Building a PC from scratch is a daunting task. There’s so much you have to know like how do I know if a motherboard will fit in my case? before you can actually start putting together your dream machine.
Well, there are certain “rules of thumb” that should be followed when you are building a computer, or else the machine won’t work as expected.
Two of the crucial components when building a computer is a motherboard and the PC case.
Most computer owners are confused when it comes to different types of motherboards, their dimensions and size, and how can they be sure if it will fit into their case.
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How Do I Know If A Motherboard Will Fit In My Case?
Well, the easiest way to tell if a motherboard will perfectly fit inside your case is by measuring the outside dimensions of your case with the motherboard’s outer edge.
If the measurement of the outside of your case is equal to or less than the measurement of the inside of your case, then the board will not only fit but also have an inch or so of space for heat dissipation.
But there is another solution that includes simply checking the motherboard form factor, which is listed right on the manufacturer’s website.
For example, the ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming is an ATX motherboard; this means the case you need must support the ATX form factor.
The supported motherboard format is one of the primary specs listed by the PC case manufacturer, so be sure to check the website for specifications.
The Motherboard Form Factor And Computer Case
Motherboards are typically measured by their form factors, which include ATX, micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX.
The form factor is one of the most important specifications of the motherboard.
The main reason is that once you know the form factor of your motherboard, you can determine whether or not the motherboard will fit in your case.
Let’s begin by explaining all the different form factors. The most common form factor is the ATX which usually measures 12 by 9.6 inches (305mm x 244mm).
ATX motherboards fit in almost the majority of the cases and are used to build gaming machines or powerful workstations.
Micro-ATX is a less popular format than ATX. It is used mostly for compact desktop PCs. Micro-ATX has a smaller motherboard size measuring 9.6 by 9.6 inches (244 × 244 mm); however, the length may vary.
It is commonly used for budget-oriented PCs, Linux servers or HTPCs (Home Theater PC).
Note that even though it is a smaller motherboard, the connectivity options are usually the same as standard ATX motherboards.
Mini-ITX is another format that is usually used by budget PC builders and is not that common.
Mini-ITX motherboards are the smallest in size and measure 6.7 × 6.7 inches (170 × 170 mm). They are useful when it comes to creating desktop computers in RVs or other small spaces.
Let’s say you have an ATX motherboard and your case only supports micro-ATX or mini-ITX form factors.
In this case, your motherboard will not fit in your case. You need to decide if you want to buy a different case or a different motherboard.
Hence, you should always first choose the major components of your computer (the motherboard, processor and hard drive) and then purchase the case to go with those components, not the other way around.
For example, if you’re going to build a gaming machine, you should first pick an ATX motherboard, then buy the case to go with it.
But what about those times when you are not sure what form factor a case is?
In such a case, you should check with the manufacturer of your case. Chances are, they will have a chart that tells you what motherboard size you can use in their case or would provide a list of motherboard form factors supported by the enclosure.
Usually, all full towers can support standard motherboard sizes, and mid towers can support micro-ATX and smaller motherboards.
The motherboard form factor is a standard that specifies the physical size of the motherboard and whether it can be fixed into a case.
However, this shouldn’t confuse you as long as you know the dimensions and the supported form factor of the enclosure.
Also, most motherboards are made to fit in full or mid-tower cases, which is why there is no reason to be worried when selecting a motherboard and case for your computer.
It is highly likely that it will be 100% compatible, but to be sure, don’t forget to check the dimension of your case to see if it can support your motherboard.