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micro atx - flex atx?

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ninthebin

Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2002
Location
Liverpool, UK
is there a big difference between these two form factors in motherboards?

its just I thought that this motherboard I was working with was micro atx but on the manu. website it turned out to be flex atx, both seem as small as each other so is it more to do with the layout of the board?
 

Ugmore Baggage

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
I think microATX may have the processor soldered on. I'm pretty sure some do.

Micro is smaller. There are precious few micro ATX cases, I gather part of the fun is making your own.
 

Captain Slug

Helpful Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2001
Location
Asteroid B-612
Micro ATX is designed for smaller computers and generally have more onboard features than regular ATX boards (since there are only 4 expansion slots). The lack of variety in chipset options can be a real pain, but there are FAR more options with Micro ATX than there are for Flex ATX. It's name is also abbreviated as mATX quite frequently.

mATX Maximum outer dimensions: 244mm x 244mm

Flex ATX boards are generally made as ALL-IN-ONE boards to allow a system to be built cheaply. This does however limit their ability to upgrade and their chipset options are very limited. They aren't very popular and not widely available. They are often labelled as uATX boards for some stupid reason.
They're the same length as Micro ATX boards and have space for 4 expansion slots. But most have to remove one of them to make room on the PCB for onboard features
Some Micro ATX boards have similar measurements, but have one different stand-off location that can make installation a booger if you buy a Flex ATX case and a micro ATX board that's SUPPOSED to fit.
Flex ATX Maximum outer dimensions: 244mm x 190mm
Ugmore Baggage said:
I think microATX may have the processor soldered on. I'm pretty sure some do./B]

You're confused and are referring to Mini-ITX which is a form factor adapted from earlier embedded solutions.

Mini-ITX boards are 170mm x 170mm and the boards that match the white paper specifications only have ONE expansion slot. This require ALL features to be integrated into the motherboard.
This is a fledgling technology and is just starting to take off. THe most popular models are incapable of playing 3D games because they have a non-removable low-power consumption VIA C3 processor and onboard graphics.
Socket 370 options are finally arriving and will allow this form factor to be more flexible for future applications. But where usability is concerned, these will still be good for ANYTHING other than games for a number of reasons...

a) the smaller form factor leaves ALOT less room for cooling. This prevents faster processors and graphics chips from being used safely.
b) reductions in case size lead to lower and lower available power. This prevents the fastest CPUs from using.
c) in such tight spaces, stronger cooler would be required for anything faster than 1.4ghz. SInce you have less space, smaller fans would be used. Making the machine extremely annoying to be around.
d) the form factor wasn't designed with games in mind anyways. It was designed for semi-mobile, semi-upgradable, and low-noise general use PCs.
e) it's kind of hard to cram a brand new and extremely fast video card into a space too small for it.

Here's a handy dandy size chart I made for everyone...
ff.jpg
 
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Tbird man

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2001
Location
Boone, NC a.k.a THE BOONIES
amd if you wan a really small computer there is EBX. not any good for performance, but the whole thing is the size of a 3.5" harddrive. they also make 5.25" versions with PCI slots these are ment for embeaded systems and are costly, but you could combine them with a custom case and a small 5" LCD and you have a portable PC
 

Captain Slug

Helpful Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2001
Location
Asteroid B-612
Tbird man said:
amd if you wan a really small computer there is EBX. not any good for performance, but the whole thing is the size of a 3.5" harddrive. they also make 5.25" versions with PCI slots these are ment for embeaded systems and are costly, but you could combine them with a custom case and a small 5" LCD and you have a portable PC

Well yeah... And then there's the Tiqit machine that's about the size of two matchboxes.
Current Socket 370 ITX offerings are getting as small as a 5.25" drive. Via C3 boxes with only external drives are getting as small as Hardback books (like and encyclopedia volume).