Micro ATX motherboards and a budget price general go together. Whenever one aims to build a custom PC for themselves at a budget, micro ATX form factors generally comes into the mind.
One of the best aspects about micro ATX motherboards is that they not only have a budget price, they also offer more than just the essential features and at the same time promote compactness and ease of build.
As such, the micro ATX motherboards are better suited for gamers on a budget as well as for essential home or office users.
In this article we will review some of the best budget micro ATX motherboards you can buy in 2021.
Comparison of Top Budget Micro ATX Motherboard
|ASUS Prime |
|ASUS TUF |
List of Best Budget Micro ATX Motherboards in 2021
The following motherboards from Intel and AMD are among the cheapest for the newer generation processors.
- Gigabyte A520M AORUS Elite – Recommended AM4 Budget Micro ATX Motherboard – AM4
- GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H – AM4 – Recommended Ultra Budget mATX Motherboard for AMD
- GIGABYTE B365M DS3H – LGA1151 – Recommneded Budget mATX Motherboard for Intel
- ASUS Prime B460M – LGA 1200 – For the 10th Gen Intel Processors
- ASUS Prime B550M – New AMD Chipset B550 with PCIe v4
- ASUS TUF Gaming B550M – Budget Gaming Motherboard with mATX form Factor for Crossfire
1. Gigabyte A520M AORUS Elite – Recommended AM4 Budget Micro ATX Motherboard – AM4
If you are planning on building a budget system either for gaming, professional work, home or office, then this is an option we highly recommend.
The A series motherboard for AMD are considered the most affordable models out there. However, the latest 500 series brings with it a few important changes.
For starters this motherboard comes with built in support for the newer Ryzen processors. The older A320 motherboards may require a BIOS update in order for them to run the newer generation of Ryzen processors.
Secondly, both the CPU and the general purpose lanes on this motherboard conform to the PCIe v3.0 standard.
Besides that, we are a big fan of the overall design of this motherboard. For a cheap price tag, you are essentially getting a gaming motherboard here. It has a sturdy and a reinforced PCIe x16 slot along with good heatsinks and powerful VRM with a phase power design of 5+3.
While this has a micro ATX form factor, it offers only a single PCIe x16 slot as most budget motherboards do. Plus the A series only has support for a single X16 PCIe slot anyways.
So if you are looking for a quality oriented option, then this the best budget Micro ATX motherboard in our opinion for AMD builds.
2. GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H – AM4 – Recommended Ultra Budget Micro ATX Motherboard for AMD
One of the most affordable micro ATX motherboard for AMD builds out there. For Ryzen 1, 2, 3.
There are budget motherboards, and then there is this. If you are looking to build the most affordable PC with an AMD processor then we highly recommend. It features an AM4 socket and therefore can work with the latest AMD Ryzen processors.
One caveat here is that you may need to update the BIOS in order to use it for the latest Ryzen Gen 3 or 5 processors IF the motherboard does not come factory updated.
Now this is as affordable as it can get. If you are trying to save each and every dime while still maintaining the quality of a respectable brand name, then this is a great option .
Of course, you must realize that this is a bear minimum product. It only offers a single PCIe X16 expansion slot for a single graphics card, only two DIMM RAM slots for 32 GB of RAM and a single M.2 slot for NVME or SATA SSD. On top of that since this is based on the A320 chipset, it does NOT support overclocking.
It does offer 2 x PCIe X1 slot for adding smaller cards such as WiFi but you would not be able to add an extra graphics card on to it.
As such, when buying this motherboard, you must pay special attention to the fact that this motherboard is not built for high performance. It is instead built for simple home and office users.
Hence, whether you are building a PC for your small home office or for simple personal use, you can use this motherboard as the building block for your AMD PC.
3. Asus Prime H310M-E R2.0 – LGA1151 – Recommended Budget mATX Motherboard for Intel
Among the cheapest Intel LGA 1151 based motherboards. For 8th and 9th gen Intel Processors.
Much like the previous motherboard, this is also an affordable option, however, this motherboard features the LGA1151 socket that is suitable for the 8th and 9th gen Intel processors from Core, Pentium and Celeron series.
Like the motherboard above, this is a bear minimum product suitable for basic users. So if you are building a PC for home use, office or even for casual gaming, then this motherboard can come in handy.
This may come particularly handy in instance if you have a very limited budget and you want to maximize your gaming budget on the graphics card. In that case, this motherboard may help you achieve your goal.
As far as the expansion capability goes, this motherboard only has a single PCIe X16 slot and therefore can only handle a single graphics card at a time on a full X16 bandwidth.
However, this motherboard does have a few tricks up its sleeve that makes it better than the previous motherboard.
For starters, this can support a higher amount of RAM thanks to 4 x DIMM slots as compared to the GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H above. Furthermore, it also features the large PCIe X4 slot which you can use for expansion cards that require a higher bandwidth such as SSD expansion card or RAID controllers.
Finally, while the previous motherboard only features 4 x SATA 3 slots, this has 6 SATA 3 slots giving you more hard disk expansion capability.
All in all, if you are looking to build an affordable Intel build, then this is the best budget micro ATX motherboard.
4. ASUS Prime B460M – LGA 1200 – For the 10th Gen Intel Processors
Affordable Micro ATX board for LGA 1200 builds. For 10th gen Intel Processors.
Next up we have a basic and a budget motherboard with the Intel LGA1200 socket. This is the socket used by the latest 10th and 11th gen Intel processors.
Therefore, if you are planning on building an inexpensive PC whether for work or for gaming with the latest 10th or 11th Gen Intel processors, this motherboard will enable you to save up on cost.
It should be noted that while it is a cheap LGA1200 motherboard, it is more expensive than the two motherboard we reviewed above. Since it features the latest socket, it does tend to cost a bit higher than motherboards with older sockets.
The good news however is that it has a newer chipset, it offers better VRMs, heatsink, a larger number of VRMs as well as LED lights for the enthusiasts out there.
When it comes to expansion, it offers a single PCIe X16 slot like most budget mATX motherboards out there. Along with that it also offers 2 x PCIE X1 slots.
One lucrative feature this motherboard offers is that it has 2 x M.2 expansion slot instead of just one as is common on most budget motherboards. Both can support NVME SSDs.
As far as the RAM expansion goes, this can support upto 128 GB. It is highly unlikely that you would ever come even close to this in the near future for your budget build.
So in short, if you want to build a budget setup with the latest 10th gen Intel processors, then this is the best budget micro ATX motherboard in our opinion.
5. ASUS Prime B550M-A – New AMD Chipset B550 with PCIe v4
AMD AM4 motherboard with the latest B550 chipset. Factory BIOS updated for Ryzen 3, PCIe v4, WiFi 6.
This is slightly more expensive than the rest mentioned here, but if you are looking to build an AMD system that is future proof and has support for the latest Ryzen processors from the get go, then this is the motherboard we recommend.
For starters, this motherboard offers the latest B550 chipset with the AM4 socket. The great thing about this chipset is that it does not require a BIOS update in order to use the Ryzen Gen 3 processors.
In motherboards with older chipsets such as B450, you may be required to update the BIOS if you want to use the latest Gen 3 processors.
On top of that, this chipset conforms to the latest PCIe 4.0 protocol making it very future proof. It also has support for WiFi 6, has better heat sinks and a better phase power design making it great for casual gamers and heavy users.
As far as the expansion capability goes, it is minimal. It offers a single PCIe X16 slot for the graphics card and 2 x PCIE X1 slot for smaller cards. It also does not do extraordinarily on the SATA port department as it only offers the average of 4 SATA 3 ports.
One upside here is that it does offer 2 x M.2 slots with support for NVME SSD on each.
As we saw in the table above, the B series of chipset is considered the mainstream chipset. In terms of cost and performance it lies between the A and the X series. It benefits from newer PCIe version, more high speed USB ports, and can cater to a reasonable degree of overclocking due to a better phase power design.
In short, if you are going for respectable AMD build, then this is the best budget micro ATX motherboard we can recommend.
6. ASUS TUF Gaming B550M – Budget Gaming Motherboard with mATX form Factor for Crossfire
Affordable gaming grade micro ATX motherboard with B550 AMD chipset and PCIe v4.0.
Finally here we have a micro ATX motherboard that is more or less catered towards the enthusiasts as compared to average users.
Naturally this is the most expensive motherboard in this list since the primary audience of this motherboard are gamers and heavy users.
This is an AMD AM4 motherboard with the latest B550 chipset suitable for the latest Ryzen processors. It offers the latest PCIe 4.0 protocol, WiFi 6 protocol, faster USB ports and a better phase power design compared to basic motherboards.
As such, if you want to overclock, you would be able to do so thanks to its excellent VRM design and larger heat sinks.
Unlike the previous motherboards mentioned here, this motherboard offers 2x PCIE X16 slots. One of these slots works at X4 bandwidth and the other works at full X16 bandwidth.
Hence, if you ever choose to build an AMD Crossfire setup with dual graphics card, you would be able to do so with this. This is because AMD Crossfire can work with only X4 bandwidth.
The way this would work is that if you have only a single graphics card, you must install it in the first PCIe X16 slot that has the full X16 bandwidth.
When you choose to install a second graphics card, install it in the second X16 slot with the X4 bandwidth.
So in short, if you are gamer looking to build an affordable AMD rig, then this is the best budget micro ATX motherboard in our opinion.
Additional Resources for Budget mATX Builds
What is a Budget Micro ATX Motherboard?
Motherboards range in price drastically. They can range anywhere from $50 all the way to $500 and even more.
There are a few factors that contribute heavily to their overall budget.
Chipset is an Important Cost Factor
Chipsets play a very important role in determining the overall price of the motherboards.
A cheaper or and older chipset offers fewer PCIe lanes, has a few USB ports, older protocols for PCIe, USB and WiFi and support weaker processors.
Budget Chipsets are usually found on motherboards with low quality thermal components as well.
The following is a brief look at the popular consumer grade AMD and Intel Chipsets
- A Series: Budget
- B Series : Mid Range
- X Series: High Performance
The most current series is the 500 series for AMD chipsets i.e X570.
- H Series: Budget
- B Series: Mid Range
- Z Series: High Performance
The most current series is the 400 series for Intel Chipsets i.e Z490.
For Micro ATX motherboard at a budget, you are probably looking at A and Series from AMD and H and B Series from Intel.
Form Factor and Price
The size of the motherboard does contribute to the overall price. Larger motherboard such as ATX or EATX motherboards do have a higher cost due to their large expansion capability.
Micro ATX motherboards happen to be the most affordable given a certain set of features. Both the larger ATX and the smaller Mini ITX motherboards tend to be more expensive.
The smaller Mini ITX is more expensive due to the nature of its compact design.
Expansion Capability Adds to the Cost
The higher the number of expansion slots both in the form of PCIE slots, M.2 and SATA slots, the more expensive a motherboard generally is.
A higher number of PCIE slots generally means that the motherboard features a premium chipset with a higher number of lanes.
The amount of RAM a motherboard can support also matters.
Other features like video output ports, USB ports, Thunderbolt port etc all add to the overall cost of the motherboard.
Thermal Components and Phase Power Design
What separates an overclocking premium motherboard from a budget one? It is usually the type of thermal design it has.
This relates to higher number of VRMs, better quality chokes and capacitors and larger heat sinks.
Some premium motherboards have unique chips that contribute to better voltage control on the board particularly for overclockers.
WiFi and Other Features
Built in WiFi is another feature that has a direct relationship to the overall cost. When choosing a budget motherboard, try to look for one that does not offer a built in WiFi.
The type and quality of WiFi also matters for the overall cost.
Other features such as gaming mode and controls and RGB lights also a play a role in overall price.
Why Go For Micro ATX Form Factor?
Micro ATX motherboards have just the right kind of expansion slots and features and have the perfect price tag for most users.
Let us look at them in a bit more detail:
A micro ATX motherboard has a dimension of 9.6 x 9.6 inches. This is smaller than the larger ATX motherboards that have a dimension of 12 x 9.6 inches and are larger than the Mini ITX motherboards that have the dimension of 6.7 x 6.7 inches.
When it comes to providing value for budget users, micro ATX motherboards stand out the most.
They are cheaper than ATX motherboards due to their lower expansion capability in comparison.
Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, they are also cheaper than Mini ITX mobos which do tend to charnge a premium for their compactness.
A budget micro ATX motherboard generally has a single X16 PCIe slot which is good enough for most users who want to add a single graphics card. They also offer an average of 4 x SATA3 slots, one or two M.2 slots and plenty of USB ports.
Some of the more expensive mATX motherboards may also offer 2 x PCIe X16 slot particularly for users who want to have a dual graphics card setup.
Compared to ATX this is a lower number of expansion slots as ATX motherboard can easily feature 3 x PCIE X16 slots. However, , the mATX motherboards are more expandable.
The best budget micro ATX motherboard for you depends upon a lot of factors as we discussed. Do you want an AMD or an Intel build, and what kind of features are you looking for?
The point to note here is that the term “budget” is relative. Micro ATX motherboards can range in price from $50 to about $300 easily.
If you are a home or an office user “budget” would mean going for the cheapest possible motherboard i.e under $100 range. If you are a gamer, “budget” would mean going for something that is under $200 range.
Hence, in this article we highlighted a few motherboards that may appeal to either of the budget home user or gamers.