EATX vs ATX – the longstanding debate that has been going on since the birth of computer architecture in the 1980s. There are many topics to discuss when it comes to motherboards, but ATX vs EATX is one of the most contentious. Especially if you’re an avid computer gamer, you may find yourself having this discussion with your friends and colleagues about motherboard compatibility.
While motherboard manufacturers may seem like they’re trying to confuse you, the truth is that they have a set of goals that they’re aiming for with every single release. Featuring a major difference between size, layout, connectivity, power supply, and cooling, the EATX vs ATX motherboards are designed with specific intentions that you should be well aware of. Check out the differences and decide for yourself if an EATX or ATX motherboard is right for you.
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EATX vs ATX
Building a new PC or upgrading your old PC? Well, if you’re in the market for a new motherboard, you’re in luck! There are plenty of motherboards to choose from out there, boasting specifications for a variety of performance, price, and functionality levels.
Most motherboards are tailored to specific needs and applications, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t made for more. Some motherboards are more than just a pretty face; they’re powerful enough to support the beefiest of processors and the most demanding of graphics cards. Additionally, there are even motherboards made specifically for gaming (e.g., ATX and EATX). So, now that you’ve gotten your budget all sorted out, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between these motherboards and which one is the best for you. Well, we’re here to help you with that. In the following EATX vs ATX comparison guide, we will uncover the major differences between the ATX and EATX motherboards and what they offer you as a result. Best of luck with your new build!
Extended ATX or EATX is the latest form of the standard ATX motherboard. Designed to allow for greater expansion possibilities, EATX comes in a wider size and with more connectors and ports than its predecessor. EATX also has a new power supply connector and extra motherboard standoffs.
With dimensions of 30 cm by 24.4 cm, EATX is much wider than ATX. This is because of the additional mounting holes, allowing for up to ten more connection sockets and an additional processor power connector. In order to support this larger size, the length of EATX motherboards has also been extended, with a total length of 30 cm. These new mounting holes allow for more drive bays, which gives users the option to run outboard hard drives or other expansion cards.
Aside from the obvious increase in size, EATX motherboards have also been enhanced with a few other significant features. The most noticeable change would be multiple lanes for data transfer, from the older single lanes to an array of at least four lanes, for increased bandwidth. EATX motherboards also have a couple of extra voltage regulators in order to provide more stable power for overclocking purposes.
ATX – An Old Standard
The original ATX dates back to 1995 and stands for “Advanced Technology eXtended.” Their standard size is 244 mm in width and 305 mm in height. Intel develops it as a logical board configuration specification. It is something that was created to standardize the way computer parts would fit together so that if you bought a motherboard, you would know that it would fit in a standard case and that the other parts would not fit properly.
If you have already had a standard desktop PC or tower, then you have probably got an ATX motherboard. For a while, the trend has been towards small cases, and that’s where Micro-ATX and Mini ITX sizes come in. These motherboards are designed for smaller enclosures and adapt to low power consumption parts for those who want something where size and quiet operation, with low heat dissipation, are a priority.
EATX takes measurements in the other direction and is larger than the standard ATX. The question is, does the bigger mean better?
EATX vs ATX – Size & Functionality
If you’re buying a ready-made computer, your primary consideration will be to make sure that there is space under your desk or beside your monitor for the computer. You don’t need to care too much about anything else unless you want to future-proof your machine by making sure that it will be able to take full-sized graphics cards, extra memory, or additional hard drives or SSDs.
If you are building a machine, you will need to make sure that the case you purchase can accept the motherboard you plan to put into it and that the motherboard has sufficient PCI-E ports, SATA ports, and anything else that you might require. Going down from ATX to a smaller format means that you will likely have to give up some functionality. EATX, on the other hand, tends to have more features.
Standard ATX motherboards will usually have:
- 2 to 3 PCI-E x16 ports
- 3 PCI-E x1 ports
- Onboard sound and, in many cases, onboard video as well
- 4 RAM slots
EATX boards, being significantly bigger and costlier, will usually have four (sometimes more) PCI-E slots. This is particularly important if you are planning on using a very powerful graphics card that takes up two PCI-E slots because it means that you can still use the remaining slots for a super-fast PCI-E SSD or other additional upgrades. The extra space on the board means that you can often enjoy the benefit of more USB slots and more additional features.
EATX vs ATX – Price & Performance
For the most part, the price difference isn’t too noticeable between boards with comparable feature sets, but you may pay more for a board with extra features like integrated WiFi support or dual NVME M.2 slots.
The real difference is in performance. While stock boards should perform comparably regardless of size, people who are interested in overclocking will likely find that an EATX board can handle overclocking better than the smaller counterparts. This isn’t so much due to the inferiority of the parts used in smaller boards. Really, a smaller board is a marvel of engineering in a lot of ways.
The thing that sets boards apart is the heat dissipation, and it could be argued that it is often not the board that is the problem but the case that the board is in. When you overclock, the bus and the processor run hotter. Smaller boards have less surface area to release heat, which means that it may be harder to get the machine running stable, especially in a small case where you are not likely to have a lot of fans and almost certainly won’t have the luxury of water cooling.
EATX boards are designed to go into large cases that can have more sophisticated cooling systems.
Standard ATX boards will go into standard cases and tend to offer a good compromise, being big enough, feature-packed enough, and flexible enough to be used as a high-performance machine and overclocked if necessary. Go smaller than that, and you are entering the realms where overclocking becomes less wise.
Which Should You Buy?
If you are making a purchasing decision, compare the feature set of each board side by side, and if possible, look at photographs of the boards. There is little point in saying, “I just need an ATX board; it has enough ports” if one of the PCI-E ports will be rendered useless for you by a dual-width graphics card. It could be that you do need the extra ports on an EATX board. Make sure that your case has the appropriate mountings for the motherboard that you decide to buy, and make sure that your power supply is good enough to run the motherboard and all of the cards and drives, as well as all of the fans attached to the case.
Remember that PSUs will lose a bit of their output over time, so you may want a slightly higher wattage than you think you need as a buffer. A PSU with at least four 12v rails will give you the stability that you need and prevent crashes in demanding games and other applications. It pays to invest in a top-quality PSU for your machine.
I hope this EATX vs ATX would have been helpful to you. If you have any questions or need our assistance in deciding the best motherboard for your system, please share your question in the comment section.
Is EATX Better Than ATX
In the majority of situations, EATX motherboards are better than ATX motherboards. Although EATX doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best, it’s much larger and thus more powerful. Boasting more mounting holes and space for more expansion cards, EATX motherboards are better suited for high-end usage and activities, like 3D rendering and other professional uses.
What Is the Difference Between ATX and EATX
ATX is the older version of the EATX motherboard, with dimensions of 30 cm by 24.4 cm. EATX has a larger size, length, and width featuring greater connectivity and the ability to support more power connectors, mounting points, and other expansion cards critical for high-end use.
Will An EATX Fit In ATX Case
No, an EATX motherboard won’t fit in an ATX case. However, an ATX motherboard will fit in an EATX case. If you want to build a new EATX rig, you’ll need to get a new case with the right layout and sufficient room to support the components.