Computer motherboards have undergone radical changes over the last few decades and many manufacturers have come in to share the cake.
As with all technologies, without proper standards, the markets can quickly become saturated with proprietary and monopolized tech.
Enter the motherboard form factor. A way to regulate the size of motherboards which in many ways also affects the component layout in the board and the kinds of cases that can be used together with the board.
Extended ATX (EATX) refers to the form factor of certain kinds of motherboards. But before we get into the details about this form factor, let’s first see what is EATX motherboard.
In the article below, we will learn the definition as well as the many use cases of this motherboard.
Also Read: What is an ITX Motherboard?
What is EATX Motherboard
EATX is a motherboard form factor that is the largest member of the ATX family of motherboard form factors. Measuring about 12 x 13 inches, this form factor is great for applications where you need advanced and extreme levels of power.
EATX offers extensive expansion slots and thus offers support for multiple graphics cards and a huge array of RAM.
EATX motherboards are technically great for hardcore users who want to push their computers to the limit. Be it professionals or gamers, EATX hardware can provide premium performance for both.
However, the main area of application for EATX motherboards is for servers. These motherboards can be connected to multiple extension devices allowing users to rig them up and connect them to multiple clients since they can handle higher workloads.
Furthermore, with the advantage of having extra component slots compared to other form factors like the ATX, you can equip your setup with more storage and memory.
Also Read: Why is Motherboard Called Motherboard?
Peripherals, Ports, and Slots
The size of the motherboard correlates with its expansion slots. Being a larger motherboard, it is obvious that EATX would have a comprehensive expandability.
With an EATX motherboard, you get extra ports to complement the size of the board.
You usually get four PCIe X16 ports and some may even offer a lot more. This port offers increased bandwidth ranging up to 4GB/s per direction.
With this kind of setup, for a gamer or a professional who works with graphically intensive programs, you can slot in multiple graphics cards for SLI or Crossfire, a feature that lets you split your graphics processing load between multiple GPUs if you have compatible ones installed.
You also get extra RAM slots on this board. Most have a total number of DIMM slots ranging between six and eight with support reaching a whopping 256GB of RAM.
This ensures that for your intense applications, you have enough memory for your pc to work.
The total amount of RAM supported will depend on the individual board’s specs, however, knowing you have multiple slots for when you need them is reassuring.
Another peripheral that can be added to the PCIe slots is Intel’s Optane SSD-like storage. This is a storage device that lets you boost your PC’s performance by facilitating faster data transfer rates.
Many EATX boards are equipped with multiple SATA ports with some having up to six. This lets you connect multiple hard drives for more storage.
USB and Ethernet
With an EATX motherboard, you get more external ports. This lets you connect more devices to your computer like external storage devices.
Additionally, you get access to faster Ethernet ports. Since they are built primarily for servers, many EATX boards offer premium grade network cards.
CPU – Dual CPU Support on Some Models
CPU support is probably where this board stands out. Some EATX motherboards can run on not one, but two separate processors simultaneously!
This could mean that you get twice the performance of one CPU. However, some bottlenecks affect the performance such as the fact that they both share resources like buses and memory.
Nevertheless, dual-processor motherboards will still perform better than a single processor board with the same specs.
Typically, EATX motherboards offer sockets for supporting the best commercial processors out there i.e 10th Generation i7 processors or processors from Intel Core X or Intel Xeon series.
EATX Motherboard Applications
A lot of the features that an EATX board provides are mainstream. This means that they are not built for basic applications like web surfing and media consumption.
For people who are considering buying an EATX board, it’s important to ensure that you intend to maximize its use, otherwise, you’ll be better off with an ATX board.
Here are people who can benefit from this device.
1. Intensive Graphics Professionals
For this category of people, we include users who are looking to create and render large scenes in both 3D and 2D as well as content creators for large productions.
Rendering a 10-second clip could take hours on a basic computer with basic specs. However, with a fully-featured EATX board with the necessary components installed, this can be a breeze.
Running heavy editing software will also require you to have a powerful system. Granted you can get away with a smaller form factor board in some cases, but for large productions, you will also need a computer that doesn’t get in your way.
2. Server Computers
This board is built for servers and good reasons. A server motherboard needs to support high-performance chipsets and has good I/O support as well. This board can fulfill both these requirements.
Coupled with the extra slots for memory and storage, you can both store and backup your data in internal storage.
Despite being an overkill for the majority of the gamers, some elite class of gamers would benefit from the expandability EATX offers.
Therefore, if you are gamer looking for a high frame rate experience on multiple 4k screen panoramic view with three or more top of the line graphics cards installed, then EATX would be suitable for you.
Also Read: Best Motherboards with WiFi
A Note on the Downsides
EATX motherboard are more of a niche product in the personal use sphere. They large make sense for industrial use such as in servers, data centers, large design studios etc.
However, for personal use they can be an overkill.
For starters, they are expensive to procure. Secondly, you need to utilize their extra expandiblity to justify the investment. Thirdly, you need a large chassis with expert levels of cooling to keep everything inside running optimally.
As such, for personal users, EATX is a motherboard for the elite top bracket of the PC gamers.
This board was built with high performance in mind. As a result, you get some of the best features and still have room for expansion.
The board itself is built for use in servers and for professional use, but, individual users can still get their hands on the boards for some hardcore levels of customization.
So what is EATX motherboard again? Basically, EATX boards are the largest in the ATX board lineup and offer the largest expandability, expansion slots and customization options.