What Is a Mini ITX Motherboard and What Are Its Products? [MiniTool Wiki]
Introduction to the Mini ITX Motherboard
What is a Mini ITX motherboard? Developed by VIA Technologies in 2001, it is a 17 × 17 cm (6.7 × 6.7 in) motherboard, which is usually used in small configuration computer systems.
Initially, the Mini ITX motherboard was a niche product designed to achieve fan-less cooling with a low-power consumption architecture, which made it very suitable for home theater PC systems, because, in this system, fan noise would reduce the cinema experience.
The four mounting holes on the Mini ITX motherboard are aligned with the four holes on the ATX specification motherboard, and the positions of the backplane and expansion slot are the same (although one of the holes used in the earlier version of ATX specification was optional). Therefore, if required, Mini ITX motherboards can usually be designed for ATX, Micro ATX, and other ATX variants.
Related post: Micro ATX VS Mini ITX: Which One Should You Choose?
Mini ITX Motherboard Products
Many manufacturers have released Mini ITX motherboards with embedded CPUs, usually in mobile or low TDP versions. These processors are designed to consume minimal power, thereby reducing the ideal value of TDP, suitable for fanless (passive cooled) configurations and embedded applications.
Starting from LGA 775, Intel and Zotac have released Intel Mini ITX motherboards with sockets. Then came the LGA 1156 motherboard. Starting from LGA 1155, Mini ITX motherboards have begun to become mainstream, and many different manufacturers were releasing products.
Due to the limitations of the Mini ITX design and the physical size of the LGA 2011 socket, Mini ITX motherboards with sockets only support a single PCI Express expansion slot, so they need to use the narrow ILM version of LGA 2011 socket. Nevertheless, the manufacturers have released a Mini ITX motherboard based on LGA 2011.
In addition, Mini-ITX motherboards with LGA 2066 sockets have also been released, with four SODIMM slots.
Related post: Full Introduction to DIMM (Dual In-Line Memory Module)
Many manufacturers have released several AMD Mini ITX motherboards with sockets that support Socket AM2, Socket AM2+, Socket AM3, Socket FM1, Socket FM2, Socket FM2+, Socket AM1, and Socket AM4 CPUs. Socket AM2+ and AM3 ITX motherboards have integrated motherboard graphics, while other platforms require independent graphics or processor-integrated graphics.
Mini ITX motherboards with integrated AMD CPUs have also been released. These motherboards usually use mobile CPUs and passive cooling, and compared with similar Intel products, they have more powerful integrated graphics, which makes them very suitable for HTPC.
IBASE manufactured the first Transmeta-based Mini ITX motherboard - MB860. The motherboard uses Transmeta Efficeon processors running at up to 1.2 GHz. It supports SODIMM DDR modules with a capacity of up to 1 GB. The onboard 16 MB ATI M7 graphics controller supports 3D games and graphics-intensive programs. It provides four USB 2.0 ports, a Realtek 8100C 10/100Mbit/s BaseT Ethernet and an optional 8110S Gigabit Ethernet controller.
Eyetech produced the first PowerPC motherboards in 2005, but ceased any activities in 2005. Therefore, ACube Systems has manufactured a new motherboard - Sam440ep, which is mainly used in the AmigaOS market.
Cadia Networks has developed a Mini ITX ARM board with an ARM Cortex-A8 Freescale i.MX53 series CPU. According to the website, the board “provides an ultra-low-power SoC with various I/O and OS support for Android/Linux2.6/Windows Embedded Compact 7”.
Kontron has also developed a Mini ITX ARM board. According to the website, it has “ARM Cortex-A9 Quad-Core 900MHz Processor with NEON technology”, Nvidia graphics processor, 2 GB RAM, and the target power consumption of the entire board is less than 7W.
AppliedMicro provides the XC-1 Server Development Platform motherboard, which adopts the X-Gene ARMv8 system on a chip with 8 2.4 GHz CPU cores, uses 16 GB DIMMs to support 128 GB DDR3 DRAM, and has a baseboard management controller.
Related post: [2020 Guide] How to Choose a Motherboard for Your PC
To sum up, this post is mainly talking about the Mini ITX motherboard, and after reading this post, you can also know its different products produced by different companies.