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atx form factor

ATX form factor

The ATX form factor is a replacement for the older AT and ATX form factors. Invented by Intel in 1995 it incorporates the first major change in the deployment of computer motherboards that has taken place in years. The ATX motherboard rotates the board direction 90 degrees. 

This allows for a more efficient design with disk drive cable connectors closer to the drive bays and the processor closer to the power supply and cooling fan. All Intel motherboards currently manufactured are ATX motherboards. 

In general, an ATX motherboard is required to use the latest Intel processors. Because of this and the general improvements that ATX brings, the ATX form factor is the form factor chosen in terms of commercial mass production systems and also for home-computer builders.

The form factor of ATX involves changes not only in the design and layout of the motherboard but also in the case and power supply. Improvements and changes are detailed below:

  • Integrated I / O output connectors
  • Integrated PS / 2 mouse connector
  • Drive bay interference is reduced
  • Reduced expansion card interruptions
  • Better power supply connector
  • Soft power support
  • 3.3V power support
  • Better airflow
  • Improved upgrade

There are some clear differences between the ATX and the AT form factor it has replaced. For example, the ATX has an I / O board that is twice the height of the AT board and allows for flexible interface layouts. 

It also has various I / O locations for different CPU memory and drives. These changes provide the following benefits:

• Fewer cables

• Improved reliability

• Support for modern I / O standards such as USB

• Support for integrated graphics

• Larger expansion slots

• Easier CPU and memory upgrades

• Reduced cost

Full-size ATX motherboard 12 inches wide and 9.6 inches deep (305 x 244 mm). There are also several versions of ATX with slightly different form factors. This includes the following:

• FlexATX - 229 × 191 mm (9 × 7.5 inches)

• MicroATX - 9.6 × 9.6 inches (244 × 244 mm)

• Mini ATX - 284 × 208 mm (11.2 × 8.2 inches)

• Extended ATX (EATX) - 305 × 330 mm 12 × 13 inches

• ATX Workstation (WTX) - 356 × 425 mm 14 × 16.75 inches

The ATX specification defines the mounting hole locations meaning that any standard ATX motherboard form factor can be connected to any standard ATX case. 

Smaller boards (such as FlexATX Micro ATX form factor and Mini ATX) have some of the same hole locations so they can be placed in a standard ATX case as well. The universal compatibility of ATX boards and components makes them a popular choice for amateurs who build their PCs.

Motherboard and ATX case design

Advanced Technology extended is the full form of the ATX motherboard. The ATX case looks very similar to the AT baby case except that the holes at the back for the ports and keyboard and mouse connectors have been modified to allow for a different micro ATX form factor motherboard design. 

In particular, the ATX motherboard incorporated I / O ports installed directly on the board edge. Most ATX motherboards have from left to right stacked keyboard and mouse ports stacked USB ports printer and game ports along the top and two serial ports at the bottom. 

This design may be different based on the manufacturer of the motherboard. This allows for much more efficient use of the inner casing area and reduces the number of cables and connectors that may become disconnected or damaged.

ATX form factor cases often have more drive bays for a given case size. For example in the case of an ATX in the middle of the tower, there will often be drive bays more available than an AT package for a baby of the same size. eATX case design usually provides easier access to expansion bays.

The ATX form factor power supply of a computer differs in several important ways. ATX power supplies and motherboards operate at 3.3 volts and below instead of 5 volts reducing the cost of the motherboard energy consumption and heat generation. 

The fan on the power supply is inverted so that it blows air out of the case which helps keep the case clean and reduces heat buildup. This is necessary due to the high heat generated by the new generation of Intel Pentium II / III and AMD processors

The ATX form factor power supply of a computer is turned on and off using an electronic signal instead of a physical toggle switch. 

This allows the computer to be turned on and off through software control thus improving power management and energy-saving features. For this reason, uatx power supplies must be compatible with micro ATX form factor motherboards.

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