Form Factor and Sizes

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Time
12 hours 9 minutes
Difficulty
Beginner
CEU/CPE
12
Video Transcription
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>> Hi and welcome to the CompTIA A+ 220-1001 Module 2.
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In this lesson, Lesson 2.2 Form Factor and
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Sizes: The Different Motherboard
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>> Form Factors and Sizes.
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>> I'm your instructor Bill Price.
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For today's lesson, we're going to
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start off talking about the form factor and
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explain what the form factor is when we
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hear that in speaking of computer terms.
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Next, we're going to look at our motherboard history,
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how we arrive, where we are today,
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and the history of motherboards.
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From there, we're going to talk about
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the three main motherboards that the CompTIAA+
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expect you as the technician to know
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and be able to choose or differentiate between them;
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the three motherboards, and
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see the benefits of each as far as and
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when you're configuring a system
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or what recommendations you would
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make depending on a system that you're
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looking at and that would be the ATX,
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the micro ATX, and the miATX or the mini ITX.
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Let's go and get started. First,
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we're going to talk about the form factor.
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Now what is the form factor?
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Choosing the right motherboard is based
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on the purpose of system you are building.
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Whether the system is going to be
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a CAD design or engineering computer,
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you want to choose the right board that will handle
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the appropriate devices that you
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need for that particular machine.
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The next important choice would be
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the size of the case that the motherboard will fit in.
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On that case we need to be able to
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handle the various connector ports,
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power supply, and other devices
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for the particular form factor motherboard.
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Other considerations would be cooling for your computer.
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If you are building a smaller system for
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a specific use such as
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a set-top box or a home theater PC,
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you would need a smaller form factor motherboard
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that you would get in a smaller case.
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Now again depending on
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what form factor motherboard you choose,
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all connection ports would be standard layout for
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that particular form factor
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motherboard even from different vendors.
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A form factor serves as a standard or
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a category that can be used to ensure that
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there's a level of hardware compatibility
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between the devices
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of similar form factor even though
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they may come from different manufacturers.
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If you choose a smaller form factor on that
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and choose a smaller board and get a case for that,
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all the case ports would line up to
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that smaller form factor if it's rated for
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that particular motherboard or form factor.
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Same thing with a larger PC or larger case.
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If you go to larger motherboard
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it'll say for instance, like an ATX,
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all the ports would line up for that and would fit and
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situate themselves to
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that particular case because it's rated.
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Again, that's the beauty of
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a form factor because all the devices will line up
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on the motherboards to the case
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even though from different manufacturers and vendors.
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According to the CompTIA A+ objectives you need
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to know in a given scenario how to install,
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configure motherboards, CPUs, and add-on cards.
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You as the technician will need to
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know the appropriate form factor
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or motherboard that you will
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need depending on the computer need.
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With that being said, let's
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jump into some motherboard history.
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We can see where we are today
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in the area of motherboards.
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Back in 1981 the Planar Breadboard was
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the first motherboard used in a PC and then in
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198 IBM came up with the AT or
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the advanced technology design that
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the component-based PC which we know today was born.
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The 18th form factor proved very popular and became
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a standardized motherboard to fit
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all desktops into our cases.
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The IBM AT form factor was the forerunner of
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our motherboard form factors and that's where
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our motherboards came derived from today, it was the AT.
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The AT also had a variant known as the baby AT.
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It was so similar, but it was in a different width.
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In 1995, that began the new ATX motherboard.
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That's when that came out and that's what revolutionized
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motherboards and that's the standard
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or one of the most popular sizes today.
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Intel released the new ATX
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or advanced technology extended.
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This new form factor featured
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many improvements including new design and layout,
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improving space, and interchangeability of parts.
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It solved many issues faced by
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system builders from the original AT design.
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Later on in 1997 Intel began
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>> manufacturing motherboards.
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>> They started their own motherboard
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manufacturing division.
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Now the standard size of
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the ATX motherboard is 12 inches by 9.6
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inches or 305 millimeters by 245 millimeters.
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Later on, in 1998 the micro ATX boards were produced.
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This board was the first
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backwards compatible board with the ATX.
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Although it was nearly half the size
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of the standard ATX board,
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it's size was 9.6 inches by 9.6
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Inches or 244 millimeters by 204 millimeters.
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Now later on in 2001,
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a company by the name of VIA Technologies introduced
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the ITX family of motherboards.
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Information technology extended,
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is what ITX stood for.
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The mini ITX was built for small cases
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yet managed to pack out
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all the features of a regular ATX,
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but again had less expansion ports and usually just
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one but the performance was
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strong as an ATX or micro ATX.
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The size rating on that board was only 6.7 inches
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by 6.7 inches or 17 centimeters by 17 centimeters.
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In the drive of technology to go smaller and
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smaller while keeping the same power,
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that's what this was born out of.
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This for particular form factor are used in a lot of
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different unique situations where it may
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be something smaller than a desktop format.
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It may be something really small
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like a set-top box or something along those lines.
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Let's look at all these motherboards individually.
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Again, the ATX, the advance technology
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extended was released in 1995,
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and at that time it had the integrated IO ports;
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what had not been seen before,
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integrated PS2 mouse connectors
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but now it's USB of course.
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It also reduced drive bay interference
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and reduced expansion card interference.
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This helped because the original AT form factor
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had a problem overlapping and
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interfered with the drive bay extensions,
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or expansion cards,
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or adding expansion cards.
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It had a better power supply.
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Also supported 3.3 volt power support,
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and originally it came with
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a 20-pin power supply connector and
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later on a 24-pin power supply connector was introduced.
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Again, this is the most commonest and
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largest motherboard in production.
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Again, 12 inches by 9.6 inches,
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305 millimeters by 244 millimeters.
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The ATX is the standard as far as desktop PCs.
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Of course, there are many different variations of
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motherboards outside of the ones
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that we're going to speak here today,
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nut we're only focusing on the ones that
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the CompTIA expected you to know.
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Micro ATX introduced in 1998.
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It was a smaller motherboard size,
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backward compatibility.
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It had the same mounting holes and
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power supply as the ATX.
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Limited expansion slots.
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Again, the size here was only 9.6 by
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9.6 inches making it unique for
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very devices or situations that you needed
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a smaller desktop or a smaller form factor.
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Sometimes you may not wanted
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a tower PC that we were traditionally known.
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That's where you would use a smaller form factor and
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the micro ATX would be a great fit for that,
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a very popular motherboard for
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smaller desktop PCs and other small form factor uses.
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Finally, the ITX,
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the mITX from the ITX family;
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Information Technology eXtended, introduced in 2001.
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They were often used in
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low-cost small set-ups found in cars,
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network devices, set-top boxes,
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and other small computers
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designed for fan-less cooling with
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low power consumption architecture that
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made them very useful life for home PC,
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theaters where the fan noise
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did not distract from the cinema experience.
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The size for this unit was 6.75 by 6.75 inches,
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or 17 centimeters by 17 centimeters.
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Here we can see all three lined up together.
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First, we have the standard ATX at
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12 inches by 9.6 inches,
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and you can see how
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the small motherboards came
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into play and got smaller and smaller.
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The micro ATX;
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9.6 inches by 9.6 inches,
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and yet we even went smaller to the mini
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ITX at 6.7 inches by 6.7 inches.
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Again, all of them have unique features depending
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on your system that you're building.
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If you're using or are building
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a tower PC or a regular standard desktop PC,
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you would want to go through a standard ATX.
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If you were looking for a smaller form factor
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PC like a tabletop PC or something along those lines,
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you would use the micro ATX and finally the mini
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ITX with a special unique situations: set-top boxes,
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ultra small device form factors
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unique situations where you needed less space,
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but still the same power.
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It's 6.7 inches by 6.7 inches.
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Let's review what we went over today in our lesson.
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We've talked about the form factor
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and got an understanding of
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what the form factor or what that term really means.
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Then we had a little bit of motherboard history to
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explain how we arrived at where we are today.
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We talked about the ATX motherboard which is
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the most common and standard
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motherboard that we use today,
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then we talked about the micro ATX
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and how that got even smaller.
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Smaller yet, we talked about the mini ITX.
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Again, there are many different variations
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of motherboards on the market today,
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but for CompTIA purposes we're talking about the ATX,
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micro ATX, and a mini ITX.
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That's all for our lesson today,
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I hope you learned a lot and
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I will see you in the next lesson.
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