Is it a good thing that the MATX is small?

  The Moppit 19:50 16 Dec 2005


I am about to purchase a new PC and have found some rather good offers. One PC is very good value in my eyes however my brother told me that the motherboard and case was not very good. It is a Micro-ATX motherboard and case. I am told that because it is small it has dissadvantages being that it is not very easy to upgrade later on. Apparently because it is small there is not as much scope for upgrading. My main concern is if I wish to upgrade the processor I may need a bigger motherboard. Which in turn I would need a larger case. Would this happen? Would I be better of purchasing a larger case and different motherboard? And are there any other problems that arise when using a Micro-ATX case that I should be aware of?

  Belatucadrus 02:28 17 Dec 2005

Upgrading on a MATX board tends to be a case of replacing rather than adding on, because the size limitation usually means fewer available PCI and RAM slots. What you need to add on will also be defined by the board, many come with integral LAN & USB sockets and onboard sound and graphics leaving more choice as to what to fit in the available slots.
The ability to upgrade your processor is not affected by the physical size of the mother board, the boards develop in tandem with the chips and a new small mobo will take a faster processor than an old large one. If you look at the MOBO manufacturers website you should be able to find out what range of chips will fit the board.
As to MATX cases, some are smaller than others being limited to 1 or 2 5.25" bays and a 3.5". Others are more generous. It's down to personal choice, how many drive bays do you think you'll need ? Some people find a 3.5 floppy and a combi drive sufficient. Others want tape drives and integral card readers. Only you will know if the case is big enough.
Post details of what you're looking at maybe somebody here already has one and can give their views on it.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 08:23 17 Dec 2005

The only upgrades that I have ever done on my own computers was to add more memory. I've found that upgrading a processor tends to make little visible difference. If you are an avid gamer then you may be upgrading. If you are not really into games it is unlikely that you will need to upgrade for 10 years or so.


  The Moppit 11:56 17 Dec 2005

Thank you. I do not plan todo to much gaming. What I wish to do is purchase it with an 80 GB harddrive and then put in one of my 20 GB HD's when it arives. That is where I store all my docs on. The 80 GB will be for programs and windows system files (although I probably wont need a full 80GB).

I am not very good at finding out information on particular motherboards and cases so please could someone tell me weather I could fit 1 CD/DVD writer combo drive in, 2 Harddrives (I dealy 3) and at least 2 slots for RAM. The Case and motherboard I plan to get is:

Motherboard: MSI KM4M-V Graphics SocketA Micro-ATX

Case: SunTek Black TH-613X Micro-ATX Case 300W

Please tell me weather all this will fit in the one case and motherboard.


  Belatucadrus 15:55 17 Dec 2005

click here is the MSI page for the KM4M-V. As I suspected it has onboard LAN, USB2, Graphics & sound. So will work out of the box, leaving 3PCI slots and an AGP 8X free for expansion and upgrades. If you were really concerned about keeping cutting edge, then maybe a board with a PCI express slot instead of AGP for the graphics cards, but AGP technology is going to be around for a good few years yet and I suspect only hard core gamers can spot the difference.

click here TH-613X case review seems OK for two hard drives, doubt you'll get an MATX case to take three.
As to using an 80GB for programs and system files, to say you probably won't need 80GB is an understatement of heroic proportions, try partitioning the drive.

On the face of it a nice system with enough expansion potential for 99.9% of users. But it's your choice in the end.

  DieSse 16:24 17 Dec 2005

This is my personal take on what you suggest.

For several hard drives and a DVD burner, a micro-ATX case is not ideal. It has restricted room, and will get quite warm inside with 4 drives. Also a 300W PSU will be on the light side with that many drives.

So I would prefer to use a larger case, with a larger PSU, and larger slower cooling fans for less noise.

  The Moppit 16:33 17 Dec 2005

O.K. so could I just get a bigger case and use the smaller motherboard. Or should I get a different motherboard aswell?

  DieSse 16:38 17 Dec 2005

Motherboard looks fine to me for an all-in-one. It's got all the facilities and some upgrade potential.

I'm not sure abt micro-ATX boards and standard cases - maybe someone else will know - or the specs will tell you.

  DieSse 16:40 17 Dec 2005

FRom the picture on the spec page, it looks fine for a larger case.

  The Moppit 17:40 17 Dec 2005

Thank you, I know he Micro-ATX Motherboard is compatible with a larger case as I am chosing the parts and someone is putting it together for me and they would say if it doesnt fit properly. With the MATX case and Motherboard there seems to be enough space for 4 slots of ram and 3 hard drives + 1 CD/DVD burner combo dirve. However with 3 hard drives in you say it may get hot. Should I buy some new fans? Or just spend an extra £20 on the larger case to keep it nice and cool as I dont want it getting to hot. I want to squeze as much 'omph' out of it without overclocking and keeping the components cool I know helps, even if it is just a small amount.

  Belatucadrus 21:26 17 Dec 2005

Not with the KM4M-V there isn't, 2 slots only.
Case fans are cheap and easy to fit.

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