You don’t have to build a PC that takes up half your desk’s space to get excellent results. A mini-ITX motherboard is a great option for anyone looking to build a compact PC without sacrificing too much on performance.
It’s particularly become a popular form factor for mobile gaming PC builds for PC gamers who want to take their rigs around to esports competitions and friends.
Best Mini-ITX Motherboards
When you talk about motherboards, there’s really one major company that comes to mind: Asus. It’s true that they’ve dominated the motherboard market for decades now, and there doesn’t seem to be a competitor in sight who could usurp their throne.
However, this doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who make great motherboards. There are companies like ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI who also make fantastic motherboards.
We’ve reviewed the 6 best Intel and AMD based mini-ITX motherboards for gaming and other intensive processing requirements. To help you with your purchase, there’s also a buyer’s guide after the reviews highlighting what you should be considering while buying a mini-ITX motherboard.
Our Top Pick
Asus ROG Strix Z390-I
Best Intel mini-ITX Motherboard
The Asus ROG Strix Z390-I is a mini-ITX motherboard that comes with the brand new Z390 chipset. This allows it to run both 8th generation as well as the newest 9th generation of Intel Core i5/i7/i9 processors. Additionally, it is one of the few mini-ITX motherboards that allow up to 64 gigs of RAM.
Though expensive, the ROG Strix Z390-I is the absolute best mini-ITX motherboard for all Intel users because of its overclocking ability, RGB lighting, and widespread processor compatibility.
ASUS ROG Strix X470-I
Best AMD mini-ITX Motherboard
The X470 is AMD’s flagship chipset, and Asus incorporates it into this powerful mini-ITX motherboard along with gorgeous RGB lighting and more. It is one the smallest mini-ITX motherboards out there, which is saying it has something considering how powerful and feature-packed it is.
If you’re going for a compact and powerful Ryzen build and want the best mini-ITX motherboard for it, look no further than the ASUS ROG Strix X470-I.
Small, well-designed, and packed with bright RGB lighting, the Asus ROG Strix Z390 is the latest mini-ITX offering from Asus for Intel processors.
The Z370 has been the go to Intel chipset for the 8th Generation Intel processors, but the newer Z390 chipset offers compatibility for both 9th and 8th Generation processors. This makes the Strix Z390-I more future-proof if you ever want to beef up your processor to a newer generation.
This mini-ITX Asus motherboard comes with everything that makes a mom-board elite. It boasts two PCIe m.2 slots for NVMe SSDs for the fastest read/write performances. You also get front USB 3.1 Gen 2 connections. Additionally, this unique mini-ITX board has the ability to hold a whopping 64GB of DDR4 RAM, which is a rarity in the mini ITX format.
And of course, there’s the RGB. Lots of lights emanate from the edge of the board to put on a colorful exhibition that shows your rig means business.
- RGB integrated into the motherboard
- Multiple PCIe m.2 slots
- Tons of memory capacity
- Supports both 8th and 9th generation Intel processors
Asus decided that for some strange reason, the mini-ITX motherboard with the AMD AM4 socket should be a lot smaller than the Intel counterpart. It’s an incredibly tiny motherboard that underscores what the mini ITX form factor is about.
And we absolutely love it. For any compact AMD Ryzen build, this is by far the best mini-ITX mother board you can buy. Not only is it incredibly small, but it is also packed to the brim with all the essential high-end features.
This includes 4 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports at the back, an m.2 PCIe slot with an included m.2 Audio Combo riser to install NVMe SSDs for the fastest read/write speeds possible with modern technology.
Additionally, you get the signature Republic of Gamers RGB lighting for ultimate customizability so you can let the entire world know you’re packing a real beast in there. The BIOS is excellent as well, and there is 5-way optimization to automatically tailor overclocking profiles for the best performance and thermal stability combination.
- RGB goodness
- Incredibly small footprint
- Riser for m.2 SSD NVMe
For anyone not quite ready to accept the scantily available Intel 9th Generation processors, the Msi Z370I Pro Carbon AC mini-ITX motherboard is a great option. This MSI motherboard is in a compact mini ITX form factor that can support a maximum of 32GB DDR4 memory all the way up to a whopping 4600MHz when overclocked.
Like the higher-end Asus motherboards, MSI ornaments their mini ITX product with some gorgeous RGB lighting on the underside of the board. Other standout features include an optical audio out and a TPM header for encrypting your hard drive.
We love almost everything about this motherboard. It’s a compact size and great offerings allow anyone to build a powerful Intel 8th generation based desktop computer. However, there’s one gripe that we do have: no PCIe m.2 slots. It’s not a deal breaker for everyone, but it’s definitely a piece that makes a powerful PC only more powerful.
- RGB goodness
- Very compact
- Powerful RAM overclocking
- Competitively priced for its offering
- No m.2 slots
ASRock has risen to recognition with its motherboards, and their Fatal1ty X470 is our second favorite high-end mini-ITX motherboard for AMD builds. Packing the X470 chipset and the AM4 socket, this motherboard comes with its own RGB system integrated into it.
It features DDR4 RAM compatibility up to 32GB that can be overclocked to more than 3466 MHz. The ASRock Fatal1ty X470 features 2 USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports (2 front and 2 rear), and 4 USB 2.0 ports.
You also get Intel 2T2R Dual band WiFi and the package comes with a customized antenna. We also love that it has support for an m.2 SSD (slot at the back of the board), so you can install the most powerful NVMe SSDs out there for ultra fast read/write speeds.
- RGB lighting
- PCIe m.2 slot
- Competitively priced for its offering
- Some BIOS update issues
The Gigabyte B360N supports Intel 8th Generation processors and is intended to be used with locked Intel processors. If you plan to purchase the Core i5 8400 which we considered currently our favorite CPU for gaming, pairing it with this Gigabyte mother is a great, cost-effective combination that won’t require compromise in gaming performance.
The B360 chipset offers dual channel memory, USB 3.1 generation 2 ports, and more. We consider it a superior chipset for budget mini ITX motherboards than the H310.
Gigabyte’s offering comes with Intel CNVi 802.11ac Wave2 2T2R WiFi and can support a maximum 32GB of DDR4 RAM. Windows by default does not support the wireless adapter of this motherboard, but you can install a separate driver available from Gigabyte’s website.
For less than $100, the Gigabyte B360N is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality motherboard for gaming at a tight budget. Of course, at this price point, you shouldn’t expect an m.2 NVMe slot or other bells and whistles.
- Great value
- Integrated WiFi
- Plenty of fan headers
- Lacks in advanced features
The more affordable option for AMD builds is the ASRock Fatal1ty AB350. This mini-ITX motherboard by ASRock utilizes the less powerful AB350 chipset instead to power AM4 Ryzen CPUs.
You’re still getting plenty from this motherboard though, including a whopping 6 USB 3.1 ports, including a Type-C. However, all these ports are Gen1, not Gen2.
Two DDR4 DIMM slots allow you to install up to 32 gigs of RAM that can be overclocked to more than 3466 MHz. Additionally, you also get an ultra m.2 PCIe slot at the back to install a powerful m.2 NVMe SSD for the best read/write speeds technology can currently offer.
Given the price, it’s a great little offering, though we’d still recommend individuals to save up $25-30 more and buy the X470 version reviewed above instead. Still, if you prefer using the money you save with this for other parts of your build, then this is a solid option where sacrifices are only a few and far.
- Packed with all essential connections
- PCIe m.2 slot
- Competitively priced for its offering
- May require BIOS update for Ryzen 2000 series
- Lacks Gen2 USB 3.0 ports
The debate of which company is making better processors has been over for a while now. Both go neck and neck in their performance and appeal, but each caters to a specific computing niche more than another.
Intel still remains the processor brand of choice for gamers as their Core i5, i7, and i9 processors offer the highest clock speeds and, concomitantly, the best overall performance. However, this isn’t to say AMD’s second generation of Ryzen CPUs are bad at gaming – they’re still a fantastic choice for anyone, especially considering how affordable they are.
When it comes to processor intensive tasks requiring multiple cores (video editing, software development, rendering, and more), AMD’s Ryzen reigns supreme. They have Intel beat in these computing niches with their higher end processes (Ryzen 2500 and onward).
Regardless of which you choose, the brand and model of your mini-ITX motherboard will be directly based on the processor choice.
The mini ITX form factor simply doesn’t have enough space to offer more than two DIMMs for your RAM. This, along with the lack of multiple GPU options, are the two biggest limiting factors of the mini ITX form factor.
Regardless, you can still build a powerful computer with a mini-ITX motherboard. All the motherboards we’ve reviewed for Intel and AMD have at least 32GB of RAM available over the two DIMMs, and all of them are dual channel memory capable for better synchronization.
The Asus ROG Strix Z390-I is the only mini-ITX motherboard that supports more than 32GB RAM, but it also costs a lot more than any of the others. Nevertheless, 32GB RAM is more than sufficient for all but the most intensive computational tasks out there.
You’re buying a mini ITX for two reasons: affordability and size. The latter is also dependent on your case. You can fit mini-ITX motherboards in many full ATX cases, but you’re defeating the purpose of choosing such a small form factor in the first place.
It is thus recommended to go for a micro-ATX case or a dedicated mini ITX PC case if you’re buying a mini-ITX motherboard. For gaming and other intensive tasks, we recommend a micro-ATX case that has space for additional fans, a CPU cooler, and good cable management.
If you’re seeking a more portable rig, then a dedicated mini ITX PC case is the way to go.
In addition to offering the most powerful chipsets for Intel and AMD at a more affordable value, the mini ITX form factor also provides users the chance to create a more compact rig. This is usually preferred by gamers who take their rigs to events and those who have little space on their desks.
Can you build a powerful gaming PC with a mini-ITX motherboard?
Absolutely. A powerful Core i7 processor can fit in any Asus ROG Z370 or Z390 mini-ITX motherboard, and you can combine it with 32GB RAM, an m.2 NVMe SSD, a great micro-ATX or mini-ITX case, an Nvidia GTX 1080, and some cooling solutions to create a complete beast of a system.
Are ASRock and Asus the same company?
ASRock started off as a spin-off of Asus, but since July 2010 they have been owned by Pegatron, which is completely independent of Asus. In fact, Pegatron is a competitor of Asus.