Ryzen has had a good start – it was one of the most well received CPU launches in years. However, even though the large X370 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
- Amazing build quality
- RGB lighting
- Great on board audio
- WIFI & Bluetooth built in
- Two M.2 PCIe slots
Our Rating: 9.2/10
Even though the new Ryzen CPUs are getting more and popular, there are still just a small number of mini-ITX AM4 motherboards on today’s market. ASUS decided to get into the game as soon as possible – the result is the Rog Strix B350-I Gaming. Let’s see what it has to offer!
This is one of the best, if not the best one, mini-ITX motherboards for those looking for a platform for their precious new AMD Ryzen processor. Its look and feel are quite similar to that of the full-sized B350/X370 models, as it features a touch of RGB lighting that’s combined with the usual metallic/silver accents. It sports the AMD’s B350 chipset (hence the name) and supports all AM4 Ryzen CPUs. Just like we expected, the model provides two DDR4 memory slots that are capable of supporting the maximum of 32GB of RAM (3200MHz).
Just like all other mini-ITX models, this one also has the typical PCIe x16 slot for your graphics card. There are also a number of USB ports, ranging from the usual 2.0 ones to the modern 3.1 Gen 2 ports. The motherboard also has an M.2 slot for your M.2-based SSDs, as well as the Wi-Fi connection, an I211-AT Ethernet port (provided by Intel), and four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports. When it comes to sound, the Rog Strix B350-I sports the SupremeFX 8-channel HD audio.
A motherboard in 2018 can’t be without RGB features, and, fortunately, the Rog Strix B350-I Gaming comes with the RGB lighting system and the dedicated software for it (ASUS’ Aura Sync RGB). It also has a dedicated header for your AIO pump, as well as the typical headers for the chassis and CPU fans.
In our opinion, the Asus Rog Strix B350-I Gaming is an excellent choice for all those planning to build their new gaming system using a Ryzen CPU. Even though it’s a bit pricey, the model is packed with features and offers a stellar performance, which is precisely what we expected from a manufacturer with a reputation such as ASUS’s. Purchasing this mini-ITX motherboard can’t really turn out as a mistake.
- Affordable price
- Two HDMI ports (for APU’s)
- WIFI & Bluetooth built in
- M.2 PCIe slot
Our Rating: 9/10
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
Our Rating: 8.8/10
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 x 16 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.
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 optical drives and internal hard drives your model will be able to support. For general use, our advice would be to get a motherboard with at least three such connectors. The reason behind this is that you’ll be able to install both a DVD drive and the primary hard-drive, but still have one empty port for the future upgrades.
Those intending to install a solid state drive (SATA 3) should consider getting a motherboard with a SATA 3 port, as that will allow the drive to work at its full speed.
Selecting the right display ports should be of essential importance for those using integrated graphics. You’ll have to find which display ports 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 for the future.
Since the USB 3.0 standard is slowly gaining widespread use and is a lot faster than the USB 2.0, we advise you to purchase a motherboard that features a USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 port. 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 power-saving computer is quite appealing to a lot of users – not everyone needs a beast with four graphics cards. In such cases, purchasing a mini-ITX motherboard is imperative, especially if you want to have a PC that’s semi-portable.
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!
If you’re among those who always wanted to build their configuration in a compact case, then you’re aware that doing something like that is impossible without a Mini-ITX motherboard. Due to their limited features, these motherboards are not as popular as their bigger cousins and finding one that’s actually worth the money can be a daunting task.
But that’s why we’re here – we rounded up the most popular models and analyzed them in detail! Our reviews will tell you all about the advantages and flaws of these motherboards, and it’s up to you to select a model that suits your needs the best. Have a good one!