- EATX and ATX are two popular motherboard options for building or updating a gaming PC. Each one has benefits and disadvantages, but the real choice between the two comes down to whether or not they are compatible with your machine.
- EATX motherboards are a few inches larger than ATX boards, usually because they have more available ports. While this makes them more desirable if you want, say, greater RAM capacity, more HDDs/SSDs, or additional graphics cards, you need to make sure the board will fit in your case.
- Almost all prebuilt gaming PCs come with an ATX form factor since they are more affordable than EATX boards. As such, EATX boards are a more feasible option for custom builds.
When shopping for computer parts for a gaming computer or custom build, EATX and ATX motherboards are two options on the table. While each type appears similar on the surface, there are some significant differences to keep in mind. So, which should you buy?
The choice of one over the other boils down to the PC you’re building and the intended use case. The wrong motherboard can lead to issues with compatibility and space, so it is essential to have all the information you need. Let’s deep dive into the differences and similarities between EATX and ATX motherboards, looking at their specs, features, benefits and pros and cons. Ultimately, you should have everything you need to pick the perfect motherboard.
EATX vs. ATX Motherboard: Comparison Table
|ATX Motherboards||EATX Motherboards|
|Processor Type||Intel and AMD||Intel and AMD|
|RAM Slots||2 to 4 slots||Up to 8 slots|
|PCI-E Slots||1 to 3 slots||Up to 4 slots|
|I/O Ports||standard||Above average|
|SATA Ports||4 to 6||8+|
|Cooling||Standard fan and AIO headers||More fan and AIO headers|
EATX vs. ATX Motherboard: Key Differences
The most crucial difference between EATX and ATX motherboards is the size. The first thing you’ll notice when looking at an ATX and an EATX motherboard side by side is that the EATX motherboard is substantially larger. Typically, your standard ATX motherboard measures 12 inches by 9.5 inches. In contrast, an EATX motherboard will measure 12 inches by 13 inches.
You will need a specialized case to hold an EATX motherboard. Due to their larger size, EATX motherboards will not fit in a standard case. If you are building an oversized PC, this can be a benefit. But it is something to remember when trying to figure out if your case and motherboard are compatible.
EATX motherboards often come with increased functionality. While ATX motherboards can do everything, your typical computer user needs, EATX motherboards add some additional features for the demanding user.
The most notable increase in functionality is the extra space. With a larger motherboard, your components have more room for maximum airflow. Heat can dissipate quickly, allowing your PC to run cooler and potentially last longer.
You’ll also have more fan headers and AIO liquid cooler headers. Since EATX motherboards are designed for large builds, it is not uncommon to see setups that use multiple liquid coolers. Additionally, EATX motherboards may have more USB headers than your standard ATX board, allowing you to plug in even more peripherals.
The increased space allows you to have more SATA ports for hard drives and SSDs. With more ports, you have the potential to build a massive storage array. If you want to add as many hard drives as possible, an EATX motherboard will offer you more room than an ATX motherboard.
You’ll often notice more RAM slots and PCI-E lanes too. Extra RAM slots let you add even more RAM than your standard ATX motherboard. PCI-E lanes are critical if you want more room for extra graphics cards. More room for GPUs means you can build a truly powerful graphics workstation. Additional graphics cards will improve your workflow significantly if you’re editing high-resolution videos or doing computer-assisted design.
If you want to boost your PC’s performance, some of the best EATX motherboards include room for up to four M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs. While SATA SSDs are fast enough for most uses, NVMe SSDs are significantly faster thanks to having a higher bandwidth interface.
Price is a significant deciding factor when picking a motherboard. When shopping around for motherboards, you’ll notice that EATX motherboards are significantly more expensive than ATX motherboards. This price increase is due to several factors.
Since EATX motherboards are larger and packed with more features, the price tag will almost always be higher than an ATX motherboard. EATX motherboards are often made in lower quantities for a more niche audience. It may surprise you how difficult it is to find EATX motherboards for sale compared to ATX boards. The increased cost is also a factor in their lower popularity.
EATX vs. ATX Motherboard: Overview
In the early days of computers, motherboards were not standardized. Most of the time, they were custom-made for the case they were installed in. Throughout the 1990s, several standard formats emerged, most notably AT, Baby-AT, and LPX.
Fast forward to today, motherboard sizes have been standardized and divided group into categories. Your choice of motherboard form factor depends on the type and size of the computer you are building.
Motherboards have four main form factors: Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, and EATX. The smallest form factor is the Mini-ITX, designed for compact and space-saving PCs. Micro ATX is the next size up and is common in prebuilt gaming computers and smaller custom builds. It is around half the size of a regular ATX motherboard.
What is ATX
The ATX form factor is the most common type of motherboard for most custom builds. If you are building an Intel or Ryzen computer, you’ll probably be looking at any of the wide range of ATX motherboards on the market. They are everywhere.
But how did the ATX motherboard become so commonplace? We can trace the history of the ATX motherboard back to 1995. Intel originally released specifications for a standardized motherboard format to allow widespread compatibility with different CPUs. Through several revisions and updates over the years, we are left with the modern ATX motherboard.
While ATX motherboards will satisfy the vast majority of custom computer builders, the true enthusiast will be on the lookout for a larger motherboard with even more capabilities. That’s where the EATX motherboard comes in.
What is EATX
Almost all prebuilt gaming computers use ATX motherboards. EATX motherboards, on the other hand, are often only seen in high-end enthusiast builds. Due to the massive size of these motherboards, an equally gigantic case is needed to accommodate them. However, the increased space offers numerous benefits.
With so much extra space, EATX motherboards offer more SATA ports, M.2 slots, PCI-E slots, and even RAM slots. All of these extra connections expand your computer’s potential even more.
EATX vs. ATX Motherboard: Must Know Facts
- EATX and ATX motherboards are compatible with the same 24-pin power supplies.
- EATX is basically a larger ATX motherboard with more ports.
- ATX motherboards are cheaper and more popular among gamers.
- EATX motherboards are ideal for workstations due to dual-socket capability and additional RAM slots.
- EATX motherboards are significantly more expensive than ATX motherboards.
EATX vs. ATX Motherboard: Which One Should You Use?
If you’re trying to put together an inexpensive build but still enjoy decent gaming performance, an ATX motherboard is more than good enough. You can plug in your graphics card and extra RAM, and your motherboard performance won’t slow. If you’re building a PC to use as a video editing workstation or sound-production studio, an ATX motherboard will do the job, but a larger EATX motherboard could give you even more potential.
The only downside with an EATX motherboard is the price tag. Even so, with a larger format motherboard like, you get more features that you cannot get with a smaller format. So, if you’re trying to build an all-out maximum-performance gaming computer, an EATX motherboard should be on your parts list.
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