The mother board is the central component of any computer system. Thus, it is essential to buy a motherboard that can interface and connect with all the other components of your machine, in addition to being a reliable, high-quality motherboard.
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Motherboards can be found in a wide variety of price points and specializations, but not all models are compatible with each other’s components. We have compiled a list of the top micro ATX motherboards so you can easily narrow down your options. If you use this guide, finding a new motherboard should be a breeze.
Micro ATX motherboards offer excellent value and flexibility. By using a micro ATX motherboard instead of a standard ATX one, you can save money on components without having to give up too many features. While micro ATX isn’t yet the standard for all PC builders, it’s a great option for those on a tight budget or those with high expectations for performance.
Motherboards typically fall into two categories: those that are compatible with Intel processors, and those that are compatible with AMD processors. You can find a wide variety of both in stores today, from brand-new, high-priced cards to tried-and-true, slightly older models.
Whether you’re looking to splurge on a brand new card or stick to a tighter budget, you’ll find a wide variety of acceptable options here.
MSI B450M Gaming Plus
Advanced Micro Devices B450 Chipset
When it comes to PC builders, the MSI B450M is a heavy hitter at a great price. MSI’s Gaming Plus line of motherboards is comprised entirely of stable and reasonably priced components.
Although these cards aren’t quite as speedy as the latest and greatest, they’re also not too far behind the times thanks to the TR4 socket’s superior overclocking potential compared to A4 slots. It’s important to note that B450M Gaming Plus will still work with the vast majority of components.
While the motherboard itself lacks any flashy LED lighting, it does sport MSI’s signature red-on-black color scheme. It’s possible that this style won’t work with every build, but from the inside of the case, it shouldn’t be too distracting, especially since most LED components will likely overpower it.
There are some noticeable space constraints on this motherboard, especially when it comes to air coolers. Before making a purchase, double-check the compatibility of your CPU cooler with the rest of your hardware.
|Storage Access Memory (RAM) Support||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||As much as 3466 MHz|
|Computer Memory Space||All the way up to 32 GB|
|Inserts for PCI Express Cards||a single PCI Express x16 port
x2 PCI Express x1
|Attachments for Keeping Things Together||1x M.2
The utmost number of SATA III drives is four
|Ports||An abundance of USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports (7 total)
1 Type-C USB (Version 3.0, Generation 1)
6x USB-A 2.0
The Three-Pin Audio Jack
MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC
Intel Z390 Chipset
MSI’s solution to the demand for a high-quality, all-around motherboard that doesn’t break the bank is the MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC. The Z390M is not as cheap as budget cards but is also not ridiculously expensive.
However, the Z390M doesn’t appear to be a cheap card. It has a modern black and silver color scheme and is illuminated with LEDs. The result is comparable to that of a high-end sports car but at a much more reasonable price. In addition to built-in wireless and two GPU slots, this motherboard is ready for serious gaming.
Furthermore, this board has excellent overclocking potential. It’s important to monitor your computer’s temperature when overclocking, as this tiny board can quickly reach dangerous levels of heat. Overclocking significantly increases the need for a liquid cooling system, which can be costly but is worth it for the extra performance and stability it provides.
This card exemplifies the way in which a micro ATX card can provide the same functionality and performance as a full-size PCIe card while still fitting into a smaller form factor. It’s worth considering this card if you’re willing to make some sacrifices in storage capacity but not in functionality.
|Chipset||Microprocessor Chipset Support for Intel Z390|
|System Memory (RAM) Compatibility||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||Over 4500 MHz|
|ROM Capacity||Maximum 64 GB|
|Slots for PCI Express Cards||Dual x16 PCIe
PCI Express 2.0 x1
|Connectors for Storage||2x M.2
Four SATA III Ports
|Ports||(1) USB Type-A 3.1 gen 2
Eight USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1 Ports
Dual USB Type-C 3.1 GEN2
4x USB-A 2.0
1 x DisplayPort
Multiple Standard Microwave Attachment Connectors
First Order Optical 1x
5.25mm Stereo Jack
MSI Pro Series B250 Pro-VDH
The LGA1151 Socket
Intel B250 Chipset
Even though it’s a bit dated, the MSI Pro Series B250 Pro-VDH is still a great graphics card. It was cutting edge when it was released, and it’s still a great mid-tier board now that prices have come down. The board is solid, and its peculiar feature distribution belies its advanced age.
This motherboard, for example, offers a variety of video outputs including DVI, VGA, and HDMI. The lack of built-in DisplayPort support is a major drawback, though. To be fair, it does sport a USB-C port, which is typically only seen on more recent devices.
This board is a little bit older, so there aren’t that many of them, and the price reflects that. A reliable and attractive board for any casual PC builder, but only if you can find it on sale or at a discount.
|Chipset||Compute Module for Intel B250|
|In-memory Object (RAM) Support||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||As much as 2400 MHz|
|ROM Capacity||Sizes up to 64 GB|
|Connectors for PCI Express||An additional PCI Express x16 (PCIe x16) port.
x2 PCI Express x1
|Cables for Attaching Storage||1x M.2
This is a 6x SATA III
|Ports||Multi-Port USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (5 total)
1x USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1
6x USB 2.0
3.5mm Stereo Jack
EVGA X299 Micro ATX 2
Processor socket type: LGA2066
System-on-a-Chip (SoC): Intel X299
For a cutting-edge, top-tier graphics card, look no further than the EVGA X299 Micro ATX 2. The EVGA X299 is the biggest monster in our lineup, even bigger than our other high-end recommendation, the X399M Taichi (which we discuss in more detail below). One notable feature is the 128 GB of storage space that can be managed by its quad-channel RAM setup.
The X299, being a high-end motherboard, naturally allows for multiple graphics cards. It’s not the cheapest luxury card out there, but it’s priced fairly competitively. Look no further if you want an affordable powerhouse of a card!
|Memory Stick Support||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||4.000 GHz and above|
|RAM Memory Size||It’s possible to store up to 128 GB.|
|Expansion Circuit Interconnect Express (PCIe)||Double PCI Express x16
The 1x PCIe x4
|Affixing Devices for Storage||2x M.2
The Specs: 6x SATA III
|Ports||Parallel Type-A (2.0) USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen2
With 8 USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, you can connect to your devices quickly and easily.
4x USB-A 2.0
Connectors: 2x SMA
Indicator of Optical Clarity, Magnification, and Resolution, 1x
5-Pin Audio Jack
ASRock X399M Taichi
A TR4 socket.
System-on-Chip (SoC): AMD X399
When comparing luxury features and cost, the ASRock X399M Taichi is the older sibling to the EVGA X299 we just reviewed. This card may be the priciest option we offer, but it also provides the most benefits.
The Taichi, like the X299, can handle up to 128 GB of RAM. While the X299 has only two PCIe x16 slots, the Taichi has three, the most of any motherboard in our guide. Even though three GPUs might not fit on this board, you still have a lot of options.
What this board really needs is some way to make connections visually. Unless they are intentionally hidden, there are no HDMI, VGA, or DVI ports on this board. To connect an external monitor to the motherboard, you can only use USB-to-X cables.
It’s also worth noting that this card is one of the few micro ATX options that is compatible with AMD’s Threadripper processors. Therefore, this card should be on your short list if you’re considering the Threadripper family and a micro ATX motherboard.
|Backing for Random Access Memory||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||From 4000-5000 MHz|
|RAM Memory Size||At most 128GB|
|Ports for PCI Express Cards||Three x PCI Express x16 Slots
PCI Express x1 1x
|Clips for Keeping Things Together||3x M.2
SATA III with 8GB/s Transfer Rate
|Ports||USB Type-A 3.1 Gen2 Port
Connector Type: USB Type-C 3.1 Generation 2: 1 x
Twelve USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1 Ports
4x USB 2.0
2 x SMA Plugs
Connectors for Five Separate Audio Outputs
MSI B450M Pro-M2
The AMD B450 Chipset.
There is a wide variety of high-performing cards in the B450 lineup, but the two we highlight here represent the extremes of that spectrum. In the same vein as the aforementioned Gaming Plus, the MSI B450M Pro-M2 strikes a wonderful balance between taste and sound. While it’s obvious that it’s based on the Gaming Plus, it has a few unique selling points that make it attractive in its own right.
The Pro-M2 is available in two iterations: the original and the V2, and both are among the best all-around gaming motherboards we’ve tested. The V2 version is noticeably cheaper than the original, but we’ve included the original here because it seems to have fewer issues. One possible explanation is that the originals are in higher demand than the copies, while another is that the originals are no longer being produced.
In particular, if you’re not a fan of the red-on-black color scheme found on many other MSI cards, you’ll appreciate the sophistication of this one’s grey-on-black design. In particular, this style may be preferred by some fans for red-free rosters.
|Compatibility with Random Access Memory||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||As much as 3466 MHz|
|ROM Capacity||It’s possible to have as much as 32GB.|
|The PCI Express Slots||PCI Express x16, 1x
The Specified Number of PCI Express 2.0 x1 Ports
|Affixing Devices for Storage||1x M.2
Quad SATA III
|Ports||A total of six USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1 ports
6x USB-A 2.0
Stereo Minijack / RCA / XLR
MSI H310M Gaming Plus
CPU Microarchitecture: Intel H310
The MSI H310M Gaming Plus is the Intel-based counterpart to the AMD-based MSI B450 Gaming Plus that was previously reviewed in this article. It’s true that the H310M Gaming Plus predates the B450M Gaming Plus by a year, but both were released in 2018. Therefore, rather than being antiquated, it is a modern motherboard that was designed to be lightweight and inexpensive.
The H310M is the most budget-friendly model we offer. To save money, however, you’ll have to make some performance concessions, as is the case with most low-cost alternatives. While this may seem like a trade-off, MSI’s signature red and black color scheme ensures that aesthetics aren’t compromised.
However, this board is solid and dependable, and while it’s not as feature-rich as some of our other options, it has everything you need for a great low-cost computer system.
|Chipset||The Intel H310|
|Compatibility with Random Access Memory||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||It can go as high as 2666 MHz.|
|Quantity of Random Access Memory||There’s room for up to 32GB.|
|Connectors for PCI Express||A single PCI Express x16 port
Supports a single PCI Express x1 device.
|Connectors for Storage||1x M.2
4-port SATA III
|Ports||The New Standard with 4 USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 Ports
6x USB-A 3.0
A Multiple Audio Jack Input
Slot Type: AM4
Specifically, it uses the AMD B350 chipset.
The Gigabyte AB350M-DS3H is the final motherboard on our shortlist, and it’s another example of a relatively old card that holds up well today. Although this card is not brand new, it is not antiquated, and it still has many useful features.
This particular motherboard has 4 RAM slots and 2 PCIe-16 slots, allowing you to quickly and easily overclock the performance of your graphics card. A stunning LED light strip is included in the card’s design.
Like the MSI Pro-Series B250, this card suffers from the same pricing problems. However, just like the B250, don’t hesitate to purchase this card if you find it for a low price or during a sale.
|Backing for Random Access Memory||DDR4|
|RAM Speed||A maximum of 3200 MHz|
|RAM Memory Size||64 GB|
|Connectors for PCI Express||Dual x16 PCIe
1x PCI Express x1
|Connectors for Storage||1x M.2
4-port SATA III
|Ports||Connectivity: 6 USB Type-A 3.1 Gen1
8x USB-A 2.0
3.5mm Stereo Jack
Asus Prime Z690M-Plus D4
The Asus Prime Z690M-Plus D4 is the best of the best Intel motherboards, and it won’t break the bank either. The PCIe 5.0 interface provided by this hardware is the next generation of connectivity, allowing for twice the data transfer speeds of PCIe 4.0. This motherboard doesn’t skimp on features, and it’s capable of running Intel’s latest 12-generation Core CPUs. As soon as you insert one of the three M.2 SSDs that support PCIe 4.0 x4, you’ll notice lightning-fast load and boot times. Additionally, you will have access to a full-speed PCIe 5.0 x16 slot for your graphics card or other high-bandwidth peripherals. An additional PCI Express 4.0 x16 slot and two PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots are included on this micro ATX motherboard.
The Asus Prime Z690M-Plus D4 also has a few extra features that are useful. It supports up to 5,333MHz and large amounts of RAM. Plus, it has a ton of different connectivity options, including some fast ones like a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C port that can transfer data at up to 20Gbps, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port on the front panel, and support for Thunderbolt 4. It has a ton of RGB lighting headers, so you can do some really cool things with color.
Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi 6E
Downsizing your motherboard doesn’t mean you have to give up the high-end features of a standard-sized board. The latest 12th generation Intel Core processors are supported by the Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi 6E. Support for PCIe 5.0 means you can take advantage of the astronomical data transfer rates. Additionally, you’ll enjoy quick load times thanks to the three PCIe 4.0 x 4 M.2 slots. With the included DDR5 memory slots, you can overclock to new heights while reducing your system’s power consumption.
In addition to its powerful gaming performance, the Asus ROG Strix Z690-G Gaming WiFi 6E boasts cutting-edge network capabilities. Asus has preinstalled support for extremely rapid internet in addition to a plethora of high-speed USB ports ranging in speed from 5Gbps to 20Gbps. It supports Wi-Fi 6E and 2.5Gb Ethernet for wired connections and the fastest wireless speeds possible. It’s a little more expensive than some of our other recommendations, but this mATX motherboard is well worth the cost.
ASRock H670M Pro
The ASRock H67OM Pro is an excellent illustration of the H670 platform’s modern conveniences and strong value. It supports the newest 12th-generation Intel Core processors but comes in at just under $140. Once you’ve properly installed it, your gaming will become much more rapid and efficient. Despite the lack of the newest PCIe 5.0 slot, your graphics card and solid-state drives (SSDs) will have plenty of bandwidth to work with on this motherboard.
Despite its diminutive stature, the ASRock H670M Pro offers a wealth of useful extras. Even though the motherboard only has two PCIe slots, ASRock was able to squeeze in an extra PCIe x16 slot and a PCIe x1 slot. Furthermore, an additional M.2 slot is available for even more space. The RGB headers allow you to add your own lighting effects to the rig, augmenting the preinstalled RGB lighting.
Asus Prime H610M-A D4-CSM
A motherboard that costs more than your processor is the last thing you need if you’re trying to build a PC on a tight budget. If you’re looking for a low-cost Intel build that doesn’t skimp on features, consider the Asus Prime H610M-A D4-CSM. It’s compatible with the latest 12-Generation Intel Core processors, but the cheaper Pentium Gold and Celeron processors will also fit into the LGA 1700 socket. However, for the best gaming experience and to take advantage of everything this mATX motherboard has to offer, you’ll want to stick with a 12th Generation processor.
For your graphics card, the Asus Prime H610M-A D4-CSM provides a PCIe 4.0 expansion slot with plenty of bandwidth, and there’s also a PCIe 3.0 x1 slot for even more expansion options. This motherboard does not provide PCIe 5.0 expansion slots. Your SSDs should also benefit from the PCIe 3 speed and two devoted M.2 slots. Even if a dedicated graphics card isn’t included in favor of a more compact and cost-effective build, you can still use the motherboard’s HDMI and DisplayPort connections to drive multiple monitors.
ASRock X570M Pro4
The ASRock X570M Pro4 is ready to let you make the most of the latest and greatest AMD chips and the PCIe 4.0 capabilities they provide, whether you’re building a system around a Ryzen 3000 series or Ryzen 5000 series processor. The processor will receive consistent power thanks to the 10-phase power delivery. And with the ability to use memory with a frequency greater than 4,466MHz, you can give your CPU a hefty dose of speed.
Even expansion cards and other accessories benefit. The rear I/O features a number of USB 10Gbps ports. There’s a lot of PCIe 4.0 support, too. There are two PCI Express x16 slots, one of which can operate at full PCI Express 4.0 x16 bandwidth while the other can operate at x4 bandwidth. A PCIe 4.0 x1 slot is also included. ASRock includes two M.2 slots that can accommodate the fastest storage devices and feature PCI Express 4.0 lanes 4 and 4. A Micro ATX board doesn’t leave much room for improvement.
MSI MAG B550M Bazooka
The MSI MAG B550M Bazooka motherboard is a good choice if you want to save money without sacrificing support for the newest AMD processors. You won’t have as many PCIe 4.0 lanes to play with as the X570 provides, but mATX motherboards aren’t usually designed with a lot of expansion slots in mind.
The MSI MAG B550M Bazooka is an easy-to-use and space-saving base for your Ryzen computer. It’s compatible with four RAM modules and can handle speeds of up to 4,100MHz. Moreover, you have access to two high-bandwidth PCIe 4.0 device slots, one of which can accommodate a powerful graphics card or other large expansion card, and the other which can accommodate a small form factor M.2 SSD. MSI even provides some RGB lighting headers for customization. And in case you were wondering, yes, the latest Ryzen 5000 Series processors will work with this motherboard.
ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming 4
Is it your goal to find a motherboard for your new Ryzen 5000 Series processor that costs less than $100? The ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming 4 allows for just that. This motherboard is reasonably priced without sacrificing quality. The B550 chipset makes certain that both the x16 PCIe slot and the M.2 slot, which can accommodate the fastest solid-state drives (SSDs), are PCIe 4.0 compliant.
The ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming actually has a surprising amount of extra connection options. Multiple USB ports and headers for additional front-panel ports are provided. You can install additional hardware like a Wi-Fi card or a super-fast network adapter because there are two unused PCIe slots.
What to Look For in a Micro ATX Motherboard
If you’re looking to save some desk space and cash, micro ATX motherboards may be a good option, but be aware that you’ll be compromising on some features. One of the main drawbacks of these compact motherboards is the reduced number of PCI Express expansion slots, with some models offering only a single slot. When deciding on an mATX motherboard, you should keep in mind the number of graphics cards, sound cards, capture cards, and other PCIe cards you plan to install.
Since mATX motherboards have a smaller printed circuit board, they typically have fewer M.2 slots for NVMe and SATA SSDs. The good news is that most boards of this size have at least two M.2 slots, though even the highest-end ATX components may only have as many as four or five.
Who makes the best micro ATX motherboard?
In-Depth Analysis of the Top 4 Micro ATX Motherboards
- Micro-ATX Motherboard (Gigabyte B450M DS3H V2)
- Micro-ATX Motherboard for AMD Socket AM4 – ASRock B450M PRO4
- The ASUS TUF B550M-PLUS is a Micro-ATX motherboard that uses the AMD AM4 socket.
Is micro ATX motherboard good for gaming?
A micro-ATX motherboard is your best bet if you want to build a cheap gaming computer. The reason for this is that your graphics card, processor, and memory will have the greatest impact on your gaming performance.
Are Micro-ATX motherboards worth it?
Micro ATX motherboards are typically the best value because they have plenty of PCIe slots, enough room for all the RAM a gaming PC would need, and are cheaper than ATX alternatives. After all, they are expensive and have low memory and only a single PCIe slot.
Finally, there are benefits and drawbacks to using any solid, hardworking graphics card. The graphics cards on this list are all top picks, but your needs will determine which one is best.
However, the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC was our favorite newcomer overall. This graphics card isn’t exactly cheap, but it has almost all the features you could want at a low price.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better balance of specs, reliability, and appeal anywhere else unless you’re willing to spend twice as much on a luxury board as the Gaming Edge AC.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a state-of-the-art motherboard and you happen to have a spare few bucks lying around, we strongly suggest checking out the ASRock X399M Taichi. Taichi isn’t a brand-new board, but it has held up remarkably well and is still a formidable opponent to modern motherboards.
However, the MSI H310M Gaming Plus is an option if you’re on a tight budget. The H310M features somewhat modest specifications, and its price is similarly modest. This card is ideal for those just starting out and those who are working on building their finances because it provides everything necessary to get rolling for the price of a nice meal for two.
Each and every one of the items on this list is highly recommended. MSI’s B450M Gaming Plus is a great alternative to the more expensive Z390M if you’re on a budget. If you’re looking for an Intel-enabled motherboard rather than an AMD-friendly one, the EVGA X299 Micro ATX is a high-end alternative to the Taichi.