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Mini ATX or Mini-ATX is a name used for various motherboard form factors, mainly a 15 × 15 cm (or 5.9 × 5.9 inches) size developed by AOpen Inc.. This Mini-ATX definition is slightly smaller than Mini-ITX. There is no single widely accepted form factor by this name.
Mini-ATX motherboards were designed with MoDT (Mobile on Desktop Technology) which adapt mobile CPUs for lower power requirements and less heat generation, which may be beneficial for home theater PCs (HTPC), in-car PCs, or industrial use.
With dimensions of 15 × 15 cm (5.9 × 5.9 in), a Mini-ATX motherboard can be placed into a single DIN space for standardized application conditions such as a car, rack mount, tower case, wall mount, etc. which may be impossible for a Mini-ITX form factor. The smaller form factor Nano-ITX motherboard lacks a CPU socket module which limits its flexibility for different applications.
Due to a mobile CPU having lower power requirements, there is less heat generated by the CPU and internal components, and the thermal design is simplified. With its passive cooling design, it is typically noiseless and the manufacturing costs and overall operating power requirements are lower relative to active cooling designs.
The DC-to-DC converter solution design removes the power supply unit from a Mini-ATX case. This reduces the system size and an external power supply unit brings more flexibility when deploying system.
- PCGuide on Mini ATX and other ATX form factors: http://www.pcguide.com/ref/case/formATX-c.html
- PCtechguide on the ATX form factor: https://www.pctechguide.com/motherboards/atx-form-factor
- Other form factors information from C&T: http://www.codesandtutorials.com/hardware/computerfundamentals/motherboard-types-form_factor.php