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let's talk about making the best ITX motherboard

Mr. Friendly

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British Columbia
I'd like to generate some discussion on what features / functions you would want an ITX mobo to have, if it was a perfect world. the one exception is RGB...no RGB. this is purely function over form.

I'll start, and in no particular order of importance:
  • USB 4.0 only, with TB (for both Intel and AMD boards)
  • for cost and space savings on I/O panel & PCB, remove all legacy tech that's not used anymore. simplify the audio to 2.1
  • 2 or 3x PCIe 4,0 x4 NVMe slots on the backside of the motherboard
  • 4x USB ports for front header, 2x Type A & 2x Type C
  • 3x miniDP connectors for triple display support on the I/O to allow for space saving for more USB or dual NIC ports
  • passive copper heat sinks for everything (anodized or coated to prevent oxidization while not impairing performance)
  • top end components (caps, resisters, etc)
  • simple 2.1 audio on I/O panel to safe space and costs
  • mobo auto BIOS update button
  • I/O auto BIOS reset button
  • no unneeded curves or bending for fancy look. maximum utilitarian design for function only.
  • Intel Networking only, wired, wifi & Bluetooth 5.0 or 5.1

discuss!
 

CMetaphor

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Without a target for what kind of PC this board is aimed at, I'm not sure there's any point in such a discussion.

Nonetheless though, you've already made some problems:

1- more than one Nvme on the back side of an ITX motherboard is likely impossible, at least not without major sacrifices, ex: sodimm slots rather than full size ram slots.

2- Saving IO panel space is pretty pointless imo. Unless your going thin ITX there's no reason to chop off all the connectors to save space. Especially since almost every motherboard nowadays, even on larger boards, rarely (if ever) fully utilize the real estate of the io panel (aka, there's always space leftover).

3- Cost savings related to the above is also likely minimal as well. The regular 7.1 block of 6x 3.5mm jacks has been mass produced for so long it's a non-issue. Similarly, you're likely to *increase* the cost of the board significantly by forcing 3x mini DP ports, because you'd have to include 3x adapters for full size DP anyway.

The rest is pretty much standard seemingly though... But again, without a specific purpose it's hard to stay dreaming about. A gaming ITX board I would design completely differently from a home server ITX board, which would be different again from an itx embedded board for htpc -type builds. 🤷‍♂️
 

moocow

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Aug 8, 2011
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Vancouver, BC
  • Unlocked CNVI so I can run whatever wifi / BT card I want instead of just Intel ones
  • Drop SATA port to 2 (some does this already)
  • At least 1 full HDMI port + 2 DP (mini or full). Drop DVI and VGA completely to save space
  • Drop PS2 port
  • Don't really need like 8 USB ports in the back, you can use a hub
 

Entz

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Jul 17, 2011
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Kelowna
More mini-DTX <3 . That second slot opens up a bunch of expansion but typically doesn't change case design (thanks to 3 slot + GPUs)

I am surprised that someone hasn't dropped the video ports from enthusiast class boards.
 

sswilson

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Moncton NB
Thin-itx w/ DC power brick in for non-GPU builds.

That's the one major form factor that's been almost impossible to find here in NA.
 

Sagath

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Wouldnt USBC eliminate a lot of worry about what video connectors to even put on? or not use it for video at all if you dont want to?

Someones gonna want DP/HDMI/VGA/TB, etc, so why not just use the connector thats designed for exatly that reason?
 

Entz

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Wouldnt USBC eliminate a lot of worry about what video connectors to even put on? or not use it for video at all if you dont want to?

Someones gonna want DP/HDMI/VGA/TB, etc, so why not just use the connector thats designed for exatly that reason?
That would be ideal actually. Plus it gives the "needs more USB ports" people more ports and doesn't really harm anyone.
 
Last edited:

Mr. Friendly

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Nov 21, 2007
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6,782
Location
British Columbia
I like the idea of using USB C for video output...but depending on the implementation, it could create havoc if it's the connector for video only and doesn't have USB or TB function. I'm not sure how complicated it would get to have a lot of USB C ports and all of them be fully functioning USB 4.0. most notebooks only have one USB C with the rest being type A, so no question as to its function generally.
 

Mr. Friendly

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
6,782
Location
British Columbia
  • Unlocked CNVI so I can run whatever wifi / BT card I want instead of just Intel ones
  • Drop SATA port to 2 (some does this already)
  • At least 1 full HDMI port + 2 DP (mini or full). Drop DVI and VGA completely to save space
  • Drop PS2 port
  • Don't really need like 8 USB ports in the back, you can use a hub
blech on the HDMI...use an adapter. it takes up too much space on the I/O...or install a GPU with the HDMI port.
 

Mr. Friendly

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
6,782
Location
British Columbia
Without a target for what kind of PC this board is aimed at, I'm not sure there's any point in such a discussion.

Nonetheless though, you've already made some problems:

1- more than one Nvme on the back side of an ITX motherboard is likely impossible, at least not without major sacrifices, ex: sodimm slots rather than full size ram slots.

2- Saving IO panel space is pretty pointless imo. Unless your going thin ITX there's no reason to chop off all the connectors to save space. Especially since almost every motherboard nowadays, even on larger boards, rarely (if ever) fully utilize the real estate of the io panel (aka, there's always space leftover).

3- Cost savings related to the above is also likely minimal as well. The regular 7.1 block of 6x 3.5mm jacks has been mass produced for so long it's a non-issue. Similarly, you're likely to *increase* the cost of the board significantly by forcing 3x mini DP ports, because you'd have to include 3x adapters for full size DP anyway.

The rest is pretty much standard seemingly though... But again, without a specific purpose it's hard to stay dreaming about. A gaming ITX board I would design completely differently from a home server ITX board, which would be different again from an itx embedded board for htpc -type builds. 🤷‍♂️
1 - it's just a thought. clearing up space on the front side by having the NVMe SSD's, heck, maybe even the wifi module, could be convenient
2 - more USB ports. also makes for a cleaner look that satisfies those with OCD.
3 - the cost savings wouldn't be from not using the connector module, but in the simple audio codec that would be used

regarding my Intel wifi houghts, it would be a module that could be swapped out, nothing integrated into the board. the physical NIC would be hardwired as usual.

oh, another thought...all the power connectors on the back side so you don't have a cable management mess. unless case makers came on board, you'd have to mod the mobo tray to mount the board and access the plugs.

DTX is a thought as that extra connector could / would be useful. but I can't say I've ever seen a mainstream DTX board ever made...and I can't say I've seen any of the popular mITX cases supporting anything else but mITX.
 

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