The Difference Between ITX, Mini-ITX, and Thin Mini-ITX
- by wangcooper
While building personal computers the motherboard is probably the last thing we think about. Our idea for our new rig fully influences what Kind of motherboard we need. Now, there are mainly three types of motherboards in the market. ITX, Mini-ITX and Thin-mini-ITX. But, how do you know which you really need?
This article is for those who want to build a more miniature PC. But for doing that, knowing the fundamental difference between ITX, Mini-ITX, and Thin-mini ITX is essential. If you read this blog carefully, you should be able to build the perfect small form factor PC in no time.
Main Differences Between ITX, Mini-ITX, and Thin-mini ITX Standard
ATX motherboards are more extensive and thicker in general. But ITX motherboards also come in different shapes and sizes.
Some ITX motherboards are pretty big, and some are extremely small. You have to pick the perfect one according to your preference. Below, I will discuss some of the differential points of various types of ITX motherboards.
One main difference between mini-ITX and thin mini-ITX is their I/O shields. The size of the I/o shield will significantly differ. For instance, the mini-ITX board has a standard size of about 46 mm in height, whereas the thin mini has only about 25mm.
One of the most significant differential factors between various ITX motherboards is RAM. Regarding standard mini ITX motherboards, you can use regular desktop RAMs as these motherboards are typically utilized in slightly bigger cases. So, regular stand-up rams aren't an issue.
But in the case of thin mini ITX motherboards, you are stuck with laptop rams only. These Rams will lie flat on the socket and won't take up any extra space. Some people consider this a drawback of thin mini ITX motherboards as laptop rams have some limitations. But those drawbacks are pretty insignificant and can be overlooked.
Each mini ITX board comes with a full PCI-E slot. That means it can theoretically support almost every GPU in the market. Of course, you will need a compatible case and power supply to run it.
But when it comes to thin mini ITX motherboards, you may not find any PCI-E slot whatsoever. Some of the models do come with a X4 or X8 PCI-E socket. But the GPU options for those slots are minimal. Moreover, those slots may only provide 25 watts or even less power.
So, if you are planning to go for a thin mini ITX motherboard, your only options are integrated GPUs.
The use of a power supply unit will significantly vary depending on which motherboard you choose. If you are interested in the mini ITX one, you can use almost every power supply in the market. It will even support an entire ATX power supply of any size. These motherboards come with complete 16-pin connectors and four or eight-pin CPU power.
But when it comes to thin ITx motherboard, things are a bit different. They have no 24 or 16-pin connectors. That basically means you cannot use any typical power supply on these boards. You can only power it up using an external power break.
You will find two options on the thin mini ITX motherboards for receiving external power. They are given below.
The most common one is the use of the DC JACK. It is situated on the rear I/O panel. Remember, different thin mini ITX boards have different types of barrel jacks. So read the description manual carefully before choosing the right power brick type.
Now, if your CPU needs 35 watts of power, you must use a 60-watt power supply to run your PC safely. But if your CPU needs 65 watts or more, you will have to step up to a 90-watt brick.
The second option is to use a pico power supply. You will find a little 12v connector right behind the DC jack. The connector would typically be a two-pin or a four-pin one.
Now, remember that you are using either the DC jack or the connector to run the motherboard. You cannot use both.
If you plan to use a mini ITX motherboard, you won't have to worry about storage. Since all the components and connectors are right on the motherboard, you can use both SSD and HDD without any issues. The size of the storage won't also matter if you have adequate space inside the casing.
But things are not so simple regarding thin mini ITX motherboards. Since all the necessary powers come from the motherboard directly, you will be needing various connectors to connect an SSD. Obviously, using an HDD on thin mini itx pc would be very impractical.
You basically have three options to connect an SSD with the motherboard. They are given below.
- Option One
Some of the older motherboards will have a Molex connector on their body. So you will need a Molex to SATA power cable to connect the SSD.
- Option Two
On older motherboards, you may also find 4-pin power connectors. You will have to buy a four-pin to SATA cable for using the SSD.
- Option Three
If your thin mini ITX motherboard has a male SATA power connector, you will have to buy a female-to-female SATA cable to use the SSD in your system.
Suppose your motherboard has an M.2 slot. Then use the M.2 SSD. On a slim casing, even smaller cables can make a mess. However, M.2 slots don't require any wires at all. Although the M.2 SSD is a bit expensive, try to use them to build a cleaner-looking pc.
Which Motherboard Should You Use?
If you are planning to build an ultra-thin personal computer, then thin mini ITX motherboards would be a good option. Although they have far more complications than a regular board, the looks of the final build would be incomparable. The size of the PC’s casing would be as small as a laptop.
Remember that upgradeability is minimal on a thin mini-ITX motherboard. Also, it won't be able to run heavy programs or games.
In this blog, we discussed the differences between ITX, Mini-ITX, and thin-mini ITX. Hopefully, after reading through the whole article, you will be able to find your desired motherboard. Be very sure about what type of build you are going to do before choosing your motherboard. They can be quite expensive and you don’t want to be stuck second guessing after getting one.
We at Weibu are one of the top 5 motherboard manufacturers in the world. So, if your organization requires motherboards in bulk be sure to contact us.