Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by bit-tech, 19 Jun 2018.
Glad to see Asus agrees with me that Micro ATX is a completely pointless form factor
While ITX boards remain as expensive as they are I think they have a place. I don't want a huge ATX machine, but I can save £40-odd quid by moving from ITX to mATX on a board that has largely similar features.
Yeah, mine's an mATX and does everything I need with the added bonus of fitting in a smaller case that isn't as cramped as an ITX. Not everyone needs a hojillion PCIe slots and room for eighteen exabytes of storage!
Yeah, the mITX tax is a little ridiculous. I understand it for the high end boards, but even budget B350/B360 ITX versions are considerably more expensive than their mATX (or full size) counterparts.
Why would matx be completely pointless?
Matx offers more than enough space to fully exploit the functionality of both the AMD and Intel mainstream platforms.
I'd say matx should be the norm with ATX being relegated to niche status with maybe two or three ATX products from each mobo manufacturer tops.
Obviously with HEDT it is different and ATX still has a purpose there, but for the mainstream boards? Whats the point of keeping the dinosaur ATX form factor as the norm?
..because the cases they go in are only marginally smaller than a proper mid size ATX, so the space saving argument is weak, in the extreme.
You therefore have all the restrictions of a cut down motherboard with none of the real space saving benefits of a Mini ITX build.
I normally take the opposite view: if a company consistently puts out well-made 'normal' products (e.g. ASRock, Silverstone) I hold them in higher estimation than one that puts out 'halo' products in a sea of blandness. If you make a few good products but loads of guff, I'll look at all your new products as statistically guff until proven otherwise.
That's just a case of lazy case manufacturers than an inherent issue with mATX. Most mass-market ITX cases are as large or larger than ATX cases (NZXT Manta honhonhon) too.
After a quick "smallest [type] case" Google:
SilverStone SG01-F mATX: 263 x 212 x 393mm, 21.9 litres.
Jonsbo U4 ATX: 205mm x 340mm x 428mm, 29.3 litres.
So, going to mATX drops the case volume by nearly 30%. I'd say that's a bit more than marginal. Sure, you can buy giant mATX cases - but I could build a case the size of a house with ITX mountings, and you wouldn't say that makes all ITX cases massive.
To be fair it is a bit of a chicken egg thing, I mean mainboard manufacturers certainly aren't offering enough reason to case manufacturers to do a better job with smaller cases.
Take the Gigargb Z370 lineup for example:
With that gross artificial distortion in favour of ATX it is obvious that ATX is going to be the dominant factor in sales, which harms the profits of anyone putting effort into smaller cases.
Here's an irony for you, I built my last ITX system in a mATX case because the ITX cases weren't big enough.
Even with all the extra internal volume the TJ08E wasn't much bigger than ITX cases that have clearance for an actual CPU cooler and some airflow to feed it.
I have 6 PC's in the house (excluding laptops). 4 are mATX boards in mATX cases, 1 is an mATX board in an ATX case (NAS for lots of drives) and 1 is an mITX board in an mITX case. All done to reduce the space taken by large cases but still fit everything I need to fit in an effective and cool manner.
I too lament the passing of the flagship mATX boards but am considering that if and when I upgrade any of the PC's, it will likely be to mITX - apart from my existing mITX rig, that will probably be "upgraded" to an NUC.
Funcitonally I do not need (or desire) large cases (and therefore boards), space is at a premium, why waste it?
The only restriction I have found for not going mITX previously has usually been that histroically mITX cases have not offered the layout I have needed (GPU cooling, optical drive space, disk drive space) or have been the same size as mATX cases anyway. I know this has changed a lot in the last year or two with mITX cases but I no longer need or desire to upgrade every six months.
As mentioned above, if I can build an mATX rig the same size as mITX yet build it cheaper, why wouldn't I?
It's getting better, but still mad. I have an original TJ08 and a TJ08-E, which are both great and pretty good on size. Look (No, don't really...) at the 42L Mant and 36L Evolv ITX, which both dwarf the TJ08s.
Of the 6 PCs in the house, 2 are mATX in the aforementioned TJ08s, 3 ITX rigs are in SG05/SG06/SG13. The last one is mATX in a (WIP) modded case that's 18L.
Having joined SFF Forum, those big and inefficient cases really do offend my sensibilities. I can't think of a use for all 4 mATX slots (one board has 2x M.2 slots) let alone 7 for an ATX board!
On the topic of flagship products, the ROG Impact boards have been great for getting all you need on an ITX board (good sound, WFi, M.2 etc.) that have made mATX pretty redundant for me. I don't need a sound card, a PCIe WiFi Card or PCIe storage...
It's just the size tax for a small and densely packed board that is the downside.
Wait a minute, isn't that TJ08E MY TJ08E?
It is isn't it, don't hold out on me man!
F-T-S your TJ08-E?
I rather think it was, typing this message on that very rig
TJ08-E with a nice H87M motherboard and Haswell i3.
The poor old TJ08 is looking a bit sad with a coat of matte desert paint from a gaming mod - that said, it DOES suit the Noctua fans in it, you can't say that of many colour schemes!
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