I could go back in time, I'd choose nearly anything the hell else. As it stands I only open it to clean the fans every few months, since it lives in a house with three cats. Tl;dr - Do what works for you, but if you're prone to tinkering, don't be afraid to embrace function over smaller form.

    • geniekid
    • 3 years ago

    My last main PC build (not counting HTPCs) was ATX but my next build will be mITX.

    I built my PC in Feb 2012 and back then you simply had to sacrifice too much to justify SFF builds – even if you could fit everything into your system it would run like a toaster. Since then, however, we’ve seen the release of solid ITX cases, SFX power supplies, and power efficient GPUs (most notably with the introduction of Maxwell). SSDs are becoming affordable to the point where some might not even need a 3.5″ HDD any more. All these factors make me think mATX and mITX are going to gain significant popularity with the enthusiast crowd over the next few years.

    • YukaKun
    • 3 years ago

    I’m in the same boat as a lot of fellas here.

    I have ATX MoBos (EATX case for my GF: CM HAFX, ATX for me: TT S41; both main computers), my HTPC is mATX in an ATX case (CM Elite 361) and a gaming laptop (15″ 1080p numpad).

    So, there’s not a single answer for me, although the best fit is “ATX”. I used to have an EATX MoBo as well, but that was *years* ago. I even gave my good old CM HAF932 away when I got rid of it.

    If it’s about “what I’d like”, then mATX or ITX. Having a big case is cool and nice when you actually have the space for it, but as of late, I’d love to have smaller cases. In particular, smaller components as well. Ah, choices, choices!

    Cheers!

    • kmm
    • 3 years ago

    I’ve got mITX now with the Lian-Li PC-Q33 (229 mm W x 240 mm D x 328 mm H; 18 Liters with a 9″ x 9.5″ footprint on a desk) using a tower air cooler on an i7-6700k, GTX 960, and 3 drives (4-5 supported). The downside is that long graphics cards obviously aren’t supported, which would be dealbreaking for many.

    It’s not tiny but it’s not mITX-in-a-form-factor-so-big-you-might-as-well-have-gone-mATX.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    I wanted to go with microATX but you know there aren’t any boards smaller than full ATX in the realm of 990FX. One really has to wonder why there weren’t ever any microATX AM3+ boards in the 5 years that the platform has been on offer. It’s not like lopping off a couple of PCIe slots is difficult. If anything, not having to route traces for those slots actually would’ve made the job easier and made the board cheaper, all else being equal. Go figure.

    Edit – DAMMIT autocorrect!!!

      • Concupiscence
      • 3 years ago

      It’s like crying over spilt milk with Zen ’round the corner, but I hear you.

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        No, not at all. It’s just something one puzzles about. And if you want more puzzles there are those new AM3+ boards still coming out this late in the game.

          • Concupiscence
          • 3 years ago

          I’d guess that’s old chipsets that are already paid for and taking up inventory space. It’s cheaper to design a few new motherboards to move those chipsets and spruce up the old platform than let them sit unused in a warehouse until they get thrown out.

            • just brew it!
            • 3 years ago

            I strongly suspect that it went beyond that, with entire motherboard designs being recycled as well, incorporating only enough tweaks to support the new CPU socket and DDR3. How else do you explain an AM3+ motherboard with a 760G/SB710 chipset and VIA onboard audio, released in 2013?

            (Not that I’ve got anything against VIA’s audio solutions; IMO they sound better than Realtek’s. But it really does date the motherboard design.)

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Case sizes complicate things because they blur the lines. We have:
    large ATX cases
    compact ATX cases = large mATX cases
    compact mATX cases = large mITX cases
    compact mITX cases

    • DaveJustDave
    • 3 years ago

    PC AT… DESKTOP…and that’s the way I likes it!

      • CuttinHobo
      • 3 years ago

      β™« that’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, he likes it! β™«

      • heinsj24
      • 3 years ago

      Big Power Levers on the side – I miss those and their satisfying ka-chunk noise

    • flip-mode
    • 3 years ago

    Getting ready to make a Chromebook purchase. I might pony up for that spiffy looking HP Chromebook 13.

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 3 years ago

      Why a Chromebook over an inexpensive Windows machine?

    • K-L-Waster
    • 3 years ago

    Main system is ATX — Corsair 550D

    HTPC is mATX — Silverstone GD09B

    Laptop is an ultra portable — Dell XPS 9350

    I’m getting the itch to try a mITX in a very small form factor, even though I don’t have any objective need for a new system. Must… resist…

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      Interestly.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Oh I’m sure case makers would be veeeeerrryyy interested in this poll.

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      I’m sure case makers have actual sales data to reference a MUCH larger sample size.

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        Yes of coz.

    • ImSpartacus
    • 3 years ago

    mITX for my main gaming desktop built about two years ago. Just a modest 4440 and 290.

    I’m only using one gpu (frame times, hooo!) and I don’t care about fancy sound cards and what not. I also don’t overclock, so I don’t need spectacular cooling.

    I honestly don’t really need the extra space or portability. I went mitx because I knew I could do it without any meaningful compromises and I got a wicked deal on a prodigy case.

    Oh and mitx cases tend to come with free wifi adapters built in, which turned out to be handy, lol.

    EDIT also my mitx mobo came with a handy msata slot before it was stylish to put those on every board ever. Since I only used that up until like two weeks ago (stuck an old 2.5″ ssd in), I didn’t have any internal cables in my build except for the power cables.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    mITX but I kinda regret my [url=https://techreport.com/review/26944/corsair-graphite-series-380t-case-reviewed<]case choice[/url<]. If I had it to do over again, I'd have gone mATX in a more understated design that takes up about the same mount of space, like a Fractal Design Define Mini.

      • MagariNegi
      • 3 years ago

      What are some things you don’t like with that case?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        Two things:

        1.) It’s so very wide (because the board lays down) but I knew that going in
        2.) The top isn’t totally removable, so building in it is obstructed by something 100% of the time. Even though both sides are removable, I found it still kind of tedious to build a system.

      • kmm
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, a lot of brands these days have mITX cases that are much bigger than normal computers, like let’s say non-slim mATX towers from Dell/Lenovo/HP/whatever. I don’t really get it, except for the builders doing full-fat enthusiast watercooling in them and actually need the space, yet for some reason don’t want mATX.

      IMHO most are better served scaling up to mATX or scaling down to smaller mITX.

      Though to be honest, something like a Fractal Design Define Mini is pretty much just an ATX case with three fewer slots, shaving off a couple inches on height, which for many is the most useless dimension to save on. There are ATX cases like the Source 340 that are more compact, and even that wastes internal volume (but doesn’t support 5.25″ drives).

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        That’s a good point. I’ve actually been looking at the Core 1100 for a friend’s build. It’s not as big as the Define Mini and it still has room for 120mm fan in the back. My thing is if the case gets too narrow, you’re stuck with a rear exhaust of 92mm.

          • kmm
          • 3 years ago

          Oh yeah, 92 mm or 2x 80 mm for back exhaust is kind of icky unless you’re talking a low-power build and splurge on decent fans. Most every case from the major DIY/enthusiast brands are wide enough to fit 120 mm in the back, though, like the Core 1100.

          The bigger issue is depth, I would say. For a lot of builds the front-to-back space needn’t be nearly as large. For some it’s appropriate.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            Depth is just one of those things I’ve come to accept. You can buy shorter graphics cards, but just about nobody makes a decent mATX case where you can take advantage by having a smaller footprint. The Core 1100 is an offender (nearly 17″ deep), but so is just about everything else I’ve looked at. A case that shaves three inches of depth by doing something interesting with the drive bays would get my attention with this build.

            Micro-ATX cases also tend to make weird decisions about front portsβ€”one each USB 2.0 and 3.0. Both of those connectors can accommodate a pair of ports each. I would prefer a pair of USB 3.0 ports and put the pennies that would pay for a USB 2.0 header cable towards a 3.0 to 2.0 adapter for older motherboards instead. Or give me two of each. I’m not picky. Then if I want to use the unused headers with a PCI slot adapter, I can.

        • EndlessWaves
        • 3 years ago

        “much bigger than normal computers, like let’s say non-slim mATX towers from Dell/Lenovo/HP/whatever”

        I wouldn’t call those normal desktops these days. I suspect slim towers far outsell them for business buyers and they’re at least as popular for home buyers.

          • kmm
          • 3 years ago

          That’s true; the slim models are probably more common. I think the point I was trying to make is that even the non-slim models with the full-height expansion card slots are smaller than the Corsair 380Ts of the world. The full range of “normal-sized” desktop machines encompasses both slim and non-slim models. Just not some of the larger workstations and most enthusiast/DIY builds.

      • Andrew Lauritzen
      • 3 years ago

      Dude, I built a SKL machine in that case and while I agree it’s a bit… uhhh… “unique”, it has been the *perfect* case for my uses which include carrying it over to the “VR room” to do Vive stuff and back to the office for regular gaming (it’s my wife’s gaming machine). The key point is you can easily carry it with one hand. The cooling for the GPU is also excellent, particularly with one of the side fan designs that just blow right out the side of the case. That’s great for VR machines which typically employ very high powered GPUs.

      Case honestly gives up very little in the way of ability to install high end hardware (for VR, etc) and with only an M.2 SSD in there (under the motherboard on the one I have), it’s very clean on the inside.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        The handle would definitely be great for your use. Mine never leaves the desk, though. πŸ˜†

        I agree there are some good qualities to the case. I’ve had it since December, so I’m past the honeymoon stage, and some of the irritants have become just that. Mine has a Corsair H60, an M.2 SSD, and a 1TB spinning disk and you’re right – it’s very clean. It’s worth having those side panel windows.

          • Andrew Lauritzen
          • 3 years ago

          Yeah if it was static you can certainly at least get something narrower. But I don’t mind the design leaving space open for bigger GPUs and water cooling personally, and the handle thing is key for my uses.

          I’ve also had mine for quite a while at this point and remain happy with it, but to each his own πŸ™‚ Lots more options out there for interesting cases than in past years at least!

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            Oh, definitely. And since I went with the liquid cooling option, it’s not like I went with small parts in the first place. it’s my own darn fault. πŸ˜€

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    The wife won a Cooler Master Cosmos II but didn’t like it, so I’m firmly in the gargantuan category even though it’s only ATX.

    The HTPC is mATX in a nice Fractal Node HTPC case.

    The NAS is a full 4U 20-bay chassis from Norco, mobo is regular ATX.

    Everything else? Smart TVs and/or Fire TV or Chromecast.

    • The Egg
    • 3 years ago

    ATX in a Silverstone GD07…..which is about as small as you’d want to go with a full-size ATX. A bit uncomfortable with more than a couple drives, actually.

    • xeridea
    • 3 years ago

    Main PC = ATX
    HTPC = Mini ITX
    Ethereum…. = wire shelf

    • DancinJack
    • 3 years ago

    mATX ftw. ATX too big anymore these days. Don’t need my computer to be the size of a small person.

    edit: presumably, y’know, not a toddler or something. something bigger than that.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 3 years ago

    I did ITX on my last main rig and I wouldn’t do it again. My Node 304 is very efficient and was able to fit 7 drives and a 7950 (mSATA and 2×2.5 to 3.5 adapter) but I still ended up hanging so much stuff off USB that the desk became a mess.

    • fndragon
    • 3 years ago

    Went full ATX this time because

    1) It’s cheaper than a smaller enclosure
    2) I was playing around with a new (to me) type of heat dissipation – water loop – which needed a large bay in order to mount the radiator
    3) Didn’t feel like playing “Will it fit” when building a system anymore. I’ve done micro-ATX builds, and there’s always something that doesn’t play well with the setup. I’ve seen slightly-outside-of-spec power supplies and video cards that WILL wedge in there, but you’re not comfortable with it.
    4) Silverstone has a good series of vertically-mounted cases that REALLY improve air flow (up = hot = out) through case.

    • boskone
    • 3 years ago

    Mini-ITX. Onboard components, excepting video, are perfectly acceptable these days, and it’s got a slot for a video card. Bulk storage is in a NAS in the closet, no need for more than a single SSD. Put it all in a Core 500, strapped to the bottom of my desk, and it’s all the power I need or want without the case taking useful real estate.

    • invinciblegod
    • 3 years ago

    I use an atx motherboard but my case is a desk so it is 60 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 40 inches tall.

    • pikaporeon
    • 3 years ago

    mATX this time around, and my first smaller build after using a Cooler Master Cosmos and a Corsair 600T, I figured I’d try a smaller build.

    I like how it fits on my desk but I do not like working inside it at all, and I’m certainly on the bigger side of the mATX spectrum (COrsair 88R)

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      Haven’t seen you around in a while.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Main PC = mATX
    HTPC = mITX

    The vast majority of PC users, including most enthusiasts, aren’t likely to populate all the expansion slots in a full ATX mobo. Not sure why/how that’s still so popular. Get with the times people!!

    [Add] Probably just reference the [url=https://techreport.com/news/27055/the-tr-hardware-survey-2014-what-inside-your-main-desktop-pc<]2014 TR Hardware Survey[/url<] (maybe it's time for a new one!?)

      • DeadOfKnight
      • 3 years ago

      Oh wow, so far it looks like standard ATX boards lost 20% market share among enthusiasts over the past 2 years. I was considering going mATX myself for my next build. I don’t know if I will though, ATX is much better to play around in, doing things like water cooling, SLI/crossfire, and even though I know I won’t use every slot on the motherboard it’s more about having the ability to leave slots open for better airflow. I still don’t know, we’ll see in about half a year, when I’m planning to build a new one. Hopefully Zen/Vega/1080 Ti will be out by then…

      My PC is about 6 years old now though. Only reason I’m not upgrading now is I am planning to purchase a Razer Blade 1060 edition as soon as they release it.

      • xeridea
      • 3 years ago

      Most probably wouldn’t fully utilize an ATX board, but working in a standard mid tower case is easier than a compact one. Some use mATX board in a standard case. Also, smaller case may not support larger cards, or tall tower coolers.

      • The Egg
      • 3 years ago

      Most people don’t need more than Mini-ITX, but full-ATX can sometimes be less expensive, and other times the builder is re-using a case, so going smaller wouldn’t provide any tangible benefit.

        • DPete27
        • 3 years ago

        Perhaps the poll question needs to be clarified as I think it was intended that the user was matching the form factor of motherboard AND the case.

          • DeadOfKnight
          • 3 years ago

          Yeah that would be interesting as well. I doubt too many people would buy an ATX case if they know they are gonna use an mATX motherboard though. Most of them doing that are probably just recycling their case. That’s definitely not in the cards for me though. My plan, if I were to use an mATX motherboard would be to get a smaller case as well. Not that I need the space or anything, but it would be a lot easier to move around.

          Probably stick with ATX though. For me, a PC is just a big toy to play around with, and ATX is a lot more fun to play around with on a hardware level. I would, however, consider a horizontal mini-ITX build for an HTPC. With so many devices competing for the living room now though, I’d probably just go with one of those instead. I mean, with the advent of smart TVs, half the reason people built them is now null and void.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 3 years ago

        The other thing that comes up is overall price. mITX component frequently cost more than the larger form factors.

        Even with mATX, the every day price is generally equivalent to ATX, but mATX doesn’t get included in sales and bundle deals as often — so once you factor in the “limited time” discounts, ATX often ends up being cheaper.

      • travbrad
      • 3 years ago

      It’s not about mobo slots for me since I only have a graphics card and sound card. It’s more about the case size (bigger cases can get more airflow and bigger/quieter fans more easily). Some of the really large heat sinks are more likely to fit on an ATX mobo and bigger case as well.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 3 years ago

        mATX mobos really are not that much different from ATX — effectively it’s ATX with 2-3 slots cut off. Assuming those slots aren’t going to be used (most people have 1 GPU and that’s it for cards), there isn’t a lot of reason in having them.

        The CPU mounting region and the RAM slots on mATX are pretty much identical to ATX. If you can mount the cooler you want on ATX you should be able to mount it on mATX with an identical setup.

        mATX boards will also mount in ATX cases without any trouble. The mounting stand offs line up without issue.

          • travbrad
          • 3 years ago

          If you are putting in a big case anyway though usually the ATX mobos are roughly the same price and there tends to be a wider selection of them available. Right now on newegg for example there are 9 mATX Z170 boards in stock and 66 ATX Z170 boards.

          I’m not opposed to putting a mATX board in a bigger case, it just has no real benefit in a big case and limits the mobos you can consider. For what it’s worth if I was building a Z170 system I would consider all 75 of those boards.

            • DPete27
            • 3 years ago

            109 mATX cases on newegg, 450 ATX.
            Mobo makers don’t want to make the transition to primarily mATX until the case makers do. And vice versa. It’s a stalemate.

            As I mentioned also, the fact that a large mATX case is the same volume as a mid tower ATX kindof defeats the purpose of going to mATX for space savings. We hear the complaints all the time when a new large mITX or mATX case is announced. Although, in all fairness, larger mATX and mITX cases are oftentimes sized to accomodate liquid cooling these days. Something you won’t find as convenient in a compact ATX case of the same volume.

            At least [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007627%20600567584&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&Order=PRICE&PageSize=36<]mATX is the cheaper size for mobos[/url<]

      • f0d
      • 3 years ago

      i like full atx because of many reasons

      – i like to custom watercool which is hard in matx or lower as i doubt i would be able to fit 2 or more decent sized rads in one as well as pumps reservoirs etc

      – i like to have plenty of space inside when im working on my pc, i have a TJ08-E matx for my htpc thats a major pain in the ass to work on with 5 harddrives a big cooler and a graphics card stuffed in there

      – i dont have any space issues in my room so it makes almost no difference using matx/mitx or atx or even e-atx to me

      – you have more case choices with atx

      – atx are usually cheaper than smaller cases

      – more motherboard choices with atx

      – atx motherboards are usually cheaper than their smaller form factor equals

      • Ryhadar
      • 3 years ago

      I’ve been a proponent of mATX for years but it’s just so hard to stick with it. ATX and even mini ITX cases and motherboards get more features than comparable mATX parts. A good example would be integrated wireless cards. ATX boards have them, mini ITX boards have them. Please show me a Z170 mATX motherboard that has integrated wireless. On top of that, quality mATX parts usually get released far later than ATX counterparts. mATX is just crippled with the terrible stigma that they’re only good for cheap builds

      I’m very happy with my 2600K paired with my Phanteks Evolv mATX, and thankfully I don’t have much reason to upgrade. But I may be swayed back to ATX the next time I build a new PC.

    • thesmileman
    • 3 years ago

    I went laptop with the new 1070. These 15″ laptops are so small, plus a 3k ips screen with gsync how could I say no. I’m so tired of giant machines but I always compromised on performance. not this time nor ever again.

    And yes I know I you think I can’t see the 3k screen on a 15″ laptop…blah blah. I can and I do.

    • bthylafh
    • 3 years ago

    I reused my old ATX case and put in a MicroATX motherboard.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This