Are ATX Motherboards Good for Gaming?

ATX motherboards are perhaps the most common form factor of motherboards and also the one that gamers prefer the most. But are ATX motherboards good for gaming in the first place?

There are three main factors to consider here: expandability, value for money and performance. ATX motherboards are great for gamers who prefer expandability and value for money. However, ATX motherboards, like the rest of the form factors, do not have any direct affect on the performance of the games.

There is also a fourth, but a less common factor: aesthetics. ATX motherboards generally have the best looks particularly if you plan to have a full tower PC case for your gaming rig.

In the following text I will talk about motherboard form factors in general and about why ATX motherboards are good for gamers in particular.

ATX and Motherboard Form Factors

ATX is one of many standard form factors that define the physical dimensions of a motherboard.

ATX motherboards are considered among the larger motherboards and are intended for those who are looking for greater expandability in the form of slots and ports.

There are four major motherboard form factors:

  1. E-ATX, AKA extended – 12 inches x 13 inches
  2. ATX, aka Standard ATX – 12 inches x 9.6 inches – The topic of this article
  3. mATX aka Micro ATX  – 9.6 inches x 9.6 inches
  4. Mini ITX – 6.7 inches x 6.7 inches
motherboard form factor comparison
Comparing different motherboard form factors. Source: Wikimedia.

All of these form factors have their merits and demerits.

E-ATX Motherboards

E-ATX motherboards are rare and the most expensive. They are generally intended for workstation grade PCs. Majority of the average users or gamers have no use for E-ATX motherboards.

ATX Motherboards

ASUS Prime Z690-P D4 ATX
ASUS Prime Z690-P D4 ATX motherboard. Source: Newegg

ATX or Standard ATX motherboards are the most common motherboards. Taking the same specs into consideration (i.e Chipset, VRMs, Slots etc.) ATX motherboards are cheaper than Mini-ITX and E-ATX motherboards.

Micro ATX Motherboards

Micro ATX are the most economical motherboards and a form factor that many gamers on a budget prefer. These motherboards have sufficient PCIe slots (2 – 3), sufficient number of SATA slots and can be found with premium chipsets and VRM phase power design.

As such, Micro ATX motherboards do give Standard ATX motherboards a run for their money because gamers on a tight budget can maximize their budget for graphics card instead.

Mini-ITX Motherboards

ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Mini ITX motherboard with ddr5 support
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi Mini ITX motherboard. Source: Newegg

Taking same specs into consideration, Mini ITX motherboards are the most expensive and they are also the least expandable. They find their use on portable gaming rigs.

The following table explains different form factors, their purpose and their dimensions.

Form FactorDimensionsPurposeRemarksNo. PCIe Slots
ATX
(aka Full-ATX
Standard ATX)
12 x 9.6 inches
305 x 244 mm
Commercial- For Gamers and Professional
- Fairly common
- Best expansion capability for commercial purpose
2-3 x16
2-3 x1
Micro ATX
(aka mATX)
9.6 x 9.6 inches
244 x 244 mm
Commercial- Feature affordable motherboards
- Moderate expansion capacity
1-2 x16
1-2 x1
Mini ITX6.7 x 6.7 inches
170 x 170 mm
Commercial- Smallest motherboards or PC
- Minimal expansion capacity
- Expensive due to their compact design
1 x16
Extended ATX
(aka E-ATX)
12 x 13 inches
305 x 330 mm
Workstation- Intended for workstation builds
- Expensive and compatible only with specialized workstation CPUs.
4-7 x16

So Are ATX Motherboards Good for Gaming?

Whether ATX motherboards are good for gaming or not primarily depends upon your needs as well as on your budget.

It should be noted, however, that the form factor of the motherboard has NO direct relation to the performance of the game bringing me to the first point.

1. ATX Motherboards or Other Form Factors Does Not Affect Gaming Performance

Motherboards generally do not affect the gaming performance at all, let alone their form factors. 

The two main components that affect the performance including the quality and the frame rate on games are the CPU and the Graphics Cards – the latter being the most important.

SSDs can also help in delivering a good gaming experience particularly when it comes to seamless transition between scenes.  But motherboards unfortunately have almost no direct connection to the gaming performance.

They do, however, have an indirect connection to your overall gaming experience. For starters, good motherboards with premium chipsets such as Intel Z or AMD X series chipsets can offer great overclocking capability as well as powerful VRMs for supporting the high overclocks.

motherboard vrms labelled box phase power design w
The higher the number of VRMs and the more premium their quality is the better would be overclocking control on your motherboard.

But more premium chipset and better quality of VRMs are not just limited to ATX motherboards. These features can be found on micro ATX as well as on mini ITX motherboards as well.

The only benefit is that premium VRMs and a better phase power design is MORE common on ATX motherboards than on rest of the form factors. 

motherboard power stages specifications
There are high chances of you finding a better phase power design on ATX motherboards (left) as compared on Mini ITX motherboards (Right) – and on mATX motherboards too.

Hence as a gamer who likes overclocking, you will naturally be inclined to getting an ATX motherboard.

2. Expandability – ATX Motherboards Offer a High Number of Ports and Slots

Whether it is a high number of PCIe slots, M.2 slots, SATA ports, USB headers or Chassis FAN headers you are looking for, ATX motherboards tend to offer the highest in a given price category.

Taking PCIe slots into consideration – the primary slots for adding expansion cards – ATX motherboards tend to offer the most for commercial builds. 

Hence, if you plan to have multiple graphics cards and other expansion cards such as WiFi card, M.2 expansion card etc. on your PC, you will find the ATX motherboard more compelling.

3. Value for Money 

While ATX motherboards are NOT the cheapest (that title belongs to mATX motherboards), they tend to offer a great value for money when taking into consideration their overall features, their size and if you compare them to mini ITX motherboards.

Motherboards are generally divided into price categories depending upon what chipset and features they have.

If you take the bottom range into consideration you can find ATX motherboards in the range of $130-$190.

4. Aesthetics – Great for Building Gaming Rigs

Are ATX motherboards good for gaming
ATX motherboards are often considered for aesthetically appealing PC builds

One of the greatest advantage of having an ATX motherboard for gamers is its aesthetics. If you are an enthusiast, aesthetics would matter to you – and plus they do give you some bragging rights.

Basically, PC cases are designed for certain motherboard sizes. The following table explains the different sizes of the PC cases.

Case TypeMotherboard
Size Supported
Purpose
Small Form FactorMini-ITXCompact PC
Mini TowerMicro ATX
Mini ITX
Great for Office
Home Use
Mid TowerATX
Micro ATX
Mini ITX
Standard Gaming PC
Standard designing/editing PC
Full TowerEATX
ATX
Micro ATX
Mini ITX
Gamers
Servers
Professionals
Workstation

If you plan to get a Full Tower, in particular, even a Mid Tower PC case for your gaming build, then an ATX motherboard is generally the preferred size.

ATX motherboards not only offer a higher number of Chassis Fan headers for connecting more fans for a better airflow, they also offer a higher number of RGB headers for connecting LED lights for aesthetics.

But at the end of the day, aesthetics is a subjective matter and it is not necessary that ATX size may appeal to you.

Final Words

Given the expansion options, value for money compared to other form factors, and aesthetics to some extent, ATX motherboards are good for gaming.

However, form factor of a motherboard has no connection to the performance of the games. 

Photo of author

Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101 and an expert in the computer peripheral industry with over two decades of experience. He has worked as a consultant for major companies and has a deep understanding of the inner workings of computer peripherals. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and has served as a product manager and technical consultant. He is passionate about testing and evaluating the latest products to provide readers with reliable information.

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