Friday, March 31, 2023

Best Micro ATX Motherboard 2021: mATX Motherboards for Your Compact PC

Must read


When you’re picking out the gaming motherboard that will serve as the backbone of your gaming PC, it’s worth thinking about whether or not you need all the extras that come with a full-size ATX motherboard. Unless you’re planning to load up on PCIe add-in cards or do some wild overclocking, you’ll likely find that a Micro ATX motherboard will have everything you need to complete your build while also costing a good deal less than an ATX board.Price isn’t the only benefit of a Micro ATX motherboard. The smaller size also affords you the opportunity to build a more compact gaming PC. This means you can go for a sleeper or a more portable design. If you’ve already got a larger case you’re planning to use, you’ll still likely be able to use a Micro ATX motherboard, as many full ATX cases also support Micro ATX boards.

We’ve picked out a variety of Micro ATX motherboards, giving you options for AMD and Intel processors. You can even find boards with multiple PCIe x16 expansion slots ready for dual-GPU builds, models with PCIe 4.0, and some with truly stunning memory support. From budget builds to high-end rigs, you’ll find a compact motherboard that can do the job here.

TL;DR – These are the Best Micro ATX Motherboards:

1. MSI MPG Z490M Gaming Edge

Best Intel Micro ATX Motherboard

Our Pick

MSI MPG Z490M Gaming Edge

On Amazon

You want to go micro on an Intel-based system? Well, luckily you don’t have to miss out. The MSI MPG Z490M Gaming Edge delivers the premium features you’d expect in a compact size. You’re getting a Z490 chipset with support for several SATA ports and dual M.2 drives. Though this is a mATX board, MSI still managed to fit two full-length PCIe slots with metal reinforcement and support for SLI and Crossfire as well as dual PCIe x1 slots.

When it comes to getting the most out of your system, you want to be sure your CPU has room to run, and the 12+1+1 power system can deliver the juice you need to overclock while the DIMM slots support memory speeds up to 4800MHz. The board also supports advanced connectivity with onboard Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5Gb Ethernet as well as USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports for extra-fast peripheral support. It’s most surprising that all this is under $200.

2. Asus ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming

Best High-End Intel Micro ATX Motherboard

commerce artwork

Asus ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming

On Amazon

Normally, going with a smaller form factor comes with some sacrifices, but the Asus ROG Strix Z490-G Gaming motherboard will help make you forget about those trade-offs. It supports 10th-Gen Intel Core processors and up to four sticks of DDR4 RAM running at 4,600MHz. It also delivers two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (though the second has just four PCIe lanes). You can stock up on high-speed memory to fill the two M.2 slots running at PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds.

There’s plenty to enjoy when it comes to peripheral support as well. You can connect to extra-fast networks thanks to a 2.5Gb/s Ethernet port and Wi-Fi 6, and there’s a huge selection of high-speed USB available through both the rear I/O and internal headers. You also get multiple headers for RGB lighting, and Asus has thrown in a bit of color of its own with lighting zones on the rear I/O shroud.

3. Gigabyte Z490 M Gaming X

Best Midrange Intel Micro ATX Motherboard

commerce artwork

Gigabyte Z490 M Gaming X

On Amazon

Gigabyte can get you the compatibility you need for 10th-Gen Intel Core processor without emptying your wallet, and it has plenty to enjoy even at its more modest price point. You’ll still get support for a heap of memory that can overclock up to 4,400Mhz, and your processor won’t want for volts as Gigabyte didn’t skimp on chokes and capacitors. This motherboard even includes two x16-length PCIe slots, though only one runs with a full 16 lanes. That’s still enough to net you 2-Way Crossfire support. Better still, Gigabyte is prepared for PCIe 4.0 in case Intel releases a CPU that can support it for this chipset and socket.

4. Asus Prime H470M-Plus

Best Budget Intel Micro ATX Motherboard

commerce artwork

Asus Prime H470M-Plus

On Amazon

The Asus Prime H470M-Plus may not be the most dazzling motherboard to look at, but it’ll get the job done when it comes to building a modest gaming PC that runs on the latest Intel Core processors. You’ll be able to pair your CPU with up to four DDR4 sticks running at 2,933MHz, which may not be the fastest but will do fine in most games. This board even goes a considerable way in providing room for add-in components. You get two full length PCIe slots which you can use for 2-Way CrossFireX, and there are another two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. Asus tops that off with dual PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots for speedy SSDs. It all makes for a strong motherboard at a fair price.

5. ASRock X570M Pro 4

Best AMD Micro ATX Motherboard

commerce artwork

ASRock X570M Pro 4

On Amazon

If you’re looking the latest Micro ATX motherboard designed to support AMD’s new Ryzen 3rd Generation CPUs, the ASRock X570M Pro 4 is your best option. This was the first X570 mATX motherboard that released, and it continues to provide excellent value for anyone looking to take fullk advantage of Ryzen 3rd Generation chips in a compact PC.

Good news is the ASRock X570M Pro 4 is very well equipped with two PCIe 4.0 slots for both M.2 SSDs and graphics cards. This motherboard also affords you massive memory overclocking support for speeds up to 4,200MHz.

6. Colorful X570M Gaming Pro V14

Best High-End AMD Micro ATX Motherboard

commerce artwork

Colorful X570M Gaming Pro V14

On Amazon

If you’re after a motherboard that will give your comptact Ryzen rig a more dazzling design, Colorful’s X570M Gaming Pro V14 is the best option. It’s good to go with the latest Ryzen 3000-Series processors, and features plenty of PCIe 4.0 connections to take advantage of the throughput.

You can plug in three expansions cards with its three slots. You can even run dual graphics cards as the PCIe 4.0 x4 slot uses a full x16 slot length. There’s even room for two NVMe SSDs to run on PCIe 4.0 x 4 connections for incredible data transfer rates if you have one of the best SSDs to actually take advantage of that bandwidth. All of that performance is balanced out by style, as this motherboard has as many headers for RGB as it has for fans. Go figure when you’re getting a product from Colorful.

7. MSI MAG B550M Bazooka

Best Mid-Range AMD Micro ATX Motherboard

commerce artwork

MSI MAG B550M Bazooka

On Newegg

If you want to support the latest AMD processors on a slightly more affordable motherboard, you can grab the MSI MAG B550M Bazooka motherboard. You won’t get as many PCIe 4.0 lanes to play with as X570 can offer, but mATX motherboards tend not to be as focused on offering a bunch of expansion slots anyway.

What you get from the MSI MAG B550M Bazooka is a straightforward and compact foundation for your Ryzen rig. It supports four sticks of RAM and will even let you run them at over 4,000MHz. You also get two high-bandwidth slots for PCIe 4.0 devices – one x16 slot for graphics or a large card and another for an M.2 drive. MSI even includes a few headers to support RGB lighting. And, in case you’re wondering, this motherboard will support the new Ryzen 5000 Series processors.

8. ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming 4

Best Budget AMD Micro ATX Motherboard

commerce artwork

ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming 4

On Newegg

Looking to pair a new Ryzen 5000 Series processor with a motherboard that costs less than $100? You can do just that with the ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming 4. This motherboard is built affordably, but won’t leave you lacking much. That B550 chipset ensures you get support for PCIe 4.0 on the x16 slot to support capable add-in cards as well as an M.2 slot with PCIe 4.0 x4 speeds for the fastest SSD support.

Surprisingly, the ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming even has you covered fairly well for extra connections. There’s no shortage of USB ports on the back or headers to front-panel ports. And, with two extra PCIe slots, you can add in extras like a Wi-Fi adapter or an extra-fast networking card.

What’s Next For Gaming Micro ATX Motherboards

Intel recently introduced its LGA1200 socket and is using its Z490 chipset at the premium tier for its modern CPUs, so it may be a little while before you need to worry about the next series of chipsets. And, when Intel does introduce its next chipsets, they might not offer many startling upgrades. As it stands, rumors suggest Intel (and AMD for that matter) may not be ready with DDR5 support until 2022, according to Tweaktown.

With some luck, the next generation of motherboards for Intel processors will support PCIe 4.0 for increased bandwidth to add-in devices, as motherboard manufacturers have been preparing for this. Some existing Intel-based motherboards even feature PCIe 4.0-readiness, even though there aren’t Intel CPUs available to support this.

AMD’s current X570 chipset is getting old, and there will surely be a new chipset to go alongside the next version of Ryzen processors. The newer B550 chipset fills a more value-oriented segment of the market, and as time goes on, we may see more mATX motherboards incorporating the chipset. That could give you more options for building a compact, budget PC without missing out on some of the next-gen speeds of PCIe 4.0. That said, AMD’s Ryzen 4000-series desktop CPUs won’t require new motherboards in many cases, as the new CPUs will work on existing X570- and B550-based motherboards as well as older X470 and B450 boards, AnandTech reports.

What to Look For in a Micro ATX Motherboard

Micro ATX motherboards might be great for saving you a bit of space and being cheaper than full-sized ATX motherboards, but you should know you’re making a few sacrifices. Chiefly these smaller boards often come with fewer PCIe slots—or even just one on certain models. So you should think about how many graphics cards, sound cards, capture cards, and other PCIe cards you want to install when deciding which mATX motherboard is right for you.

The smaller printed circuit board you get with mATX motherboards also means you’re probably going to have fewer M.2 slots for NVMe and SATA SSDs. The good news is most boards of this size have a least two M.2 slots, but don’t expect there to be four or five on some of the most premium ATX parts.

More Expert Tech Roundups

Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark


- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article