EATX and ATX are both standards for sizing motherboards. If you’ve read my review of the best micro-ATX cases, you’ll realize that there’s tons of sizing, from really big, to really small, and cases for each one.
Now, ATX stands for Advanced Technology eXtended, as standard developed in 1995 by Intel and which has become the most common size of top-quality gaming motherboards you’ll find in a PC. EATX, by comparison, stands for Extended ATX and yes, that would mean it has extended twice in its name. Don’t blame me though, they didn’t ask me when they were coming up with the naming standard!
So, let’s see which one is better, EATX vs. ATX motherboards? 🤔 💭
ATX vs. EATX Motherboards: Size
The main difference between an ATX and EATX motherboard is size, primarily an extra inch or two on the right side of the motherboard for the EATX.
Generally speaking, EATX motherboards are usually found and are made for servers, where there’s lots of extra space to fit the added hardware that’s usually needed to run server functions.
I’m sure you’re wondering now whether you could even get EATX motherboards at the consumer level, and the answer is you absolutely can! With gaming computers becoming massive over the past few years, manufacturers have begun offering these larger motherboards for high-end gaming PC builds. While they aren’t very common, they’re certainly out there, and you can get yourself some really cool and interesting ones.
All that being said, larger isn’t always the best option and if you’re looking for smaller form factors, our editor Alex Popovic has written a handy little guide covering ATX vs. Micro ATX vs. Mini ITX.
Also, two minor benefits of EATX motherboards are that; one, their larger surface area means they dissipate heat better and two, they are easier to work with, since the added size means you have more space to get the GPU in.
EATX vs. ATX Motherboards: Functionality
Since EATX motherboards are bigger, they tend to have more space for additional ports. For example, whereas ATX usually has 3-4 PCI-E x16 ports, EATX can usually come with 4 or more (I’ve seen some with up to 8!!). Similarly, ATX motherboards usually come with 4 RAM slots, whereas EATX has 6 and even sometimes 8.
So what does this all mean for you? Well, basically that if you plan to go all out on your setup, an EATX motherboard will give you a bunch of extra slots to do stuff with. For example, with an EATX you could easily fit two or three graphics cards if you want to do SLI or Crossfire.
Or, if you don’t want to go with multiple Graphics Cards, there’s lots of space for a graphics card, capture card (for the streamers out there) for example Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro, a PCI-E SSD like the Intel Optane and a sound card like ASUS Sound Card Essence STX II.
You can also fit a ton of RAM in there, although how high you can go will depend a lot on what the motherboard can support. Either way though, more memory channels is always better, so even if you go with a lower amount of RAM, such as 32gigs, you can spread them out for better performance.
ЕАТX vs. ATX Motherboards: Cost
This one tends to vary a lot, but usually, EATX motherboards are more expensive than ATX ones. That doesn’t mean you can’t find EATX motherboards that are cheaper than ATX boards, it just means that if you assume a similar level of features, EATX is usually more expensive.
There’s also an associated cost of EATX motherboards in that you have to buy a larger case that can fit them. That part is important. Always make sure that your case can fit the motherboards you buy.
Thankfully though, it’s almost always the case that a case for one size of the board will fit smaller sizes. For example, EATX cases can usually accept ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini-ITX. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so always double-check before you buy. If you’re not sure which case to get, check out our guides on the best mini ITX cases and the best Mini ITX cases.
Final Thoughts: Which is Better EATX vs. ATX motherboards?
The truth is that which one is better relies on what exactly you’re aiming to do. Are you building a high-end production machine with lots of Nvidia Quadros? EATX might be better. Are you building a high-end gaming PC with only one graphics card? ATX is what you want. See? There’s no clear winner in the EATX vs. ATX battle.
At the end of the day, it’s important to pick parts efficiently so that you don’t spend a lot of money on things you’ll never use. Of course, I say that and yet I still somehow manage to buy gear that I won’t ever fully utilize. Don’t be like me!
- CPU Support List, Gigabyte