If you are planning on building a minimal and a compact PC then a mini ITX motherboard form factor is the first essential consideration.
The second important consideration is your budget. It would be unwise to spend a pretty penny on a motherboard if you have a limited budget for your overall PC.
Hence, in this article we will look a the best budget mini ITX motherboards for both Intel and AMD builds.
Before we delve into the products, let us first talk about the mini ITX motherboards in brief:
Mini ITX motherboards are the smallest of the three common form factors for desktop PCs, the other two being the medium sized Micro ATX (mATX) and the large ATX.
Mini ITX has a dimension of about 6.7 x 6.7 inches (17×17 cm). It offers minimal expandability and a single PCIe x16 slot. The motherboard can be fitted into a very small case and can also be carried around quite easily.
Comparison of Top Budget Mini ITX Motherboards
|MSI MPG |
|GIGABYTE B550I |
List of Best Budget Mini ITX Motherboards in 2021
The following models are the cheapest and most economical small factor mini ITX motherboards in the market for both AMD and Intel builds.
- ASROCK B460M – LGA 1200 – Highly Recommended Budget Mini ITX Motherboard for Intel
- ASRock B550M ITX/AC – AMD – Recommended for Budget AMD AM4 Build
- MSI MPG B460I Gaming Edge – Gaming Grade For Intel LGA 1200
- GIGABYTE B550I AORUS PRO AX – AMD – Gaming Motherboard for AM4 Build
- ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac – Budget Z490 Mini ITX Motherboard
1. ASROCK B460M – LGA 1200 – Highly Recommended Budget Mini ITX Motherboard for Intel
A highly recommended affordable mini ITX motherboard for entry level setups with LGA 1200 socket.
First up, we have a popular budget mini ITX motherboard. If you want to go straight for the most recommended affordable option for an Intel build, the we this is worth looking into.
For starters, this is NOT the cheapest mini ITX board, however, it offers a great combination of value, reliability as well as functionality.
Secondly, this motherboard offers the latest LGA 1200 socket that is suitable for the latest 10th and 11th gen Intel processors.
Other than that, like most mini ITX motherboards, this too offers a WiFi built in, which in itself is an excellent feature to have at such a low price range.
Furthermore, it features support for 64GB of RAM, has an average 4 x SATA 3 ports, and 1xM.2 slot.
Basically, a motherboard cheaper than this would either lack a WiFi module, have fewer SATA ports or have lower end components.
You should be warned that cheaper sub-components like chokes, capacitors, mosfets etc can lead to unstable computer.
It show also be noted that the motherboard features a mid range B460 chipset. This chipset does not allow for overclocking or support for high performance RAM.
While this is a bland motherboard and may not appeal to gamers and enthusiasts much, if you looking to build a compact rig and you do not care much for looks, large VRMs, etc, then this is the best budget mini ITX motherboard for Intel setup.
2. ASRock B550M ITX/AC – AMD – Recommended for Budget AMD AM4 Build
Next up we have a very similar motherboard as compared to the one above, but for AMD AM4 build.
As such, this is a motherboard is suitable for AMD Ryzen Gen 5, 3, 2 and 1 setup.
Like the motherboard above, this too offers a built in WiFi, a single PCIe X 16 slot and support for a maximum of 32 GB of DDR4 RAM.
However, it does a offer the much coveted USB 3.2 Gen1 Type C port which the motherboard above lacks. Another very important difference between this and the Intel based motherboard above is that this features the latest PCIe V4 standard thanks to the newer B550 chipset.
All in all, if you are looking to build an economical AMD system, then this is the best budget mini ITX motherboard.
Whether you are building a compact gaming rig or a small workstation for your work, this can serve you well.
This is because, if you plan it right, an AMD system with a decent AMD processor can be rather economical.
Also Read: Best Motherboards for Audio Production
3. MSI MPG B460I Gaming Edge – Gaming Grade For Intel LGA 1200
An affordable gaming grade motherboard for Intel LGA 1200 10th Gen processor built.
Compared to the motherboard above, this is an expensive option, however, if you are a gamer looking for a high quality motherboard with not just looks to do justice to gamers but also high quality components, then this is recommended.
Firstly, this is a mini ITX motherboard that features support for the latest Intel 10th and 11th Generation processors with its LGA 1200 socket.
Hence, if you want to build an Intel budget gaming build, then this is the best budget mini ITX motherboard out there.
Other than that, this motherboard hails from a very respected series that almost many gamers are well aware of: MSI MPG.
Being a motherboard built for gamers, it does have more advanced features such as better VRMs, 5.1 surround sound capability with 5 audio ports, large heat sinks, dual M.2 Slots, as well as a dedicated software for boosting and monitoring the performance of the board.
Since this features a resonable power phase design of 6+1+1, and high quality components, you can also use it perfectly well for a decent gaming rig with high performance processors.
Just note that since this is a motherboard with B460 chipset, it does not offer overclocking.
Also, compared to regular B460 chipset motherboards, you can easily deduce the quality of this motherboard by looking at the size of the capacitors, chokes as well as the heatsinks.
This is a motherboard that you would want to show off. The only unfortunate aspect from enthusiast’s point of view is that it lacks RGB lights.
And finally, like the rest of the newer motherboards out there, this features the latest WiFi 6 protocol with faster speeds and a better range.
All in all, if you need a compact solution for your latest Gen Intel processors, then this is the best budget mini ITX motherboard.
4. GIGABYTE B550I AORUS PRO AX – AMD – Gaming Motherboard for AM4 Build
This is the most expensive motherboard in this list, however, as far as AMD gaming built is concerned, this is still one of the cheapest mini ITX motherboards out there.
From its looks to the features, this motherboard reeks of quality from all corners.
For starters, this features the latest AMD B550 chipset which brings with it support for PCIe V4 for CPU lanes which doubles the transfer speed as compared to PCIe v3.
On top of that, it features support for higher number of USB ports including USB 3.2 Gen1 ports as well as offers support for the latest WiFi 6 protocol.
One great attraction of this motherboard is that offers dual HDMI 2.0 ports as well as a DP port. This means that you would be able to connect three displays on to it at once from the get go.
Also unlike the previous motherboard, this also offers RGB lights which would be appreciated by the enthusiasts.
One very unfortunate aspects here is that it only offers 3 x audio ports. At this price you would at least expect 5 audio ports for connecting 5.1 system to it.
Being a high quality gaming motherboard, this features high end components including 90A VRMs (average is 50A). The larger the VRMs the more stable the motherboard would operate. This important particularly for overclocking.
Unlike the B series Intel Chipset motherboards, the B series AMD Chipset motherboards allow for overclocking and support for high performance RAM.
It also feature Q-Flash button on the Rear I/O panel for easily updating the BIOS using a USB drive. Unlike the previous motherboard, it also offers support for O.C memory.
All in all, if you are looking for a high quality gaming option at the cheapest possible rate, then this is the best budget mini ITX motherboard.
5. ASRock Z490M-ITX/ac – Budget Z490 Mini ITX Motherboard
The Z490 chipset is the premium Intel chipset for desktop PCs. Unlike the H and B series, this chipset offers support for overclocking as well as support for high performance RAM.
Hence if you are enthusiast looking for an affordable motherboard with which you can use the rest of your hardware to its maximum capacity, then this is one of the best budget mini ITX motherboards.
Just note that the unlike the more expensive Z490 motherboards, it does not have a very powerful phase power design and hence you must be careful with your overclocking endeavors.
Another important point to note is that the Z series offers a plethora of high speed USB. Hence this motherboard features 4 x USB 3.2 Gen2 USB ports along with 4 x USB 3.2 Gen1 USB ports.
Therefore, the high speed peripherals, such as the newer NVMe External SSDs, would greatly benefit from this.
It features built in WiFi as well as an M.2 slot.
So in short, if you value the powerful Z490 chipset for an Intel build, then we highly recommend this.
What is a Mini ITX Motherboard
A mini ITX motherboard is the smallest form factor for contemporary PC builds. Any smaller than this and you are looking into specialized embedded systems, not general computers.
A mini ITX motherboard holds tremendous value because it promotes a very compact PC build with a very small footprint.
Along with that it offers the following benefits.
This is an often overlooked aspect. A small PC built with a mini ITX form factor is highly portable.
Therefore, if you find yourself moving around a lot, a mini ITX PC can certainly help.
Another important consideration is that the smaller the PC chassis, the more affordable it is.
Therefore, the chassis for building a PC around a mini ITX motherboard would also save you a good amount.
How to Choose the Right Affordable Mini ITX Motherboard
Since you are looking for a budget motherboard, you can keep the following factors in mind that contribute to the overall price.
A mini ITX motherboard is generally more expensive than a budget micro ATX motherboard.
This is for two reasons:
Firstly, most mini ITX motherobards feature a built-in WiFi. This adds further to the upfront cost.
Secondly, the mini form factor is considered rare and thus you are expected to be charged a premium for it.
You can find all the popular desktop chipsets on the mini ITX form factor. The chipsets also heavily relate to the overall price tag of the motherboard.
The following are the common chipsets:
- H Series: Budget
- B Series: Mid Range
- Z Series: High Performance – Overclockable
- A Series: Budget – Overclockable, but no recommended
- B Series: Mid Range – Resonable Overclocking
- X Series: High Performance – Maximum Overclocking
If you do not overclock and are looking for a minimal motherboard for a mid or an entry level processor we recommend you stick with the H series chipset for Intel and the A series chipset for AMD.
Phase Power Design
The power delivery system of the motherboard has a great impact on the overall price of the board.
While for an average user this may not matter much, but for an enthusiast who overclocks a good phase power design is very important.
Budget motherboards can offer 6 or so low capacity 50 AMP VRMs for limited voltage control. The premium motherboard can features much more i.e 14 90 AMP VRMs for a much better voltage control for high performance and overclocked CPU, RAM and Graphics Card.
When going for a budget motherboard, make sure it does not have an over the top phase power design.
Ports and Slots
Mini ITX motherboards are not known for their expandability.
All mini ITX motherboards have a single PCIe X16 slot for installing just a single extra card. Most of the times this is occupied by a graphics cards.
As such, if you want to add other components like a dedicated sound card, a RAID controllers etc, you would not be able to do so.
Most mini ITX motherboards also offer an M.2 slots as well as a few SATA slots. The amount of SATA slots can range from 2-8. 4 SATA ports is the most common number with 8 ports being very-very rare.
Also Read: Best Motherboards with M.2 Slots
WiFi Built in
As mentioned earlier, most mini ITX motherboards have a built-in WiFi which contributes to their overall higher price tag.
This actually makes sense for two reasons.
Firstly, since mini ITX PC are portable, you will expect to have WiFi so that you can connect to the internet at any location easily.
Secondly, the mini ITX motherboards lack expansion slots. Hence if you populate the single PCIe X16 slot with a graphics card, you would not have any other option but to go for the weak USB WiFi cards.
In that case, having a built in WiFi in most mini ITX motherboard makes perfect sense.
Also Read: Best Motherboards with WiFi
Mobo + Processor Combo
Some mini ITX motherboards come with an embedded or a built in processor.
This configuration is generally very affordable and excellent for those who want to make a bee-line for a pre-built affordable system for carrying out basic tasks.
A mini ITX motherboard is great for compact and portable builds particularly for those who have a limited need from their PC.
The best budget mini ITX motherboard for you depends upon a variety of factors including what chipset you want, and whether you plan on overclocking or not.
The point to note here is that the options you have are many. In the end, it boils down to what you budget is and what are your requirements are.
For instance, if you wish to move around or if you wish to have a clean desk space, then a mini ITX makes a lot of sense.