micro ATX advantage?

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Devonavar

Post Reply
goatsandmonkeys
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:32 am
Location: new york

micro ATX advantage?

Post by goatsandmonkeys » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:42 am

I'm torn between the getting a ATX case and a micro ATX case. Besides being a little less expensive are there airflow or other advantages to a smaller case?

mkk
Posts: 687
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:51 pm
Location: Gefle, Sweden
Contact:

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by mkk » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:01 pm

Decide on what size and style of case you want your computer to have, then see if that decision makes mATX a requirement. It's easier too cool quietly in larger cases, but if you're going for relatively low power components then that factor is not important.

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by quest_for_silence » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:58 pm

goatsandmonkeys wrote:I'm torn between the getting a ATX case and a micro ATX case. Besides being a little less expensive are there airflow or other advantages to a smaller case?
mATX enclosures may have less issues to fit in any ambient, and they often looks (I mean, it's a rather common sense) more cute/pretty.
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

Fire-Flare
Posts: 422
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:44 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by Fire-Flare » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:42 pm

I haven't noticed any difference in my builds, it seems to come down to how efficiently air gets in and out rather than internal dimensions.

If the intake fan (if you use one) has to breathe through a few little holes, it will spin fast to suck air in.

Similarly, if the exhaust fan has nothing but a thin wire grill between it and the outside world, it shouldn't have any trouble removing heat quietly.

The main thing you want is for the fans to be large and relatively unobstructed. 120mm is ideal because they can push adequate air at lower RPMs than their smaller cousins, and are easily replaced with fans designed for silence if the ones that come with the case are too noisy.
My build: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=69018

Swiftech MCP35X review: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=65287

Plekto
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:08 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by Plekto » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:03 pm

The big deal is that the smaller cases cannot generally fit any aftermarket cooler of any size nor can they generally fit larger video cards and potential aftermarket coolers(Accelero or similar). A typical Mini ATX can do this and still be fairly small.

goatsandmonkeys
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:32 am
Location: new york

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by goatsandmonkeys » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:27 pm

I'm looking at either the define R3 or the define mini. both can fit the cooler I want to use, but one will have a lot more empty space. I am wondering if I might get the larger one, but part of me thinks the air will cycle through faster if the case itself and over components. I guess it's not much of a big deal.

vitaminc
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:11 am
Location: Silicon Valley, California

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by vitaminc » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:57 pm

goatsandmonkeys wrote:I'm torn between the getting a ATX case and a micro ATX case. Besides being a little less expensive are there airflow or other advantages to a smaller case?
Yes. You will be limited to neutered mATX motherboards and sometimes half height CPU coolers.
Athlon 64 3200+ | ASUS M2A-VM | Corsair XMS2 | 3ware 9650SE 4LPML | Seasonic SS-380HB | Antec Solo
Core 2 Quad Q6600 | ASUS P5WDG2-WS Pro | Gigabyte 4850HD Silent | G.Skill 4x1GB | Samsung SLC SSD | Seasonic M12 650 | Antec P180
Core i7-2600K @ 4.3 GHz, 1.30V | ASUS P8P67 Pro | Sparkle GTX 560 Ti | G.Skill Ripjaw X @ 933MHz 9-10-9-24 2T | Crucial C300 128GB | Seasonic X750 Gold | Antec P183

Fire-Flare
Posts: 422
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:44 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by Fire-Flare » Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:21 am

vitaminc wrote:
goatsandmonkeys wrote:I'm torn between the getting a ATX case and a micro ATX case. Besides being a little less expensive are there airflow or other advantages to a smaller case?
Yes. You will be limited to neutered mATX motherboards and sometimes half height CPU coolers.
Look for one that's at least 7 inches or 180mm wide. They will hold just about any cooler.
My build: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=69018

Swiftech MCP35X review: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=65287

ces
Posts: 3395
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Location: US

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by ces » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:53 am

Small Case Options:
Fire-Flare wrote:Look for one that's at least 7 inches or 180mm wide. They will hold just about any cooler.
Lian Li A05 W 8.27; H 15.00; D 19.29; (mATX & ATX)

Broadway Com R-310 W 7.90; H 13.80; D 18.50; (ATX) NICE SMALL CASE THAT TAKES A FULL ATX

APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case WITH HANDLE (microcenter sells it as the Powerspec 381) it has a handle on it and can hold a 10.5” video card
W 7.20; H 16.00; D 16.00; (mATX)
W 7.20; H 14.25; D 16.00; (mATX) version w/o handle
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

fumino
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: ontario

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by fumino » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:08 pm

if you are not bothered by the feature set of a particular mATX board (they generally offer almost everything a full size board does, though generally multicard vga setups dont get a lot of love); i would say go with micro.

the cost is generally lower. but perhaps more relevant is that there is less volume in the chassis. just based off personal opinion... but i would venture a guess that there being less air inside the chassis would mean less air needing to be removed to get fresh air in, meaning lower cfm fans could achieve the same cooling since theres less work to actively do. if that makes sense.

plus i just think that going full atx is just a waste if youre not using more than one graphics card, or have some other specific reason to go with that particular board.
my foamed mini p180 | corsair cx-400 w/ fan swap | scythe mugen-2 | thermalright hr-05 | unlocked sempron 140 | asrock 880g | 8gb mushkin |vertex 30gb boot | 7TBs storage |

vitaminc
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:11 am
Location: Silicon Valley, California

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by vitaminc » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:17 pm

fumino wrote:if you are not bothered by the feature set of a particular mATX board (they generally offer almost everything a full size board does, though generally multicard vga setups dont get a lot of love); i would say go with micro.

the cost is generally lower. but perhaps more relevant is that there is less volume in the chassis. just based off personal opinion... but i would venture a guess that there being less air inside the chassis would mean less air needing to be removed to get fresh air in, meaning lower cfm fans could achieve the same cooling since theres less work to actively do. if that makes sense.

plus i just think that going full atx is just a waste if youre not using more than one graphics card, or have some other specific reason to go with that particular board.
The new Asus P8 motherboard in full ATX has much better power/voltage regulation than mATX boards.
Athlon 64 3200+ | ASUS M2A-VM | Corsair XMS2 | 3ware 9650SE 4LPML | Seasonic SS-380HB | Antec Solo
Core 2 Quad Q6600 | ASUS P5WDG2-WS Pro | Gigabyte 4850HD Silent | G.Skill 4x1GB | Samsung SLC SSD | Seasonic M12 650 | Antec P180
Core i7-2600K @ 4.3 GHz, 1.30V | ASUS P8P67 Pro | Sparkle GTX 560 Ti | G.Skill Ripjaw X @ 933MHz 9-10-9-24 2T | Crucial C300 128GB | Seasonic X750 Gold | Antec P183

ces
Posts: 3395
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Location: US

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by ces » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:11 pm

fumino wrote:i would venture a guess that there being less air inside the chassis would mean less air needing to be removed to get fresh air in,
That really isn't so. You have x amount of heat. If you double the amount of air going in and out, the change in delta of the temp of the air going in compared to that leaving will be reduced in half.

If you halve the amount of air going in and leaving the delta doubles. The actual size of the case isn't directly relevant except to the extent it makes it easier to engineer airflows.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

fumino
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: ontario

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by fumino » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:51 pm

vitaminc wrote:The new Asus P8 motherboard in full ATX has much better power/voltage regulation than mATX boards.
a very valid point. the feature sets on full atx boards can get a lot more impressive than their matx brethren. we dont know what kind of system op is even considering though, just what the pros and cons are with atx vs matx.

like i said, if theres a specific feature he wants, then he should get the board that has it. if he doesnt see them as necessary features, then he can look elsewhere/ put his focus on other areas of his build.
ces wrote:...
what youre not taking into account is the efficiency of the fans/ their airflow. while aiming for the same temps, and either maintaining the same or lower levels of airflow; in a larger case, the exhaust fans would be wasting some of its capacity on emptying parts of the case that dont need it. same with the intake fans, theyd be pushing air towards places that dont necessarily need it depending on the configuration. in this instance, going with the smaller case is about creating a better airflow path; since that should translate to being able to run the fans at lower speeds to achieve the same performance, or runs with less fans for the same performance.

so if op went with the define mini, be could potentially run it without the front fans, or have all the fans at lower voltage than what would provide the same results with the same exact cooling, fans, fan speeds, and parts in say the define r3. just referring to the define series, i'd say theres clear potential to run the mini with one fan/all fans on lowest volts. i dont know that the same can be said for the define r3 because of its size.

once again though, it all depends on the hardware configuration thats gonna be put in the case.
my foamed mini p180 | corsair cx-400 w/ fan swap | scythe mugen-2 | thermalright hr-05 | unlocked sempron 140 | asrock 880g | 8gb mushkin |vertex 30gb boot | 7TBs storage |

Jipa
Posts: 167
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:06 am
Location: Tampere, Finland
Contact:

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by Jipa » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:42 pm

vitaminc wrote:
goatsandmonkeys wrote:I'm torn between the getting a ATX case and a micro ATX case. Besides being a little less expensive are there airflow or other advantages to a smaller case?
Yes. You will be limited to neutered mATX motherboards and sometimes half height CPU coolers.
Neutered my ass. Unless it's a 3- or 4-way SLI or crossfire or something else totally bonkers a mATX board will do just as well. Full ATX is nothing but waste of space if you're only going to have the single graphic card and maybe a sound card (like about 90% (statistics by Stetson&Co.) of people on forums do).

As for cooling.. Yeah there isn't really going to be a difference caused by the form factor.
www.Metku.net & www.AllTheMods.com

vitaminc
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:11 am
Location: Silicon Valley, California

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by vitaminc » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:34 pm

Jipa wrote:
vitaminc wrote:
goatsandmonkeys wrote:I'm torn between the getting a ATX case and a micro ATX case. Besides being a little less expensive are there airflow or other advantages to a smaller case?
Yes. You will be limited to neutered mATX motherboards and sometimes half height CPU coolers.
Neutered my ass. Unless it's a 3- or 4-way SLI or crossfire or something else totally bonkers a mATX board will do just as well. Full ATX is nothing but waste of space if you're only going to have the single graphic card and maybe a sound card (like about 90% (statistics by Stetson&Co.) of people on forums do).

As for cooling.. Yeah there isn't really going to be a difference caused by the form factor.

Your neutered ass can enjoy less comptent power management, less stable power feed and a less capable BIOS.
Athlon 64 3200+ | ASUS M2A-VM | Corsair XMS2 | 3ware 9650SE 4LPML | Seasonic SS-380HB | Antec Solo
Core 2 Quad Q6600 | ASUS P5WDG2-WS Pro | Gigabyte 4850HD Silent | G.Skill 4x1GB | Samsung SLC SSD | Seasonic M12 650 | Antec P180
Core i7-2600K @ 4.3 GHz, 1.30V | ASUS P8P67 Pro | Sparkle GTX 560 Ti | G.Skill Ripjaw X @ 933MHz 9-10-9-24 2T | Crucial C300 128GB | Seasonic X750 Gold | Antec P183

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:01 am

vitaminc wrote:Your neutered ass can enjoy less comptent power management, less stable power feed and a less capable BIOS.
+1 ("might enjoy...")
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

Vicotnik
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1816
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 6:53 am
Location: Sweden

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by Vicotnik » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:04 am

vitaminc wrote:The new Asus P8 motherboard in full ATX has much better power/voltage regulation than mATX boards.
But is that a consequence of the board being ATX, or is it due to something else?
I'm mostly into mini-ITX myself, it's kind of the new mATX.
Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
HTPC: ASRock H81M-ITX | Pentium G3420 | 4GB DDR3 | Intel 535 120GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 11.2W
Gaming: Intel DH77EB | i5-3570K | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB DDR3 | TJ08-E | RM750X
Server: ASRock N3150-ITX | ~30TB | G-360 | Idle ~25W

fumino
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: ontario

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by fumino » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:24 am

vitaminc wrote:less comptent power management, less stable power feed and a less capable BIOS.
diminishing returns. "good enough" is a term most people are familiar with. its value tends to be different for every person.

so moving away from opinions and general "someone on the internet doesnt like the same things i do" feelings...

On Topic:
microatx has one main advantage: typically its cost is lower.

everything else is clearly up for debate.
my foamed mini p180 | corsair cx-400 w/ fan swap | scythe mugen-2 | thermalright hr-05 | unlocked sempron 140 | asrock 880g | 8gb mushkin |vertex 30gb boot | 7TBs storage |

porkchop
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 1:19 am
Location: Australia

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by porkchop » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:31 am

i go for microatx because i like the size and cost.

as for power management, i think it's more about marketing nowadays. i find that lots of matx boards are more efficient than their atx cousins- less features and simpler power design. you don't really need 20 phases unless you're overclocking or something.
as for the bios i wouldn't know the difference. what would matter to me though is fan control, and that seems to vary more between brands and chipsets than motherboard size.

i would buy an atx board if i needed the extra sata ports, pcie slots, fan headers and/or if i wanted to run crossfire or sli.

Jipa
Posts: 167
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:06 am
Location: Tampere, Finland
Contact:

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by Jipa » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:55 am

vitaminc wrote: Your neutered ass can enjoy less comptent power management, less stable power feed and a less capable BIOS.
...None of which really has anything to do with the physical size of the motherboard. Please stick to the facts and drop the personal bs.

You can also get stuff like the Asus Gene-series, but seriously, without knowing the needs of the OP, suggesting/assuiming such a crazy expensive and feature rich is just silly. Normal people need and buy normal motherboards, and on normal motherboards of the same price/product range you just aren't going to see a "neutering difference" between ATX and mATX.

And it's a good point the mITX is the new mATX, proper chipsets and manufacturers are finally making their way to that game, and again, if you are only going to slap a single GPU on the board, why on earth would it have to be 300x244 mm when 170x170 is all the board you'll need.
www.Metku.net & www.AllTheMods.com

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:05 am

Jipa wrote:why on earth would it have to be 300x244 mm when 170x170 is all the board you'll need.
High performances heatsinks don't (usually) fit into such a slipper's box, for example.
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

tim851
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:45 am
Location: 128.0.0.1

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by tim851 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:48 am

goatsandmonkeys wrote:I'm torn between the getting a ATX case and a micro ATX case. Besides being a little less expensive are there airflow or other advantages to a smaller case?
In a mATX case like the Silverstone TJ08 or Antec's NSK3480, the front intake fan is physically closer to the VGA card.
That should be the only advantage in cooling performance.

Other than that, you trade in external bulk for internal restrictions.

goatsandmonkeys
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:32 am
Location: new york

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by goatsandmonkeys » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:52 am

fumino wrote:we dont know what kind of system op is even considering though, just what the pros and cons are with atx vs matx.
My question really had more to do with cases. The mATX boards had more than enough features for me. To be honest there are ITX boards out there with enough features. What was missing was a good quiet ITX case with enough room for a large heatsink and large videocard I have also already made my purchases so everyone should feel free to argue without considering my needs.
fumino wrote:what youre not taking into account is the efficiency of the fans/ their airflow. while aiming for the same temps, and either maintaining the same or lower levels of airflow; in a larger case, the exhaust fans would be wasting some of its capacity on emptying parts of the case that dont need it. same with the intake fans, theyd be pushing air towards places that dont necessarily need it depending on the configuration. in this instance, going with the smaller case is about creating a better airflow path; since that should translate to being able to run the fans at lower speeds to achieve the same performance, or runs with less fans for the same performance.
This is exactly what I was talking about I was curious if it had *much of an effect. I ended up not really wanting to wait for my build and the more I looked into it the define mini isn't much smaller than the define R3. I think the effect would be much more in a much more compact case, but I wanted to use a large heat sink and large video card.

ces
Posts: 3395
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Location: US

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by ces » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:10 am

goatsandmonkeys wrote:What was missing was a good quiet ITX case with enough room for a large heatsink and large videocard...
Now I may be less sensitive to sound than some others, but I believe that if you get good components, all cases are quiet. Cases are no longer a material noise factor if you do a good job selecting SPCR tested and recommended components. And the only difference between "quiet cases" and others are some minor baffling in the large holes connecting the inside to the outside... and some plastic coating on the side panels. But to each his own.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:01 am

goatsandmonkeys wrote:This is exactly what I was talking about I was curious if it had *much of an effect. I ended up not really wanting to wait for my build and the more I looked into it the define mini isn't much smaller than the define R3. I think the effect would be much more in a much more compact case, but I wanted to use a large heat sink and large video card.

As maybe already said by ces, I don't see any difference providing the case is properly engineered and it hosts a suitable setup (it has to be suitable for the smaller enclosure): even if there's a somewhat more straight path between intakes, components and exhaust holes, eventually results may vary just a little between a compact enclosure and a larger one, with reference to both cooling and quietness.
Obvious restrictions apply not only with reference to dimensions but also with thermal limits.
So, unless your setup exceeds one or both those limitation, IME it's just about the same going for the one or the other type.

About the Defini Mini, actually it seems to me a good option: it's a bit too deep to be really cute, but that way it doesn't suffer PSU limitations as more compact enclosure like the Antec NSK3480 does. If you are looking for a smaller but either flexible mATX enclosure, it could worth to give a look to the Silverstone TJ-08E on You Tube. Another option, even if still very deep (more than several ATX design), it's the ingenious Lian-Li PC-A05N (not a very quiet out of the box experience, OTOH, but a workable case). SS and Antec are the bare minimum with reference to dimensions, in order to work with massive heatsinks.
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

wayner
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 190
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 10:46 am
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Re: micro ATX advantage?

Post by wayner » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:44 am

If you want to put some cards into the case, such as tuner cards or video encoders then you are likely better off with a full size ATX mobo as you will have more slots, both PCI and PCIe. If not and your video needs are not excessive then go with the mATX.

Post Reply