Are you looking for the best Mini ITX Motherboards so this article is for you? In the times of PC hardware and system-building, many tech enthusiasts are dropping the “bigger is better” adage for smaller systems and more compact hardware.
Instead of trying to create the most essential and flawed system around, many have instead opted to ascertain how powerful of a system they might put inside a little form-factor case. Of course, with the increase in popularity of those smaller systems, more compact hardware options are arising.
However, you’ll get to choose (aside from your processor) if you’re building a little form-factor PC, your case, and your motherboard. you’ll inspect our picks for the highest mini-ITX cases here, but after you select your topic, you’ll want to start out trying to find a mini-ITX motherboard to travel alongside it. So, during this guide, we’re getting to list a number of the simplest mini-ITX motherboards currently available for both Intel and AMD-based systems at various price points and chipsets.
A Quick check out the Best Mini ITX Motherboards
While we’ve listed seven of the highest mini-ITX motherboard options during this guide, we’ve picked out four of them because of four different categories. Below may be a quick-look table that showcases our four selections for the simplest Z370 mini-ITX motherboard, the simplest X470 mini-ITX motherboard, the simplest affordable mini-ITX motherboard for Intel-based systems, and therefore the best inexpensive mini-ITX motherboard for AMD-based systems.
1- ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I
If you’re planning on building a high-end Coffee Lake gaming computer and you would like to possess the choice to overclock your processor, then perhaps your best option is that the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I. At slightly below $200, the Z370-I is currently the foremost expensive Coffee Lake mini-ITX motherboard available.
The Z370-I features dual M.2 ports (the slots have a heatsink), USB 3.1, ASUS’s Aura Sync RGB lighting (and RGB headers), and support for up to 32GB of DDR4 memory with a clock rate potential of as high as 4333MHz after overclocking. It also comes with many ASUS-specific features and settings, including 5-Way Optimization and FanXpert 4.
The Z370-I also comes with a dual-band 802.11AC WiFi antenna extension for improved connectivity if you prefer to use the built-in wireless adapter. It’s three separate 4-pin PWN fan headers also.
Ultimately, if you’ve got a bloated budget and are trying to find the simplest mini-ITX motherboard to create a small-form-factor Intel-based system, then the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I is perhaps your best choice.
2- ASUS ROG Strix X470-I
For our top X470 motherboard, we’ve again chosen ASUS ROG Strixwift -I option. The ASUS ROG Strix X470-I may be a pretty similar offering to their Coffee Lake variant listed above. And, if it looks like we’re playing favorites, the truth is that the ROG Strix X470-I is the sole ultra-high-end X470 mini-ITX motherboard available.
For features, the X470-I comes with an equivalent dual M.2 slot and heatsink that’s found on the Z370-I. It also comes with ASUS’ Aura Sync RGB lighting and RGB headers, and it comes with an equivalent add-on WiFi antenna.
The X470-I can delay a maximum of 32GB of DDR4 memory, it features 8-channel HD audio, and it comes with ASUS’ 5-Way Optimization, Auto-Tuning, and FanXpert 4 overclocking settings. The motherboard also comes with a pre-mounted I/O shield, which is good because you won’t need to waste time installing it.
Overall, a bit like ASUS’ Z370-I is that the best high-end mini-ITX motherboard for Coffee Lake-based systems, the ASUS ROG Strix X470-I is that the best mini-ITX motherboard for builds which will feature a 2nd generation Ryzen processor.
3- MSI H310I PRO
While mini-ITX-compatible components are available at a premium, that doesn’t mean that budget-oriented builders can’t build a small-form-factor system. Fortunately, if you’re willing to travel with an Intel-based system, you’ll land yourself a top-quality mini-ITX motherboard for under $100. The MSI H310I Pro comes in at slightly below $80 and can offer you everything you would like to create a stable mini-ITX system.
The H310I Pro comes with support for up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, an M.2 slot that you can use to put in an NVME SSD, MSI’s storage-performance-boosting feature X-boost, and a steel-coated PCI-e lane to support more massive graphics cards.
However, it should be noted that the H310 chipset is pretty much stripped down. It doesn’t offer support for dual-channel memory configurations, and it doesn’t accompany USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports (it does have USB 3.1 Gen. 1 ports, though.) So, if those lack of features may be a deal-breaker for you, you would possibly want to see out the marginally costlier B360 chipset motherboard listed below.
Ultimately, if you’re working with a decent budget and would like to create a mini PC, your only real option would be traveling with a Coffe Lake-based build.
There are no real affordable mini-ITX motherboard options available for 2nd generation Ryzen processors (although, for 1st generation Ryzen chipsets, just like the B350 chipset, there are some cheaper mini-ITX options). And, of the ultra-affordable Intel-based mini-ITX motherboards out there, the H310I Pro is perhaps the simplest (and cheapest) option.
4- MSI B450I Gaming Plus
While there are currently no 2nd generation AM4 chipset mini-ITX motherboards available for under $100, the only affordable option is that the MSI B450I Gaming Plus. At ~$115, the MSI B450I will give AMD fans a choice to create a mini-ITX system with a 2nd generation Ryzen processor without completely breaking the bank.
The B450I comes with support for up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, which will reach speeds as high as 3466MHz (through overclocking), leave mild overclocking on the CPU, and provide you MSI’s Game Boost, GAMING Hotkey, and X-Boost settings.
Overall, you don’t have plenty of affordable mini-ITX 2nd generation AM4 motherboard options out there. But, if you’re trying to find a moderately-priced option, the MSI B450I Gaming Plus would be worth considering.
5- ASRock Z370M-ITX/AC
If you would like to create a Coffee Lake-based system that will support overclocking, but you’d sort of a cheaper choice to the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I, then ASRock’s Z370M-ITX/AC could be the choice for you.
At slightly below ~$140, the Z370M-ITX comes in at over $60 but the ROG Strix Z370-I. And, because it may be a Z370 chipset motherboard, it is often paired with an unlocked Coffee Lake processor to permit for overclocking.
The Z370M-ITX can delay to 32GB DDR4 memory, and it also comes with an M.2 port that you can install an NVME SSD in.
But, rock bottom line is that, if you would like to overclock, but you don’t need all of the striking features that ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I comes with, and you’d instead save money, the ASRock Z370M-ITX/AC would be a solid choice.
6- GIGABYTE B360N
Another relatively affordable Intel-based mini-ITX motherboard is Gigabyte’s B360N. It’s almost as cheap at slightly below $100 because of the MSI H310I Pro, but it does accompany some more features.
Intel’s H310 chipset is pretty-well stripped down. While they are doing accompany two DIMM slots, H310 motherboards don’t support dual-channel configurations, so you’ve got two memory modules installed in an H310 chipset motherboard going to be working in the single-channel design. (However, in our post on available channel vs. dual-channel memory, we found that, for gaming, there isn’t a significant difference in performance between the 2 .) The H310 chipset also lacks USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports (instead of offering USB 3.1 Gen. 1ports) and doesn’t support Intel’s Optane technology.
So, if those lack of features on H310 chipset motherboards may be a problem for you, your next best choice for a good Coffee Lake mini-ITX motherboard is that this Gigabyte B360N motherboard, because the B360 chipset will provide you with those features.
7- ASUS ROG Strix B450-I
Finally, we’ve ASUS’ ROG Strix B450 mini-ITX motherboard. While the ASUS B450-I may be a solid offering, it is available at nearly ~$45 quite MSI’s B450 mini-ITX motherboard. So, in terms of price-to-performance, MSI’s motherboard would be a far better option.
Since the chipsets between ASUS’ B450-I and MSI’s B450I are equivalent, the sole real difference between the 2 is in aesthetics and, therefore, the additional features that ASUS has thrown on their board. One of those extra features which may interest you is ASUS’ Aura Sync RGB lighting. If you’re planning on adding a bunch of RGB lights to your build, you would possibly benefit by utilizing Aura Sync to regulate your RGB lights through the Aura Sync interface.
You also get ASUS’s 5-Way Optimization, Auto-Tuning, and Fan Xpert 4 overclocking features. However, MSI has similar options for system-tuning. From an aesthetics standpoint, both are pretty nice-looking boards. They both have black PCBs, but the MSI B450I features red accent colors, which will or might not work for you.
Ultimately, if you’re to save lots of some money on a 2nd generation AM4 motherboard, you’d probably be happier with the MSI B450I rather than this ASUS ROG Strix B450-I motherboard. However, if you discover the additional options that come on the B450-I are well worth the extra $45 in price, then, by all means, choose this motherboard instead.
Mini ITX Test Procedure & Verdict
Five Mini-ITX mainboards have gathered for the comparison testing: ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming, Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming, ASRock mini-ITX motherboards X370 Gaming, Gigabyte B360N WiFi, ASRock B365M-ITX. The socket AM4 motherboards make the AMD fraction from Asus and ASRock.
The Asus ROG Strix X470-I Gaming runs with the new X470 chipset, while the ASRock runs with the somewhat older B365 chipset, which hasn’t been around for far more than a year.
The Gigabyte B360N WiFi and the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming come from the Intel stock. they’re each equipped with the B360 chipset and Z390 chipset, respectively, and believe the LGA 1151 socket for the present 8th generation of Core I, Celeron, and Pentium processors.
Test Procedure Mainboards
We evaluate each Mini-ITX mainboard within the category’s performance (50%), equipment (30%), ergonomics (15%), and extras (5%). Each mainboard runs through the CPU benchmarks 7-zip, Cinebench 15, CPU-Z, Handbrake, and y-Cruncher because of the synthetic standards AS-SSD and PCMark 10. In terms of kit, we evaluate interfaces like PCIe 3.0 x16, M.2, USB 3.x, WLAN and Bluetooth, and extras like RGB connectors, A/V signal outputs the number of LAN connections.
CPUs: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, Intel Core i7-8700K and up
We equip all Mini-ITX mainboards with powerful hardware to eliminate performance bottlenecks. The Ryzen 7 top model 2700X runs on AMD platforms, on the Intel side, the Core i7-8700K, which is about equivalent. Additionally, there’s 16 GB RAM, the five hundred GB M.2 SSD Samsung SSD 970 EVO, and Windows 10 within the latest version.
Because Intel is sticking to the 1151 socket for its Coffee Lake processors, buyers need to look carefully at which motherboard fits the CPU. It will go wrong: Socket 1151 is additionally employed by CPUs of the older Kaby Lake and Skylake microarchitectures, but they’re electronically incompatible with Coffee Lake. A Coffee Lake CPU, just like the Intel Core i7-8700K, therefore only starts on a mainboard with a 300 chipset, but not with a 200 chipset (Kaby Lake, Skylake). Conversely, Kaby Lake and Skylake processors can’t be used on a mainboard with a 300 chipset. Things are simple with AMD: even new Pinnacle Ridge CPUs like the Ryzen 7 2700X run on older socket AM4 mainboards.
Mini-ITX format: Extensive features on 7 x 7 inches
Despite the Liliput form factor, the Mini-ITX test candidates are well equipped. it’s almost like a midrange ATX mainboard: 4x SATA 6 Gb/s, a minimum of one M.2 slot, numerous USB 3.x ports, and a 7.1 sound chip are always offered.
Because there’s just one PCIe slot on a mini-ITX board, SLI operation with two graphics cards is out of the question. The pixel accelerator should also not be longer than 7 inches if it’s to be installed during a Mini-ITX case. Not many high-end graphics cards meet this requirement. But you’ll still find it, for instance, within the 7-inch short Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G.
In terms of system performance, the Mini-ITX mainboards of both camps met at eye level. There have been indeed advantages for AMD within the CPU benchmarks, but the Intel fraction made up for this with higher scores within the synthetic tests. In practice, little or nothing of the slight performance differences should therefore be noticeable.
We hope our in-depth test helps you to seek out the proper M-ITX motherboard for your PC setup. If you’ve got any questions regarding this test, M-ITX motherboards, or the other hardware or software topic, please contact us. We might like to assist you out.