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What is a Motherboard Standoff?

PC building is not an easy task, especially when you are building a gaming PC. People often consider only essential elements, such as the motherboard, graphics card, and other components. But in reality, there are too many minor components that are as important as others.

As they are the ones who provide the proper safety for the important and bigger parts. Unlike the other components, they are smaller in size and way more critical to install due to congested positions. A person should be well versed with the installation process for such components, in order to install them correctly without disturbing the other components present in the cabin. In the very same way today, we have one such component from our PC cabin i.e. Motherboard standoff.

What is a Motherboard Standoff & How are They Used?

A motherboard standoff is one of the PC elements which is positioned below the motherboard. The primary job of these elements is to prepare a proper mounting stage for the motherboard in order to maintain the distance between the motherboard surface and the PC cabin surface. Generally, they are made of plastic or brass but play a very important role in keeping the motherboard safe from any damage.

As everyone is aware, motherboards are one of the most important parts of a PC which takes care of some major tasks for the computer. Generally, motherboards are directly stationed on the surface of the cabin at the allocated place. Due to this, it may come in direct contact with the motherboard’s backside which has small metallic components. Which may cause damage due to electrical shocks.

Are Motherboard Standoffs Necessary?

In order to understand the necessity of standoffs, first let’s learn about their primary function and task. The standoffs are single-purpose components that are used to keep the motherboard safe from any damage or electrical shock. To describe in simple terms with the help of motherboard standoffs a user can maintain a proper distance between the PC cabin surface and the motherboard back surface. It provides a proper mounting position for a motherboard at a safer height in order to create a distance between both surfaces. By ignoring the installation of motherboard standoffs, a user might put the PC at risk of getting damaged from the shock. Not only the motherboard but also the other components as well that are in contact. If observing the complete positioning of all the components in the PC cabin, a user will understand the necessity and importance of the motherboard standoffs.

Do Motherboard Screws Come With Your Case?

The motherboard does come with a set of screws, but the same cannot be used for the motherboard standoffs. If you look closely, you will understand the screws depend more on the type of PC cabin than the type of motherboard. And generally, the standoffs are offered along with the PC cabin and not with the motherboard. When a user purchases the PC cabin, the packaging includes plenty of screws that can be used to install the motherboard standoffs. Whereas the motherboard does have screws inside its packaging as well, they are generally M.2 type. Not just that, for better understanding, it also comes with a user manual for new users.

What Happens If You Don’t Use Motherboard Standoffs?

If you look closely at the design and positioning of the PC cabin and its components, you will see there is no gap between the surface of the cabin and the back surface of the cabin. Due to this, the metallic surface might come in direct contact with the back surface of the motherboards which have small metallic components. As everyone is aware, the motherboard performs many important tasks and is continuously functioning till the time the PC is working. The contact of two metallic surfaces may lead to electric shock, which will not only damage the motherboard but also there is a very high risk for other components as well. This is why it is always suggested to install the standoffs for the longevity of the motherboard and other components as well.

What are Types of Motherboard Standoffs?

Different types of motherboard standoffs vary according to the type of material used, color & size, whereas they are normally 1cm long. If discussed about the material types, the most common ones are brass and plastic. Whereas the general standardization of standoffs is identified according to the sizes. Many standoff manufacturer companies follow the UTS standard of #6-32 UNC or ISO of M3 standards for easy installation.

How to Install a Motherboard Standoff?

1. Check your Motherboard’s Form Factor

The form factor is nothing but a determined shape of the motherboard, which gives the user an idea about its dimension. At first, the user needs to identify the motherboard size, as the number of standoffs required for support varies accordingly. For example, the mini ITX requires six standoffs, whereas the micro ATX needs nine.

2. Screw in the Standoffs

Generally, the PC cabin has dedicated screw slots available at the surface for the motherboard standoff. Once the user has identified the size and number of standoffs. The next thing is to screw the standoffs onto the cabin at the determined position to prepare the proper mounting surface for the motherboard.

3. Mount your Motherboard

Once done then, carefully station the motherboard on the standoffs. Also, use the alignment pin in order to align the motherboard properly. But before that, make sure to check the wiring and other components. It should not create obstacles while mounting the motherboard, as it may damage the component. Once the alignment is done as per the standoffs and holes, position it properly for the next steps.

4. Screw the Motherboard Down

Tightening the screws is the most crucial stage while installing the motherboard and standoffs. As it requires a proper amount of force to make sure the motherboard is mounted firmly at the same time keeping in mind, the extra force can damage the components. It is advised to use a proper screwdriver for the screws.

How Many Motherboard Standoffs Do I Need?

In honest reviews, a user can install as many standoffs until the motherboard is mounted firmly. There is no thumb rule for the number of standoffs, also, it won’t have any bad effect even if some of the standoffs are positioned out of the parameter of the motherboard. But it will definitely affect if there are fewer standoffs. The only thing to keep in mind while installing the standoffs is to make sure you do not install too many of them. Because of that, the motherboard might get damaged or bend.

What If My Case Already Has Mobile Standoffs/Integrated Standoffs?

In the modern design of PC cabins & cases, the mobile standoffs/integrated standoffs are already included. In such scenarios, the user does not need to install any extra standoffs. These preinstalled integrated standoffs are well-designed and positioned as per the safe guidelines. But before mounting the motherboard, check the compatibility as per the holes and screws. As the motherboard comes in different sizes there are chances the motherboard won’t be stationed properly. In order to mount it properly, align the standoffs properly according to the motherboard holes.

What If My Case Already Has a Fixed Standoff Installed

Generally, in such scenarios, the type of motherboard is already mentioned, as they are designed for the specific type. All the PC cabins/ cases with fixed standoffs are not capable of moving their standoffs to other positions, which indicates the same. To complete the proper mounting process, make sure to check the compatibility & alignment.

Motherboard Standoff – FAQs

1. What is the primary function of installing motherboard standoffs and spacers in between the case & the motherboard?

Ans: The primary function of standoffs is to maintain a proper distance and act as a barrier between the case surface and motherboard back surface to prevent them from getting in contact.

2. Does the type of motherboard standoffs vary for different motherboard sizes?

Ans: Yes, generally, the motherboard standoffs are considered as per the type of motherboard as they are designed and manufactured in such a way. There are multiple types of motherboards in sizes such as mini ITX, Micro/Full-size ATX. Always make sure to choose the compatible set of standoffs as per the motherboard type.

3. Is it possible to reuse the standoffs if upgrading a motherboard?

Ans: It depends on the form factor of the new motherboard. If the previous and the new one both have the same form factor in such cases, the motherboard standoffs can be reused (But make sure to check if the standoffs are in good condition). If not, then new motherboards standoffs will be required as per the positioning of holes and the dimension of the standoffs

4. Can a user install a motherboard without using standoffs?

Ans: There are possibilities the motherboard might get installed, but it is always advised to use proper standoffs to prevent it from any further damage. The direct contact between the motherboard surface and the case surface may lead to electric shock or some other problem which is definitely not good for your PC.

5. Is there any specific standardization for standoffs?

Ans: Yes, they all are available in the same size and threads for all the computers. The only difference a user may find is in the length of the standoff, as it differs from manufacturer to manufacturer.


Motherboard standoffs are vital components present in the PC cabin. It helps to maintain a proper and safe distance between the case surface and the back surface of the motherboard. It acts as a barrier between them to prevent them from making any direct contact. As it may lead to damage to the motherboard due to electric shock or any other problem. It is highly recommended to use the motherboard standoffs to reduce the risk of damaging the motherboard or any other component.

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