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Types of Motherboards

Motherboards come in different sizes, known as form factors. The most common motherboard form factor is ATX. The different types of ATX are known as micro-ATX (sometimes shown as µATX, mini-ATX, FlexATX, EATX, WATX, nano-ATX, pico-ATX, and mobileATX). A smaller form factor is ITX, which comes in mini-ITX, nano-ITX, and pico-ITX sizes. Some motherboards, such as the NLX and LPX form factors, had a riser board that attached to the smaller motherboard. Adapters go into the slots on the riser board instead of into motherboard slots. Figure 3.39 shows some of the motherboard form factors.

Figure 3.39

Figure 3.39 Motherboard form factors

The BTX form factor was intended to replace ATX. But further development of the BTX standard was canceled in favor of propriety form factors. Within the BTX family of form factors are the smaller versions called microBTX (sometimes shown as µBTX), nano-BTX, and pico-BTX. The WTX (for Workstation Technology Extended) is an older form factor that is larger than ATX or BTX and was used with high-end workstations, such as those with multiple processors and more drives.

Figure 3.40 shows many of the motherboard components labeled on an older motherboard. A technician should stay current on motherboard technologies.

Figure 3.40

Figure 3.40 Motherboard components on an older motherboard

Manufacturers sometimes design a case so that it requires a proprietary motherboard. With such a design, a replacement motherboard must be purchased from the original manufacturer and is usually more expensive than a generic option.

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