BTX Motherboards Galore

You'll remember from our BTX article that there are three flavors of BTX: pico, micro and regular BTX. Most of the motherboards we saw were micro BTX, meaning they had four expansion slots and are about the size of a micro ATX motherboard.

Of course, Intel's micro BTX motherboard was present at the Intel showcase:


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The Intel board features the newly announced 915 chipset, and features two PCI Express slots and two 32-bit PCI slots. One of the more noticeable changes BTX offers is that the graphics card slot (PCI Express x16) is now the last slot (or the first depending on how you look at it) on the board, making cooling much easier and much less restrictive.

It may be difficult to see in this picture, but note that the four SATA ports are located directly behind the parallel port at the top of the picture. It's sort of ironic to put one of the latest interface standards directly behind one of the oldest and most cumbersome.

It was good to see boards from companies like Gigabyte present as well, after all what use is an industry standard if Intel is the only one to demonstrate it?


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Gigabyte's board is also a micro BTX, indicated by its four expansion slots. Gigabyte's slot layout is a bit different from Intel's, as are their SATA and BTX power connectors. Considering where the SATA cables will end up, Intel's orientation of the connectors may make more sense and require less twisting of the already fragile SATA connectors to install properly.

MSI's board was also a departure from Intel's design, and we believe it also violates the BTX spec (or at least one of its goals). Can you see the problem?

Look carefully at the expansion slots, the PCI Express x16 slot isn't the first slot on the board, there's an x1 slot that comes before it - defeating one of the cooling purposes of BTX. To MSI's credit, this is most likely a very early motherboard sample without much care or attention paid to such details, but this could also be one reason why more BTX motherboards haven't been shown off - a lack of spec compliance.

MSI's solution was 925X based, which is the first 925X based BTX motherboard that we've seen thus far.

Why everyone hates BTX BTX Motherboards from ASUS and MiTAC
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  • CrystalBay - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    The shuttles' seem to be the most intrigueing of the bunch. Reply
  • jliechty - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    Anybody remember WTX? (*crickets chirping*) ... well, I don't suppose many would. Anyway, Intel was behind that also, and heck, some people even _liked_ it - and look where it is(n't) today. I'm not saying that's what will happen to BTX, but I'm certainly not going to be an early adopter here. Reply
  • Dasterdly - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    BTX is a small step considering how long we've been using ATX (20+ yrs!).
    There's no cooling at the bottom for the expansion cards and they are still mounted flat, trapping heat under them.
    Intel is still fiddling around with this seems like it's not happening.
    It's almost time for upgrading for me I dont want to wait another year for BTX and Im not buying another ATX based system.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    Ive hated BTX since day 1. Its just completly un-needed in my eyes, even for a prescott. I see no reason for BTX to even exist. Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    The hate is simple...they want to change everything and the only semi-decent reason they have for it is improved cooling. The idea that all of our mobos and cases will be rendered obsolete by Intel for cooling reasons is frankly quite stupid; the only cases that have real trouble cooling are those lousy Dell/HP boxes that don't even have a single 80mm in them...changing the whole factor to facilitate even crappier designs by OEMs isn't exactly good news to me. Personally I think BTX would be good to implement only in SFF if indeed the cooling is beneficial...since pretty much every SFF case has a custom mobo it wouldn't affect the end user very much. However for those of us who love the ATX cases we plopped down so much money for, we'd like to keep putting new mobos in, thanks but no thanks Intel. Why not champion some effective standard of water cooling if you are worried so much about your flamethrowing Prescotts? Frankly I hope AMD and all the manufacturers completely ignore this and let it die rather than let Intel use its monopoly to push the industry into some silly, unfinished standard. Reply
  • tfranzese - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    I must agree. Aside from some vague explaining of the BTX delima which has yet to be finalized by Intel there was a lot of good pics in there and descriptions. Reply
  • mcveigh - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    great pics, clear explanations.....this is why I love Anandtech :) Reply
  • tfranzese - Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - link

    I wish you guys did more investigating. The Inquirer gives much more reason for the hate behind BTX.

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=16294
    Reply

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