Question Using an old ATX case for an E-ATX motherboard?

AntiHypocrite

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Dec 20, 2015
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We've got an old all-aluminum (silver) ATX case that we pulled out of mothballs for a new PC build project. The problem is that our "Want List" seems to be pushing us toward an E-ATX form factor mobo. I've carefully measured the internals of our old case and, much to my surprise, the bigger E-ATX board will [physically] fit into the old case.

As ATX is as big as I've ever built, I'm wondering what the pitfalls of ATX vs E-ATX are? Put another way, nothing is ever as easy at it seems, so I'm wondering what the "hitch" is? Perhaps the mounting positions are totally different? Perhaps the rear panel "connection block" won't fit the rear of the case the same way with the bigger mobo?

Needless to say, I'm hoping that it's simply a matter of having the required physical room in the case...but something is telling me that it's not that easy.

Thank you for your time
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I'll get back to add something in this post, when I've finished posting my newest thread here. In conjunction with the topic of that post, I proclaim that you are NOT a Mainstreamer. You are and Enthusiast!

[Coming back in a few . . . ]
 

OlyAR15

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Oct 23, 2014
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Motherboard form factors are downwards compatible. That means they all have identical mounting points for their respective sizes. An E-ATX board has more mounting points than an ATX, but those are along the edges. If your case has enough room, you can still mount an E-ATX board in it. It just won't have the extra mounting standoffs. Whether that will be an issue depends on how roughly you handle the components.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Motherboard form factors are downwards compatible. That means they all have identical mounting points for their respective sizes. An E-ATX board has more mounting points than an ATX, but those are along the edges. If your case has enough room, you can still mount an E-ATX board in it. It just won't have the extra mounting standoffs. Whether that will be an issue depends on how roughly you handle the components.
I agree. There are nine screw-mounts for an ATX, and twelve if I'm not mistaken for the EATX. So the only question that remains is whether or not your drive cages or something will interfere with the board. I say -- get out your metric measuring tape and assess your situation there.

As for the three remaining screw-mounts, unless there is any pressure or force exerted on the motherboard along the forward edge, they shouldn't matter much. Who hasn't found themselves installing a board -- an ATX for example -- to find they're short a couple screws? You only need "enough" of them -- not all of them.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
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Which mobo is that?
Indeed . . . that is the question . . . What features of this EATX board could not be had with an ATX board? I just put together a system with a "Workstation" ATX motherboard. It's got features on the backs of features. It takes two 8-pin power plugs instead of one, and another 6-pin PCIE plug to cover the ample PCIE slots and all the lanes available. For instance 3-way SLI will work as x8-x8-x8. It's dated technology, but I've never seen so many features. So what has the EATX board have?
 
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AntiHypocrite

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Which mobo is that?
The "sticking point' is that we've been Mac users for over a decade now and, in that time, we've accumulated Thunderbolt (TB) peripherals that have proven to be pretty valuable to us. As we don't wish to lose that capability, it's right up there near the top of our "want list" in a PC. Very long story short, having the latest Thunderbolt tech, TB4, narrows the search down considerably and, in fact, there are only two boards [within reasonable economic limts] that can supply what we want. One of those is the Gigabyte Z690 Aero D, which, as you can probably guess by now, is an E-ATX form factor motherboard.

Put another way, we're now looking for a "creator" type PC with TB transfer capability built-in...and, in a gamer's world, the options shrink up rather quickly.
 
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AntiHypocrite

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Good job, @igor_kavinski, you've discovered the other motherboard on our short list! The problem with that board, however, is that it comes with quite the "Asus Tax" attached to it. In other words, it will cost more than we budgeted for in a motherboard.
 

AntiHypocrite

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Dec 20, 2015
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Motherboard form factors are downwards compatible. That means they all have identical mounting points for their respective sizes. An E-ATX board has more mounting points than an ATX, but those are along the edges. If your case has enough room, you can still mount an E-ATX board in it. It just won't have the extra mounting standoffs. Whether that will be an issue depends on how roughly you handle the components.
@OlyAR15 : Are you saying that the "mounting pattern" throughout the various sizes of motherboards is standardized?

Needless to say, an ATX case was never intended to house an E-ATX sized mobo, but, if there are enough holes in the bigger board that match with the threaded standoffs that came with the case, I see no reason why the E-ATX PCB wouldn't work in the older ATX case...and, even if the "overhanging" part of the bigger PCB becomes a concern, I suppose that some strategically placed rubber "bumpers" could be employed, right?
 

OlyAR15

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Oct 23, 2014
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Are you saying that the "mounting pattern" throughout the various sizes of motherboards is standardized?
Yes, the base holes are the same. MicroATX has a couple of different mounting holes, but the case should have those mounting holes already in place and you can just move the standoffs to them. The rest of the mounting locations are standardized. E-ATX just has extra mounting locations due to its increased width. The height of ATX and E-ATX boards is the same.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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@OlyAR15 : Are you saying that the "mounting pattern" throughout the various sizes of motherboards is standardized?

Needless to say, an ATX case was never intended to house an E-ATX sized mobo, but, if there are enough holes in the bigger board that match with the threaded standoffs that came with the case, I see no reason why the E-ATX PCB wouldn't work in the older ATX case...and, even if the "overhanging" part of the bigger PCB becomes a concern, I suppose that some strategically placed rubber "bumpers" could be employed, right?
The only obstruction that I could imagine would likely be drive cages usually located in the case-front. As I said earlier, get your measuring tape or ruler and verify the clearance in the case.

It occurs to me off the top of my head that there are other solutions to meet your needs. The ASUS board is certainly among their "top-end". I often buy second-tier ASUS boards and never thought I was missing much.

But in the realm of cost-benefit evaluation and budget, you'd have to make up your own mind about "other options" -- such as those in the following links:

Gigabyte TB4 PCIE controller

Gigabyte Titan Ridge TB3 PCIE controller

Good motherboards span the list of established manufacturers. I've had Gigabyte, Intel, ASUS, SuperMicro -- you name it. But I've been exclusively choosing ASUS since around 2005. They have a lower-tier set of boards, and we had one of them running over the last six or seven years. Never had a problem with it.

So you have the option of scaling back your high-end expectations, and then spending some money on a TB controller. But that's just a possible option. Of course, if the measuring tape shows your EATX selection unfeasible for using that particular computer case, you might want to give the options more attention.

I'm optimistic about your EATX board, but I wouldn't buy it until I've measured the case for a fit.
 
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BonzaiDuck

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We've got an old all-aluminum (silver) ATX case that we pulled out of mothballs for a new PC build project. The problem is that our "Want List" seems to be pushing us toward an E-ATX form factor mobo. I've carefully measured the internals of our old case and, much to my surprise, the bigger E-ATX board will [physically] fit into the old case.

As ATX is as big as I've ever built, I'm wondering what the pitfalls of ATX vs E-ATX are? Put another way, nothing is ever as easy at it seems, so I'm wondering what the "hitch" is? Perhaps the mounting positions are totally different? Perhaps the rear panel "connection block" won't fit the rear of the case the same way with the bigger mobo?

Needless to say, I'm hoping that it's simply a matter of having the required physical room in the case...but something is telling me that it's not that easy.

Thank you for your time
You never told us what type of "old case" you prefer to use. You say it's aluminum. I have two "old cases" which are also all aluminum. You might even have the same case. But -- satisfy our curiosity as you incline to.
 
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AntiHypocrite

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The all-aluminum case is roughly 17" Tall x 18" W x 8" Deep and it has absolutely no ID markings. There's no ST switch, just a momentary push button, so it's clearly ATX. The MSI K8N Neo 2 Platinum Motherboard installed is [roughly] 9.5" W x 12" Tall.

MSI ATX Aluminum Tower PC .jpeg
 

BonzaiDuck

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The all-aluminum case is roughly 17" Tall x 18" W x 8" Deep and it has absolutely no ID markings. There's no ST switch, just a momentary push button, so it's clearly ATX. The MSI K8N Neo 2 Platinum Motherboard installed is [roughly] 9.5" W x 12" Tall.

View attachment 63443
Is that someone's "custom-built" case? Or was it purchased? See -- looking at the front-panel design with the bays for 3.5" devices -- it looks like a case design from many years ago. But it's a lovely computer case. I might complain about the intake-airflow at the front panel. And two full-size optical drives seems redundant and unnecessary -- to me, anyway.

But the main question is whether your EATX board will fit. Maybe it will. You'll just have to do the measuring to verify it for yourself.
 

AntiHypocrite

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Although it has absolutely no markings anywhere on it, the case in the photo was purchased "as is" and, yes, an E-ATX motherboard will physically fit into this case. I was just asking the PC builders on the forum [pardon the pun] "board" if they've experienced problems/issues when trying to install an E-ATX mobo into a case that was purpose-built for an ATX PC system.

As for the drives you see on the photo, they were very useful back when everyone was worried about the year 2000...and, as I'm sure anyone in my age group remembers, USB hadn't exactly "evolved" until well after the turn of the century. ;)
 

BonzaiDuck

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Knowing how @BonzaiDuck operates I think he's wanting that case for his museum collection to put next to his stackers he's been working with.
Yes -- it did spark my interest.

Before I give up the 15-year-old Stackers, I'll need to have a first-hand experience with something new like a Fractal Designs case. I've discovered belatedly that I can only use a "240" radiator in the stackers, or I need to remove another front-panel bay device before adding a "280". But that's not an immediate problem and not a problem that can't be easily resolved. I incline to air-cooling, anyway. My ThermalRight Grand Machos fit perfectly.

Otherwise, I've got certain proclivities in my enthusiast practice. I call myself the "junk-man" -- I pride myself on building useful things out of junk. I think it all started with this -- a 1995 Compaq ProLiant Server case I acquired for absolutely nothing:

The MOJO_WORKIN.JPG

I used to call it "The Chrome Window", because the Lexan panel had been prepared perfectly with chrome or mirror automotive window film. The bling lighting obscures that feature in this photo.
 

Tech Junky

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I'll need to have a first-hand experience with something new like a Fractal Designs case.
There's this little hidden option when on pcpartpicker where you can view completed builds using X case and there's little knowledge nuggets in the postings from the users that built them.

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/jqTzK8/fractal-design-meshify-2-atx-mid-tower-case-fd-c-mes2a-02 - for instance there's 3 completed builds at the bottom and you click them and it expands the view

Or click on all builds - https://pcpartpicker.com/builds/by_part/jqTzK8 -- when you go to this view though there' s a ton of builds posted for that case.

This is how builds get expensive though when you get new ideas based on other builds.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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There's this little hidden option when on pcpartpicker where you can view completed builds using X case and there's little knowledge nuggets in the postings from the users that built them.

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/jqTzK8/fractal-design-meshify-2-atx-mid-tower-case-fd-c-mes2a-02 - for instance there's 3 completed builds at the bottom and you click them and it expands the view

Or click on all builds - https://pcpartpicker.com/builds/by_part/jqTzK8 -- when you go to this view though there' s a ton of builds posted for that case.

This is how builds get expensive though when you get new ideas based on other builds.
I often make decisions based on a range of strategies, or consider air versus water a "range" dimension. As much as I could use my Stackers for "certain" water-cooled options (a narrower range, for sure), the Fractal cases become a hands-down thumbs-up option for doing it that way.

I abjure water-cooling at this point because of the maintenance requirement. And -- of course -- the million-year MTBF of heatpipes (according to NASA). My choice or direction could change, but I'm 74 years old. How many more computers will I build before they bury me with one?
 

Tech Junky

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@BonzaiDuck
LC just rings alarm bells to me even though tons of people do it.

I'll take my $50 Air Cooler and a graphite pad that doesn't require maintenance and push/pull fans for redundancy.

I'm not trying to keep the CPU at <40C for any particular reason at this point w/o any GPU's that's easy to do most of the time due to the lack of the heaters. Heat soak is a major issue w/ GPU's inside the case though. If I were targeting a heat source that would be it rather than the CPU. When I was running dual GPU's for mining I had to bump the fans on them to 60% just to keep them at a moderate temp while engaged. I even added some normal fans around them to force the air out of the case and they were still cooking.

With all the hype about ADL being hot though I briefly considered getting an AIO but, turns out the cheap $50 cooler works just as well. I would opt for the try the cheap option first and upgrade if needed approach rather than just waste the money on something that's overkill.
 
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BonzaiDuck

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For my twin boxes with Sky/Kaby Lake processors, I sent the CPUs to Silicon Lottery. When I had them clocked to around 4.8Ghz, the temperatures were 20C lower than those reported by others with the same OC level. I may give them OC settings again, but for what I do with them, it doesn't make all that much difference.

When I thought it mattered, I picked the ThermalRight LG Macho because it bested the Noctua NH-D15 by about 1.5C in cross-referenced lab benchmarks, and it came within about 3 or 4C of an EK modifiable-AiO. Now, I'm more interested in getting these machines to run with absolute perfection. Not that they ever "didn't", but -- there are "little things". I think I'm almost "there". I have to find a "hibernation" bug in one of them. It won't stay asleep. It should be easy to fix.

Thinking of ADL and the Win-11 debacle, I need to check a thread I started to see if someone "left a deposit".
 

dlerious

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The all-aluminum case is roughly 17" Tall x 18" W x 8" Deep and it has absolutely no ID markings. There's no ST switch, just a momentary push button, so it's clearly ATX. The MSI K8N Neo 2 Platinum Motherboard installed is [roughly] 9.5" W x 12" Tall.

View attachment 63443
That looks an awful lot like one of my Lian Li cases. Here's a pic of one.
 
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AntiHypocrite

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Except for the logos, it looks like pretty much exactly like the old case we used back in the day. If you read the review, under the drawing, you'll understand that an AL case like this, being relatively light weight, will make some noise. This is why I added adhesive-backed sound deadener -- left over from a truck audio project -- to the inside of the case. In the end, the case worked very well for us and was very quiet compared to earlier DIY PC projects. I honestly believe that it would make a pretty good case for a modern PC build.
 

dlerious

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Mar 4, 2004
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Except for the logos, it looks like pretty much exactly like the old case we used back in the day. If you read the review, under the drawing, you'll understand that an AL case like this, being relatively light weight, will make some noise. This is why I added adhesive-backed sound deadener -- left over from a truck audio project -- to the inside of the case. In the end, the case worked very well for us and was very quiet compared to earlier DIY PC projects. I honestly believe that it would make a pretty good case for a modern PC build.
I still have a few Lian Li cases around. Their age means they only used 80mm fans unless I tried modding something or water cooled running tubes out to a MO-RA3.
 

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