Whether you’re looking to build a quiet home theater PC or a super compact gaming rig, the Mini-ITX form factor lets you build the tiny PC of your dreams. Not much wider than one RAM slot, these tiny motherboards don’t have as many PCIe or SATA ports as mATX or ATX, but when your PC is less than half the size of a normal tower, it’s hard to fret over the loss of a few extras. Since Mini-ITX boards are so small, there’s not a huge difference between most models as there’s simply no room to add more features. Therefore, choosing which one is best for your build comes down to your budget, platform choice, desire to overclock, and storage needs. Given these criteria, here are the best Mini-ITX boards for your next tiny build.
Best Budget Intel Board – ASRock H370M-ITX/ac
If you’re looking to build an inexpensive PC with Intel’s latest Coffee Lake processors, look no further than ASRock’s H370 offering. It supports up to 32GB of DD4 RAM, has dual-band 802.11AC Wi-Fi, M.2 storage, and has a steel-reinforced PCIe slot for your graphics card. It’s not the cheapest mini Intel board available—ASRock does have a B360 board that’s $10 less—but the H370 board has four more USB ports, a slightly better audio chipset, dual Intel gigabit LAN ports, an extra HDMI port (instead of a bulky, outdated DVI port), and a TPM header should you want to encrypt your hard drive with a TPM chip (sold separately). That’s a lot of useful extras, so I think it’s worth the extra few bucks.
Best Midrange Intel Board – ASUS ROG Strix H370-I Gaming
If you’re looking to pack a bit of horsepower into your next build, the ASUS ROG Strix H370-I board takes it up a notch. For about $30 more than my budget pick, you get a second M.2 slot, a better audio chipset with optical audio out, Bluetooth 5.0, and some snazzy RGB LEDs on the underside of the board (compatible with ASUS’ Aura lighting control). You do lose one of the HDMI ports, two SATA Ports, and a couple USB 2.0 ports from my budget pick, but overall it’s still a solid upgrade.
Best Intel Board for Overclockers on a Budget – ASRock Z370M-ITX/ac
Intel’s Z370 chipset is required if you want to overclock your Coffee Lake CPU, so if you’re looking to eke out a bit more performance, you’ll need to pony up a bit more cash. Thankfully, at around $134, ASRock’s Z370 board is reasonably priced and surprisingly feature-packed. Just like ASRock’s cheaper offerings, it has dual Intel LAN ports, two HDMI ports, and a TPM header for encrypting your hard drive, so the extra cost is really all about the overclocking features. Unfortunately, you’ll lose USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, but in terms of bang for your buck, this board has almost everything you could want in a mini PC.
Best Do-Anything Intel Board – MSI Z370I GAMING PRO CARBON AC
So you want to overclock, but the ASRock board (above) doesn’t have enough “oomph” for you in the other departments? Enter the MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC, a $175 board with optical audio out, a TPM header for encrypting your hard drive, and some sweet RGB lights on the underside of the board worth showing off. If your other RGB products are ASUS-branded, though, you may want to spring for the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I board, which eschews the TPM header but has two M.2 slots and support for ASUS’ Aura lighting control.
Best Budget AMD Board – ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX/ac
If you’re building an AMD-based machine, you have fewer motherboard choices than with Intel, but that’s okay—the ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 board contains just about everything you could want in a tiny case, at an affordable price. It supports AMD’s Ryzen line of CPUs and APUs (and supports overclocking them!), while offering a whopping six USB 3.1 ports (including one type-C port on the back). On top of that, you get an M.2 slot, dual band 802.1ac Wi-Fi, a rock-solid Intel gigabit LAN port, and a steel-reinforced PCIe slot for your graphics card—plus an RGB header for your light strips, if that’s your thing. This board will rock for pretty much any Mini-ITX AMD build.
Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer, and tech nerd who has been building PCs for 10 years. He eats potato chips with chopsticks so he doesn’t get grease on his mechanical keyboard.