If you’re planning on building a mini PC, the first thing you’ll need is a small motherboard. In this guide, we’ve rated and reviewed seven of the best mini-ITX motherboard options for Intel or AMD-based builds.
In the modern world of PC hardware and system-building, many tech enthusiasts are dropping the “bigger is better” adage for smaller systems and more compact hardware. Rather than trying to build the biggest and baddest system around, many have instead opted to see how powerful of a system they could put inside of a small form-factor case. And, of course, with the rise in popularity of these smaller systems, more and more compact hardware options are arising.
However, the first two components you’ll need to choose (aside from your processor) if you are building a small form-factor PC, is your case, and your motherboard. You can check out our picks for the top mini-ITX cases here, but after you choose your case, you’ll want to start looking for a mini-ITX motherboard to go along with it. So, in this guide, we’re going to list some of the best mini-ITX motherboards currently available for both Intel and AMD-based systems at various price points and chipsets.
A Quick Look at the Best Mini-ITX Motherboards
While we’ve listed seven of the top mini-ITX motherboard options in this guide, we’ve picked out four of them as the best options in four different categories. Below is a quick-look table that showcases our four selections for the best Z370 mini-ITX motherboard, the best X470 mini-ITX motherboard, the best affordable mini-ITX motherboard for Intel-based systems, and the best affordable mini-ITX motherboard for AMD-based systems.
*If you click on the “Read Review »” you’ll be take to our overview on each of the mini-ITX motherboards listed above. We’ve also chosen three motherboards as Honorable Mentions and you can scroll down this post to read their overviews, too.
High-End Z370 Mini-ITX:
ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I
If you’re planning on building a high-end Coffee Lake gaming computer and you want to have the option to overclock your processor, then perhaps your best option is the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I. At just under $200, the Z370-I is currently the most expensive Coffee Lake mini-ITX motherboard available.
The Z370-I features dual M.2 ports (the slots have a heatsink), USB 3.1, ASUS’s Aura Sync RGB lighting (and RGB headers), and support for up to 32GB of DDR4 memory with a clock rate potential of as high as 4333MHz after overclocking. It also comes with plenty of ASUS-specific features and settings as well, including 5-Way Optimization and FanXpert 4.
The Z370-I also comes with a dual-band 802.11AC Wi-Fi antenna extension for improved connectivity if you do opt to use the built-in wireless adapter and it has three separate 4-pin PWN fan headers as well.
Ultimately, if you have a large budget and are looking for the best mini-ITX motherboard to build a small-form-factor Intel-based system with, then the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I is probably your best option.
High-End AM4 Mini-ITX:
ASUS ROG Strix X470-I
For our top X470 motherboard we’ve again chosen ASUS ROG Strixwift -I option. The ASUS ROG Strix X470-I is a pretty similar offering to their Coffee Lake variant listed above. And, if it seems like we’re playing favorites, the reality is that the ROG Strix X470-I is really the only ultra high-end X470 mini-ITX motherboard available.
For features, the X470-I comes with the same dual M.2 slots and heatsink that is found on the Z370-I. It also comes with ASUS’ Aura Sync RGB lighting and RGB headers, and it comes with the same add-on Wi-Fi antenna as well.
The X470-I can hold up to a maximum of 32GB of DDR4 memory, it features 8-channel HD audio, and it comes with ASUS’ own 5-Way Optimization, Auto-Tuning, and FanXpert 4 overclocking settings. The motherboard also comes with a pre-mounted I/O shield, which is nice, because that means you won’t have to waste time installing it.
Overall, just like ASUS’ Z370-I is the best high-end mini-ITX motherboard for Coffee Lake-based systems, the ASUS ROG Strix X470-I is the best mini-ITX motherboard for builds that will feature a 2nd generation Ryzen processor.
Affordable LGA 1151 Mini-ITX:
MSI H310I PRO
While mini-ITX-compatible components come in at a premium, that doesn’t mean that budget-oriented builders can’t build a small-form-factor system. Fortunately, if you’re willing to go with an Intel-based system, you can land yourself a quality mini-ITX motherboard for under $100. The MSI H310I Pro comes in at just under $80 and will give you everything you need in order to build a solid mini-ITX system.
The H310I Pro comes with support for up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, an M.2 slot that you can use to install an NVME SSD in, MSI’s storage-performance-boosting feature X-boost, and a steel-coated PCI-e lane to support heavier graphics cards.
However, it should be noted that the H310 chipset is pretty well stripped down. It doesn’t offer support for dual channel memory configurations and it doesn’t come with USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports (it does have USB 3.1 Gen. 1 ports, though.) So, if those lack of features is a deal-breaker for you, you might want to check out the slightly more expensive B360 chipset motherboard listed below.
Ultimately, if you’re working with a tight budget and you want to build a mini PC, your only real option would be to go with a Coffe Lake-based build, as there are no real affordable mini-ITX motherboard options available for 2nd generation Ryzen processors (although, for 1st generation Ryzen chipsets, like the B350 chipset, there are some more affordable mini-ITX options). And, of the ultra affordable Intel-based mini-ITX motherboards out there, the H310I Pro is probably the best (and most affordable) option.
Affordable AM4 Mini-ITX:
MSI B450I Gaming Plus
While there are currently no 2nd generation AM4 chipset mini-ITX motherboards available for under $100, the most affordable option is the MSI B450I Gaming Plus. At ~$115, the MSI B450I will give AMD fans the option to build a mini-ITX system with a 2nd generation Ryzen processor without completely breaking the bank.
The B450I comes with support for up to 32GB of DDR4 memory that can reach speeds as high as 3466MHz (through overclocking), will allow for mild overclocking on the CPU, and gives you MSI’s Game Boost, GAMING Hotkey, and X-Boost settings.
Overall, you don’t have a ton of affordable mini-ITX 2nd generation AM4 motherboard options out there. But, if you are looking for a moderately-priced option, the MSI B450I Gaming Plus would be worth considering.
Honorable Mention #1:
If you want to build a Coffee Lake-based system that will support overclocking, but you would like a more affordable alternative option to the ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I, then ASRock’s Z370M-ITX/AC might be the option for you.
At just under ~$140, the Z370M-ITX comes in at over $60 less than the ROG Strix Z370-I. And, as it is a Z370 chipset motherboard, it can be paired with an unlocked Coffee Lake processor to allow for overclocking.
Aside from that, the Z370M-ITX can hold up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and it also comes with an M.2 port that you can install an NVME SSD in.
But, the bottom line is that, if you want to overclock, but you don’t need all of the fancy features that ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I comes with and you’d rather save some money, the ASRock Z370M-ITX/AC would be a solid choice.
Honorable Mention #2:
Another fairly affordable Intel-based mini-ITX motherboard is Gigabyte’s B360N. At just under $100, it’s not quite as cheap as the MSI H310I Pro, but it does come with some more features.
Intel’s H310 chipset is pretty-well stripped down. While they do come with two DIMM slots, H310 motherboards don’t support dual-channel configurations, so even if you have two memory modules installed in an H310 chipset motherboard, they will be working in single channel configuration. (However, in our post on single channel vs. dual channel memory, we found that, for gaming, there isn’t a significant different in performance between the two.) The H310 chipset also lacks USB 3.1 Gen. 2 ports (instead offering USB 3.1 Gen. 1ports) and doesn’t support Intel’s Optane technology.
So, if those lack of features on H310 chipset motherboards is a problem for you, your next best option for an affordable Coffee Lake mini-ITX motherboard is this Gigabyte B360N motherboard, as the B360 chipset will provide you with those features.
Honorable Mention #3:
ASUS ROG Strix B450-I
Finally, we have ASUS’ ROG Strix B450 mini-ITX motherboard. While the ASUS B450-I is a solid offering, it does come in at nearly ~$45 more than MSI’s B450 mini-ITX motherboard. So, in terms of price-to-performance, MSI’s motherboard would be a better option.
Since the chipsets between ASUS’ B450-I and MSI’s B450I are the same, the only real difference between the two is in aesthetics and the additional features that ASUS has thrown on their board. One of those extra features that might interest you is ASUS’ Aura Sync RGB lighting. If you are planning on adding a bunch of RGB lights to your build, then you might benefit by utilizing Aura Sync in order to control all of your RGB lights through the Aura Sync interface.
You also get ASUS’s 5-Way Optimization, Auto-Tuning, and Fan Xpert 4 overclocking features as well. Although, MSI has similar options for system-tuning. From an aesthetics standpoint, both are pretty nice-looking boards. They both have black PCBs, but the MSI B450I features red accent colors that may or may not work for you.
Ultimately, if you’re to save some money on a 2nd generation AM4 motherboard, you’d probably be better off with the MSI B450I instead of this ASUS ROG Strix B450-I motherboard. However, if you find the extra options that come on the B450-I are worth the extra $45 in price, then by all means, choose this motherboard instead.
Building A Mini PC? These Mini-ITX Motherboards Should Help
If you are planning on building a mini-ITX computer and you’re looking for a solid mini-ITX motherboard to pair it with, one of the options listed above should work for you. After that, you’ll just need a mini-ITX case, a low-profile cooler (or an AIO cooler), and a low-profile graphics card, and you should be set on the small-form-factor components you’ll need in order to build a mini PC.