Do you prefer mATX boards...or regular size mobo?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by sweater, Feb 2, 2014.

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  1. sweater

    sweater Registered Member

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    My brod has mATX and I think he prefers it coz of its size and price. But one of my fried pc technician says that regular size mobo are much better coz mATX could easily got hot coz it's so small and cramp.

    What's your view on this?
     
  2. CrusherW9

    CrusherW9 Registered Member

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    It depends on what you need. Generally, ATX boards have more PCI/e slots, sata ports, and usb ports. For the heat argument, size is only a factor if the air isn't circulating. That said, you can generally fit more fans on a larger case.
     
  3. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    My view is that person is not really a PC technician, or your friend misunderstood him.

    As Crusher properly implied, cooling is the responsibility of the case, not the motherboard.

    As Crusher also correctly noted, the main difference between a µATX board and full ATX board is the number of expansion slots, maybe RAM slots, and other I/O ports. Otherwise, a µATX board supports the same CPUs, and graphics cards as ATX boards and those are the primary heat generators in a system.

    I use lots of µATX boards but I general put them in mid-tower ATX cases because mid size cases typically offer lots of case fan support, plus I can insert my hands for maintenance and cleaning and still see what I am doing.
     
  4. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    I prefer ATX over mATX because ATX has more PCI/PCIe slots.

    However, I never use enough of the PCI/PCIe slots to justify an ATX motherboard over a mATX motherboard.

    As long as a mATX motherboard has at least 6 SATAIII connectors and at least two PCIe-X1 connectors, it should be adequate for my uses.
     
  5. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

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    Well, I used to say I prefer full-sized boards because they have more rear USB ports. mATX boards have generally catered to machines with modest graphical needs, such as HTPCs and non-gaming systems. Not that you can't install a video card anyway, but those that want one tend to get a full-sized board. So, mATX boards have video ports taking up room that could have gone to more USB ports.

    However, recent chipsets such as Ivy Bridge are mandating the video ports anyway, even on full-sized boards. Although, I don't know if you lose some front-panel headers due to less real estate on the mATX board or not.

    I still think I'd lean towards a full-sized board for the expansion slots. Although a video card is all I'd have at first, I'd then be unable to add something that comes along. I'm trending towards using a PC longer than I did in the past, making it more likely I'll want to add something down the line. For instance, if I were buying today I'd want the ability to add a card for USB 3.1 at some point.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    It "sounds" like good logic, but I don't think it is anymore and the reason why is miniaturization. Even with µATX boards, miniaturization has allowed µATX boards to be fully populated with all sorts of options.

    But also, note a full ATX board may have 6 PCIe slots. But what is that "something that comes along" that will need PCIe? Not likely much beyond (maybe) an enhanced sound card - maybe a tuner card.

    Otherwise, it is highly likely anything you might want to add will connect via USB or eSATA.

    Note the Gigabyte GA-B85M-HD3 µATX motherboard has 3 PCIe and 1 PCI slot, plus 6 USB ports. It comes with decent 8 channels of audio with front and back and a 3rd audio out.

    What else does the average user need?
     
  7. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

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    Well, I didn't realize they had that many slots. It seems that in the past, the mATX boards I looked at only had 3 slots, and since the video card takes up 2 you'd be left with nothing. Maybe I'm misremembering though.

    As for what could come along, I was thinking of USB 3.1 or a new SATA standard. Not that it would be necessary to use it, but I'd like to have the option.
     
  8. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    No. As I said miniaturization of components, and integrated of many components in smaller ICs has freed up lots of motherboard real-estate for extras that once fit only on larger boards.

    For example, all motherboards used to have memory manager devices mounted on the board. Today, those memory manager are integrated in the CPUs.

    Older boards used to support a large floppy connector and 2 very large EIDE (PATA) connectors, now you might get 1 EIDE - more likely just SATA.

    When it comes to the hardware industry, NEVER assume what was still is.
     
  9. CrusherW9

    CrusherW9 Registered Member

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    - Better sound card (though usb DAC's are the way to go)
    - Raid card
    - More Sata/usb/etc ports
    - More graphics cards
    - Dedicated gpu miner
    - TV tuner
    - Extra nic

    That's all the uses I can think of.
     
  10. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Not one of those is for the "average" user.
    • Better sound? Today's integrated sound is designed to fit in nicely with home theater PCs where just the front right speaker (with no built-in amps) cost several times more than even a decent 5.1 surround sound computer speaker system (that is, 6 speakers with amps).
    • More SATA? That board has 6 already. The average user has 1, maybe 2 storage (HD or SSD) drives and 1 optical.
    • More USB ports? Again, this board has 6 and you can easily add hubs.
    • More graphics cards? Most already support 2 monitors and that is one more monitor than the average user already uses.
    • Dedicated GPU miner? Yeah, right. :(
    • Tuner card? Why? You can stream TV already. And besides that, the "average" user does not watch TV on their computers.
    • Extra NIC? The average user only connects to one network.
    So, guess again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  11. Joxx

    Joxx Registered Member

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    The OP never mentioned the average user

    Better sound card, yes, the integrated sound still has a lot of ground to cover.

    If those monitors are 2560x1440/1600 I doubt one card will manage the amount of pixels.
     
  12. CrusherW9

    CrusherW9 Registered Member

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    Exactly. The average user was never mentioned. The differences in general were and the question of use for extra pci/e slots came up.
     
  13. Austerity

    Austerity Registered Member

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    Full size ATX or bust. I don't see the point in the smaller board, and all my cases are gargantuan full towers.
     
  14. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    ...except in the specifically quoted portion of your post. I'm truly at a loss on how that could be missed more than once.

    Anyhow, I don't have a preference for any board, whatever gets the job done for the best value would be best.
     
  15. CrusherW9

    CrusherW9 Registered Member

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    That was Bill talking about "the average user", not the OP. I'll admit that responding to the uses for pci/e slots by quoting that may have conveyed the wrong idea.
     
  16. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    In the past I liked full-sized boards from the Apple II era through the Pentium 4 era. They were bold, powerful, they made a statement! Big hardware is fine for classic computing and experimenting and nostalgic reminiscing.

    More recently with the dawn of good integrated graphics and higher system integration in Haswell chips, I'm tending to like the smaller boards better. Low power, elegant, fanless computing is the thing today.

    I used to be into overclocking and system building and chasing 50MHz speed bumps. You know, the lighted case types.. But everyone outgrows that sooner or later. You get tired of messing with settings and the quest becomes a search for stability instead of speed. Soon you're decreasing your performance back to normal just to get an operable system.

    So, for me, small and tight and elegant are the buzzwords of the day! And I consider myself a technically savvy user less and less these days as I expect (and just want) my hardware to become more transparent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  17. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    here is my take: i am a pc tech i own a custom shop and build some pretty crazy and ridiculous systems many times. i also handle warranty cliams for many brands here in my area. we build pretty much anything the client wants including even custom hand welded chassis and custom cooling setups. for me it comes down to size and features. nothing more. one is not at all better then the other unless one suits your needs better. simple as that. we go through hundreds of matx because thats what we use for most of our standard builds for clients we try to use a slightly smaller case that still allows for good airflow. and we use the full atx mostly for the higher end custom builds which use either a custom water cooling setup or require a higher end crossfire type setup and allow for higher overclocks. many matx boards dont have the best overclocking compared to their full atx counterparts. we almost never have a issue with either one.

    so look at the size first imo then look at the features of them. but overall for every day use one is not better then the other.
     
  18. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Not so! At least if you stay away from the very low-end entry level motherboards. He have to remember, these are digital devices, not analog. All they need do is pass the 1s and 0s along.

    Sorry, but that is a silly statement. "IFs" don't make the rule. How many "average" users have monitors that support 2560/1440?
    Also silly. Why? Because you are trying to use "EXTREME" examples to set a standard and that is simply silly. The OP never mentioned average, but the OP's never mentioned "EXTREME" cases either and his post does not suggest anything extreme.
     
  19. CrusherW9

    CrusherW9 Registered Member

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    Right, but they aren't digital on all the 3.5mm ports. Somewhere there's a digital to analog conversion going on.
    The Apple Thunderbolt display is fairly popular and it is 1440p.
    I personally don't see using pcie slots for more than a single GPU as something extreme.
     
  20. Kirk Reynolds

    Kirk Reynolds Registered Member

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    I wouldn't think the average user would be streaming the audio to a receiver or external DAC, though.

    Actually I don't know what kind of setup the average user would have. Are we talking about average PC user or average user that has a custom or self-built machine?
     
  21. Joxx

    Joxx Registered Member

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    Since we're talking about self-built machines I think
    we can leave the average user out of the equation.

    To those who advocate the qualities of built in sound
    I only say you've never heard what this produces.
    Probably not even this:rolleyes:
     
  22. Kirk Reynolds

    Kirk Reynolds Registered Member

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    Don't forget the DSP. Nowadays with games you need something that will downmix multi-channel to virtual surround if you're using headphones, like CMSS-3D Headphone, SBX studio,Dolby Headphone, etc., otherwise you'll have simple stereo panning with no sense of what's in front or behind you. The same goes for a 2/2.1 speaker setup if you want to have virtual surround, in which case you would use something like CMSS-3D virtual stereo expand or Dolby Virtual Speaker.

    Onboard sound like Realtek or VIA usually have none of that. If you're using headphones or 2/2.1, then you have to set Windows config speaker to 2 channel, otherwise you'll be missing audio from the other channels. With cards that use a DSP like mentioned above, you can set the Windows speaker config to 5.1/7.1 and let it downmix those channels to give you a spatialized virtual surround field.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  23. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Come on, Crusher. That's just silly!

    How is that different from a card? It is not. You connect the same 3.5mm speaker connections whether using integrated or a card.

    And of course there is digital to analog conversion going on. Sound is analog!

    Guess where integrated sound interfaces with your motherboard? The PCIe bus (the bus does not need a "slot").

    Digital to analog conversion happens in the card (integrated or add-in), a separate stereo or HT amplifier, or in the speaker's "integrated" electronics.

    Note you are suggesting if the DAC is part of an integrated solution, then it must be of lousy quality. And you are implying that "all" integrated (on motherboards, anyway) is inferior to "all" cards because it converts to analog on the motherboard instead of in a $15 card's DAC! Or in a $80 speaker's "integrated" electronics.

    You guys are using extreme ("all") cases and exceptions ("The Apple Thunderbolt display" - which hardly represent average), to prove your point. We can show exceptions and extremes to disprove or prove anything - it does not substantiate the fact when talking about the average user - and that is what we talking about.

    And note I said, "stay away from the very low-end entry level motherboards". If you want to integrate a decent µATX system into a decent HT as a PVR or Blu-ray player and enjoy high-fidelity, HD quality audio (assuming quality amplification and speakers), then you can be sure the integrated audio on a decent µATX board will serve you fine.

    If you will be editing/mixing music or recording live music, you will need a decent card.
    No! There is nothing in the OP's one and only post to suggest he or his "brod" are anything but "average" users - which are 90% of computer users - folks who believe computers are just another communications/information "appliance" in the house that is just supposed to work.

    And if you really want to talk about self-built machines, we certainly can because the "average self-builder" does NOT add a card. Why? (1)Because virtually all motherboards support integrated sound. (2) Most users, if listening to music, do so for background - not serious listening and (3) MOST IMPORTANTLY and contrary to what many here seem to believe, high-end "self-powered" computer speakers do not reproduce "high-end" quality sound!

    :doubt:

    So they can do what? Listen to compressed/decompressed audio on Youtube over self-powered computer speakers! LOL Let's be real people!

    Newegg's most expensive 5.1 surround sound system (which includes 6 speakers plus the amplifiers to power them) is the $583 Logitech Z-906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System.

    Who spends nearly $600 on computer speakers? Not many. But what do they get for $600? "High fidelity"? Not hardly! Loud? Probably. But loud is not a "sound quality".

    To paraphrase Joxx, to those who advocate the qualities of computer sound, I only say you don't know quality sound. :ouch:

    I've been into computer hardware since the mid 70s - but my first love was audio reproduction hardware and my first "real" set of "high-end" "stereo" AR-3a speakers set me back more than those Logitechs - a full two months pay!

    ***
    For sure, the BEST audio comes out of the BEST electronics when pushing the best speakers. So for sure, for discerning listening, you get the best audio reproduction from the best audio solution and for computers that is in the high-end cards.

    If you use your computer speakers for "serious" music listening (not movies, just music), AND you have the finest set of speakers you cannot really afford, then get a ""high-end" sound card. Otherwise, you spend the vast majority of your focus on your monitors, not your speakers.
     
  24. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    i am an exception to that rule. my speakers are hand made by me and use ring tweeters, scan speak and morel drivers in a custom voight pipe enclosure i built for the front channels and 2 smaller hand built dipole's for the rear's and a 12" car audio image dynamics idq12 (original style sub from when eric owned the company) again in a custom enclosure ported and tuned for the room specifically using a full mic and rta setup. the amps for the speakers are also built by hand by me they are tube amps. the amp for the sub is also a hand built full range class d. the enclosures are made of baltic birch 17 ply and veneered with a cherry on the outside (this is my home system in my office not the living room). i also run our full office audio system from another computer that controls the volume and switching for the 14 offices we have and the front waiting area as well as stock rooms.

    i know not everyone will go to this extent but there are those of us who will. i use a separate da converter though and procc'ing outside of the sound card. i used to run a car stereo shop and we did full home setups as well. so i do have more backround to do this stuff then the average pc user but those of us like this are out there but not the average at all. most of my audio is in flac / lossless or comes off the discs directly (there are 4 drives in this system as well as a standalone modded transport to run off the 12v from the pc)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  25. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

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    HDMI is the way to go for sound nowadays, and that doesn't use a sound card OR the onboard audio.
     
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