What Are Motherboard Standoffs?

Motherboard standoffs are the small metallic pieces your motherboard sits on top of. They may not seem important, but they keep the motherboard elevated so it is not sitting directly on your case. 

Hi, my name is Ty Robinson. I have worked in technology for a few years but have been the resident IT helper at home since elementary school. I will share some of my technological knowledge with you here!

Every part and piece that goes into a computer is essential in its own way. Motherboard standoffs are tiny and seemingly inconsequential, but there could be dire consequences without them. 

Motherboard Standoffs

The motherboard standoffs are small, normally gold, screw-like pieces. It is what your motherboard will lay on top of instead of being directly on the motherboard tray. You can see an example below so you know what to look for.

Different motherboards will require you to adjust where exactly your motherboard standoffs go. You can set the motherboard down and take note of where the motherboard standoffs line up, screwing them in where necessary. You can see how they look installed below.

If you are wondering where you can get motherboard standoffs, they are actually included with whatever PC case you purchase. The type of motherboard does not affect the motherboard standoffs, just their positioning. 

Depending on the form factor of your motherboard, you will have to arrange the standoffs differently. 

  • Mini-ITX
    • Mini-ITX motherboards are one of the most compact variations of the motherboard, great for very small builds or spaces. 
  • Micro-ATX
    • This is a slightly smaller version of the standard ATX-sized motherboard that can fit in micro-ATX cases, as well as standard ones. This is an excellent option for a more budget-friendly build since the smaller size decreases the price. 
  • ATX
    • The ATX is the most standard-sized motherboard that you will see. Some cases come with pre-installed standoffs and will be for this motherboard variation.

Are Motherboard Standoffs Necessary?

The motherboards help delegate and route power to the correct hardware. Since they deal with electricity, it is important to ground yourself and to make sure that there is not any metal directly touching it in any way. 

Suppose you put the standoffs in the incorrect position, and the metal is making contact with the back of the motherboard, or you are laying the motherboard directly on the motherboard tray. In that case, it could short any components on the motherboard.

Motherboard standoffs are there to ensure your device is safe from electric mishaps; not having your standoffs in the right places could cause the motherboard to sag or bend. These could lead to an unsafe electric environment that shorts components or bricks your entire system. 

Final Thoughts

Motherboard standoffs are small pieces that your motherboard secures onto and keeps it levitated above the motherboard tray, keeping it safe from touching anything directly that could compromise it electrically. 

While they seem tiny and unassuming, not placing them correctly and tightly could be dire, leading to damage or even dead parts. 

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