Which Screws are best for Motherboard standoffs?
This article will have information about motherboard standoffs and which one is the best
to use for your motherboard. You will need to know all the essential details on
motherboard standoffs and their uses to understand that.
What is a standoff?
A standoff of a motherboard is a threaded fastener used to hold two parts a set distance
apart in a PC. A standoff may have a threaded shaft or a threaded hole at each end.
According to required fitment, they may be designated as male/male, male/female, or
A male end of a standoff works as a shoulder bolt. However, instead of ahead, a
standoff has another threaded fastener at the other end. Other important parameters
are the length (distance between shoulders) and the thread size.
Standoffs may have an external profile that is round, allowing only finger tightening of
personal ends. However, machine screws of a standoff or nuts can be securely fastened
against each other.
What is a Motherboard standoff?
A motherboard standoff is a small cylindrical-shaped metallic screw used in dedicated
mounting holes on the PC frame. The purpose of standoffs is to lift the motherboard off
from the CPU case and keep it separated from each other.
Therefore, the motherboard must be elevated to not come in contact with the metallic
PC frame to create a short circuit.
Motherboard standoffs may look small, trivial, and without much consequence, they are
an integral part of PC building.
The following text looks further into motherboard standoffs, why you should install them,
Types of Motherboard Standoff
Usually, the motherboard standoff has a #6-32 UNC male thread #6-32 UNC female
thread on the other end accepts a screw to retain the motherboard. The #6-32 UNC
also expands with its types. #6-32 UNC comes with a flanged hex/Phillips head,
commonly provided in PC cases and also comes in Phillips pan head,
Some motherboard standoffs use the M3 female thread (which is faced towards the
motherboard). Instead of #6-32 UNC, and on a rare occasion, a mixture of types can be
used in the same case.
The M3 female is used only in specific places of the motherboard, which are fragile and
need more attention.
The M5X10 comes with a socket head cap. A size of 0.8mm is variably suitable for
screwing in the outside fit of the motherboard and keeping it sturdy.
Phillips screws allow a tighter fit than a flat head screw, which is why it is the best
screw for motherboard standoffs. These screws are lightweight and relatively small. The
only problem is to match your screwdriver to the type and size of screws you’re using.
The Thumbscrews are used as an alternative to Philip head screws as the size of the
thread is the same. Still, the diameter of the neck varies between them, and that is the
only reason people tend to avoid using the thumbscrews, as there is a chance of
short-circuiting the motherboard.
The 6-32 screw, M3*5 Flat, 6-32 *2 screw, and 6-32 screw Hexagon are other types
used in motherboard standoffs. Some motherboards require special standoff screws like
mentioned above, which are hard to find sometimes and may require a lot of research.
Use of Material
The material used to make these screws is mostly steel, the most common material
used. Frequently with a plated or anodized finish. Other materials, including brass,
aluminum, nylon, and various plastics, are also used for applications with particular
physical or aesthetic requirements.
Sizes of standoff screws
So the standoff screws also come in different sizes for screwing in other areas and
dimensions, which can get complicated sometimes.
According to the ATX 2.1 standard:
● The standoff for the motherboard has to be a minimum of 6.5mm. The external
cross-section must fit within a 10mm x 10mm area around the standoff hole or
the female thread.
● The mounting screws must match the standoff screw wells (usually 6/32 or M3
thread size). Otherwise, it can damage the motherboard and cause performance
● The standoff length can be whatever you want as long as the components fit in
your case, but make sure it does not touch any electrical part beneath the screw.
● A more protracted standoff allows cables to be run under the motherboard and
may also improve airflow.
There are a lot of variations that how various companies meet those specifications.
Still, as long as the mounting screws match the standoff screw wells (usually 6/32 or M3
thread size), it is not a big issue what the external width is, As long as it’s within 10 x
10mm max size requirement (the most frequently used).
You should use standoffs and screws in the locations where you want to prevent the
motherboard from bending and might crack it.
You should always have a screw by the corner near the IO shield. When you insert
connectors in the IO shield, the motherboard should be firm to prevent any other
damage. It is a good idea to screw in the middle, close to the PCI-e connector, with the
proper standoff screwed under the board so that when you insert a video card, the
board won’t bend in the middle.
You should screw the 24pin power connector initially. When you insert that connector
into the motherboard, it takes a bit of downwards pressure. If there’s no standoff under
the board near that connector, the board would bend and cause severe damage.
The rest are usually less critical, for example, the bottom corners, because you typically
don’t fill all the board with cards to put weight on the motherboard. There’s only a front
panel header and SATA connectors on the other corner, so again not much downwards
pressure to cause bending.
ATX Motherboard Screws
So when non-tech people buy an ATX motherboard, they are usually asked which
screws are for ATX motherboard screws and how many are there.
Usually, with an ATX motherboard, you should have nine motherboard screws for the
The ATX motherboard uses 6-32 Brass standoff screws and can be easily found on
Amazon or any other online platform. You can get ATX standoffs in a vast assortment of
sizes and shapes, as well as materials.
As long as your motherboard or any expansion cards sitting upright to it fits within your
case. You can have any sized standoffs you like (they need to be big enough to hold
from the backplate, and for some CPUs, they’ll require a little room for storing plates
that fit the CPU’s backside. This varies too much within ATX motherboards. They can
range from your motherboard size and may require different standoff screws.
The Best screw for Standoffs
The most popular standoff screw that has been used by thousands of people and has
given its stamp of approval
The M3 is yet the best among all standoff screws. The quality and its widespread use
make the M3 the best screw in motherboard standoffs. Some of the best features of this
standoff screw are :
● The high-quality brass and steel have superior rust resistance and excellent
oxidation resistance, ensuring long-time use.
● The M3 screw can also be used in installing an internal CPU disk, motherboard,
radiator, cooling fan, power supply, graphic card, hard drive, case, monitor, a flat
panel screen, or CD-ROM.
● M3*6 Tool-Less adjustment makes it easy for everyone to use without requiring
any specific tool.
So as far discussed, standoff screws used for your motherboard can vary and can
require different standoffs. But the most common and recommended standoff screw is
M3. It is the best because of its high-quality brass material, making it rust-resistant and
goes for longer.
The M3 can be used on almost any motherboard and not only for standoff but internal
fan screw, radiator, cooling fan, graphic card, and many more.
● Motherboards do not come supplied with mounting or standoff screws.
● Mounting screws come supplied when you purchase your PC frame.
● You may need standoffs to lift your motherboard to the correct mounting
● Standoffs of large size help you manage wires and provide airflow under
● The standoffs can be built into your case, or you may have to screw them
● M.2 Screws usually come with the motherboard you purchase
● The screws of the cooling solution are supplied with its purchase as every
cooling solution is different and varies accordingly.
● M3 screws can be used for ATX motherboards.
● The size and quantity may vary depending on its model and size.