Ryzen has had a good start – it was one of the most well received CPU launches in years. And the AM4 has became the main go-to platform for most of gamers and content creators in 2020. However, even though the large X570 motherboards have been stealing the show, there’s been a steady increase in demand for the mini-ITX models capable of hosting the new Ryzen CPUs.
With a new wave of small graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, we think that it’s time to check out the market’s most popular mini-ITX motherboards. We’ll be taking a closer look at their price, features, advantages, and disadvantages – join us and find a model that suits your needs!
Top-Rated AM4 ITX Motherboards
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- Synchronized RGB lighting
- Onboard M.2 Heatsink
- Gaming audio
- Bluetooth v4.2
The ROG Strix motherboards are built to deliver great gaming performance while keeping the load, temperatures, and clocks at a reasonable level. The new X470 chipset allows you to utilize both 1st and 2nd generation of Ryzen processors. On top of that, ASUS has put a lot of effort into allowing users to customize the aesthetic aspect of their motherboard without having to use over-engineered and complex software.
In case you’re looking for a decent motherboard with a healthy amount of useful features, this Mini ITX form factor piece of hardware might be a good choice.
The first thing that separates this particular model from most of the others we have covered is the form factor. It’s very important that you are aware of this because many people make a common mistake of investing in something without covering the basics.
The X470-I Gaming supports up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and up to 3466Mhz if you’re using a Ryzen 2nd generation CPU. On top of that, it offers two M.2 sockets, one on the back of the board, and one on the front. The frontal slot also features a large heatsink which dissipates the heat thus improving your SSD’s performance as well as writing/reading speeds. As far as cooling goes, there are three 4-pin fan headers which can be fully controlled via proprietary software to ensure optimal cooling performance.
When it comes to RGB, there are two lighting zones on this motherboard, one on the rear side of it, and one on the M.2 shroud. Furthermore, there are two RGB headers for additional LED strips. All of these zones can be controlled via Aura Sync software.
- Increased real estate
- WIFI & Bluetooth built in
- USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A connectors
- Good overclocking characteristics
AMD’s newest B450 platform is certainly attracting a lot of attention – it brings 99% of the features found on the bigger X470 platform, and at a reasonable price. The primary difference between these two chipsets is that the B450 can’t split the processor’s PCI-Express lanes to more than just one graphics card, but that doesn’t really matter when it comes to ITX platforms with singular slots. Is Asus’s ROG STRIX B450-I a good choice for your mini-ITX build?
The B450-I GAMING manages to offer a complete array of ROG enhancements with its mini-ITX form factor by having an all-new rinser card that effortlessly increases real estate (it elevates the M.2 storage and onboard audio above the board). It has all the latest connectivity options, support for high-performance memory, intelligent cooling and overclocking, and all the necessary software utilities that effortlessly enhance the user experience – it’s a true gaming powerhouse in a small package.
Despite its small size, the ROG STRIX B450-I GAMING comes with enough features to keep anyone busy for a good while. Its look is, in our opinion, one that passes anything one might consider mainstream level – the metal shielding on the graphics slot and the rear IO bracket are the best examples of this.
The model includes most of the standardized B450 chipset options. There are two full-speed M.2 slots, an IO panel stacked with several USB 3.1 ports, and an audio unit based on Realtek 1220. There’s also a proper 8-pin power connector, a Wi-Fi solution based on an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC module, and the model also supports 32GB of dual channel memory. With B450-I GAMING, you’ll be able to reach 3600MHz in OC mode with the regular Ryzen CPUs.
With this model, a PC enthusiast should be able to do almost everything he could with X470. It is, in our opinion, an excellent option for all those looking to build a mini-ITX gaming rig.
- Great value for the money
- Premium aesthetics
- Integrated IO shield
- Rear IO features Wi-Fi
Based on AMD’s new B450 platform, the Gigabyte B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI is a mini-ITX form factor motherboard that offers an excellent value due to its reasonable price, compact size, and useful features. It is targeted at the budget-conscious users who want good performance without having to sacrifice the good looks and all those necessary characteristics that make a good motherboard
This model comes in beautiful packaging that includes high-end Aorus branding as well as decent motherboard protection. When it comes to accessories, the box contains things such as the Wi-Fi antenna, two SATA 6GB/s, a G-Connector, M.2 screws, the manuals, and the driver DVD – it’s a pretty standard deal. Quite frankly, the motherboard itself looks great – but that’s something we’re used to when it comes to PC components manufactured by Gigabyte.
The model’s rear IO panel comes with a port for the Wi-Fi antenna, DVI port, Gbit Lan, HDMI port, 7.1 audio ports (S/PDIF), USB 3.1 type-C, USB 3.1 type-A, and three USB 3.0 ports. The PCI-Express layout is a simple one due to the fact that the platform doesn’t support SLI – the motherboard’s top slot is directly wired to the CPU (x16). There are also two SATA 6GB/s ports and the 8-pin power connector.
The most significant step down from the company’s X470 boards is the fact that there are only five fan headers here. However, this shouldn’t be a major issue for anybody planning to build a B450-based PC. On the other hand, something that left us quite surprised is the inclusion of an integrated IO shield – it’s not something you can usually find on a $130 mini-ITX motherboard.
Coming at a shockingly affordable price, the Gigabyte B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI offers a great value for the money. If you’d like to save some cash but don’t want to give up on the essential high-end features, it definitely deserves to be on your wish list.
- Beautiful red & black design
- A lot packed in a tiny package
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- PCI-e x4 M.2 slot
Just like the bigger ATX B450 model, the MSI B450I PLUS AC motherboard is also a part of the company’s Gaming Range and therefore shares the similar features and the similar available connections. Besides the form factor, the primary difference between these two boards is the inclusion of the Dual-Band Wi-Fi module provided by Intel. Is it worth your money?
The limitations of Mini-ITX motherboards are shown here through the presence of a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot (full-length), along with the storage options provided by four SATA ports. All of these ports come with straight-angled connectors, which can be found below the model’s 24-pin power input. There’s also a single M.2 slot (supports SATA drives up to M.2 2280 or PCI-Express 3.0 x4), while the 8-pin ATX 12V input provides power to the processor.
When it comes to aesthetics, this Mini-ITX motherboard sports a black PCB with heatsinks that wear the MSI Gaming’s well-known black and red color scheme. Regarding memory support, the B450I GAMING PLUS AC features two slots that can house 32GB of DDR4-3466. Both the ECC DDR4 and non-ECC memory is supported, although it’s worth noting that ECC memory will operate in non-ECC mode.
Taking a look at the unit’s rear panel reveals the total of six USB type-A ports. There are two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.1 (5GBps) ports – unfortunately, the B450I GAMING PLUS AC lacks any kind of type-C connectivity. As we have mentioned in the intro, there’s an Intel 3168 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter that allows installation of the included antennas, as well as the LAN port, HDMI and DisplayPort, and three 3.5mm audio jacks.
If you’re searching for a quality mini-ITX board that will house your brand new Ryzen CPU, this model is a pretty solid choice. The fact that it’s wallet-friendly turns it into an excellent option for the PC enthusiasts with lower budgets.
- Affordable price
- Two HDMI ports (for APU’s)
- WIFI & Bluetooth built in
- M.2 PCIe slot
Due to the fact that Ryzen is finally starting to mature as a platform, we can finally see a higher number of mini-ITX motherboards. ASRock Mini-ITX (AB350) looks like one of the better choices – it sports a solid performance and a nice set of features. Is it worth the money?
The ASRock Mini-ITX Motherboard comes with a pretty standard layout, as it sports all those usual connectors that one would expect. However, there’s one distinctive feature – the inclusion of 2 RGB headers and 3 PWM fan headers, which is more than excellent for a model of this size. One other thing we didn’t expect was the placement of the SATA connectors, which are located on the front side. This shouldn’t be an issue for most people, but it could prove to be problematic with some case layouts.
We were pleased to see 6 USB ports, although we were disappointed by the lack of a USB 3.1 port. However, this certainly isn’t a terrible omission, as two of these ports are 2.0, and there’s also the included Intel Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module (433Mbps). The UEFI solution is an excellent one – the Fatality Gaming BIOS is still one of the best on the market, and it’s a real joy to use it. It features a convenient layout and easy-to-understand descriptions. This, in turn, makes overclocking a breeze. One only has to visit the OC Tweaker tab and easily tweak the speed of his rig’s CPU and RAM.
When it comes to Ryzen motherboards, one of the hottest topics is the VRM temperatures, since the models made by Gigabyte and Biostar are known to have problems with cooling their VRM’s during the overclocking. Even though the ASRock Mini-ITX doesn’t sport temperature sensors, we haven’t noticed any cooling issues – unlike some other models we’ve overclocked, this one wasn’t hot when touched.
As far as we’re concerned, ASRock did a pretty good job with this motherboard. It sports good overclocking features, an excellent performance, and easy-to-use BIOS. It’s definitely one of the best mini-ITX Ryzen motherboards on today’s market.
- RGB lighting
- HDMI & Display port (for APU’s)
- WIFI & Bluetooth built in
- M.2 PCIe slot
We’ve all seen those over-the-top custom builds – they sport things like lots of fans, gigantic AIO coolers, and enough RBG lighting to keep you awake at night. What about the base requirements for a powerful rig, though? This is where the GA-AB350N comes in – it’s a mini-ITX motherboard that offers a lot of functionality despite its small size.
Since this is a compact motherboard, it comes in a packaging that’s as equally small. Just like we expected, the box it arrived in is colorful and features some glossy graphics, with its back being dedicated to information about the model’s features. Along with the motherboard itself, you’ll be getting two discs (regular & Wi-Fi drivers), an IO shield, a Gigabyte sticker, two SATA cables, as well as the Wi-Fi antenna. There’s also some documentation in the form of an installation guide and the user manual.
The dimensions of the Gigabyte GA-AB350N stand at 170 x 170mm, as the model uses a mini-ITX form factor. The 24-pin power connector is situated at the top, while the 8-pin CPU power can be found in the middle just next to the CPU socket and the CPU VRM. The chipset, on the other hand, is situated on the top-left corner, just like the front panel headers, the USB 3.0 header, and the SATA ports. There’s also the standard 2-piece heatsink mounting design for the chipset and the processor VRM, and both of these pieces are held in place by the typical push-pins.
The UEFI is well-designed and straightforward, providing the users with both the Easy and Classic mode. There are six tabs – System Information, Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker (for frequency, memory, and voltage settings), BIOS features, Peripherals, Chipset, and the Power Management. The RGB Fusion software, on the other hand, is equally responsive and offers an outstanding amount of options, which is precisely what we expected from Gigabyte.
Featuring a reasonable price and a ton of useful features, the Gigabyte GA-AB350N-Gaming Wi-Fi is undoubtedly worth considering for purchase. We gladly recommend this one to anyone looking for a good Ryzen mini-ITX model – it’s among the better ones on the market.
Things to Consider Before Buying an ITX Motherboard
The Mini-ITX motherboards had their beginnings in the early 2000s when they started as the embedded circuit boards intended for the industrial use. But, with the rising popularity of the SFF (Small Form Factor) and HTP (Home Theater Personal) computers in the last decade, they have emerged as a popular choice for the pint-sized PCs. They measure 170 x 170mm in size and are capable of hosting powerful components with high performance, which is of crucial importance to all PC enthusiasts.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the things you should consider before buying your first mini-ITX motherboard – read on and make the task of selecting one less daunting.
The Recommended Features
Since these are small-form-factor motherboards, they tend to feature fewer connectors, ports, and slots than the larger models. This means that one has to take some extra care when choosing a mini-ITX motherboard, and ensure that his model has all the necessary features. Here are some of them:
Our advice would be to always go for a PCIe x16 slot. The reason behind that is the fact that such a slot is capable of accepting PCIe x16, x4, and x1 cards. A thing that you shouldn’t forget here is that you’ll have just one slot, so it’s of crucial importance to make it count. Having a PCIe x 16 slot will allow you to use most modern expansion cards(although it’s hard to find a consumer ITX board without an x16 slot nowdays).
In case your budget isn’t that big, and you’re sure that you’ll never need discrete GPUs, purchasing a model with a PCIe x4 or x1 slot is also satisfactory.
The number of SATA connectors, on the other hand, is something that will determine how many internal hard drives and 2.5″ SSD’s your model will be able to support. For general use, our advice would be to get a motherboard with at least two to three such connectors. The reason behind this is that you’ll be able to install both a Blue-ray drive(if your case supports it) and possibly a mechanical hard drive for your game and media library, but still have one empty port for the future upgrades.
Selecting the right display ports should be of essential importance for those using integrated graphics. You’ll have to find which display outputs your monitor is capable of accepting, and then simply ensure that the motherboard features those same ports.
For those planning to connect the PC to a TV, look for a model with an HDMI port. It will allow you to connect the motherboard to almost all modern TVs. An additional benefit is that you’ll need just one cable for both the video and sound – the HDMI is undoubtedly the standard that is here to stay.
Since the USB 3.0 standard is now widespread and is considered a default, we advise you to purchase a motherboard that features at least one or two USB 3.1 ports. This will make using external storage devices, such as external disk drives and flash drives, a lot faster.
The idea of having a small-sized, space-saving and powerful computer is quite appealing to a lot of users – not everyone needs a behemoth with four graphics cards. In such cases, purchasing a mini-ITX motherboard is imperative, especially if you want to have a rig that’s semi-portable and that can possibly fit into your backpack (if you choose the right PC case).
The above mentioned considerations should help you get an efficient model that will serve you for the years to come – we hope we’ve been helpful and we wish you good luck!