Introducing BTX

Intel released news of their Pentium 4 570J just yesterday when they lifted the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) on it.  Check out our benchmarks here. Today, a day after they released their 3.8GHz Prescott, Intel lifts their NDA on the longed for details of their new BTX form factor.

At Computex this past summer the technology on the minds of the attendees was the new reengineered PC form factor that was said to change the way we look at desktop systems and the way they are to be cooled. As we mentioned in our June sneak peak of this new "Balanced Technology" there are many who are thinking twice about the performance benefits of the successor to ATX and how the public will gain from changing over to it. We also mentioned that there are some who believe this new design is just a way to help deal with the thermal problem with Intel's CPU's and that since Intel is the only name backing the technology the thermal issue is the main reason they really want to continue the push for BTX. At Computex the only BTX board on the floor was from Intel, which was not a surprise to us, but there were quite a few BTX cases from various companies including Enlight and AOpen.

Today, as Intel releases information on the BTX form factor with special evaluation kits, case manufacturers can begin designing cases to compliment Intel's motherboards, but does the industry want to follow?  Passions are running high against BTX; the thought of the big chip maker forcing yet another design change upon the industry has several people extremely upset.  We received a press kit from Intel with a microBTX motherboard and AOpen's newest desktop BTX case. 

We plan to take a middle of the pack Intel 915G microATX motherboard/chassis combination and compare it to the new Intel 915G microBTX motherboard/combination we received today.  We will test the microATX motherboard in a full ATX desktop case and a microATX tower.  Thermals, noise and size will dictate the majority of our conclusions in the analysis.

Examining ATX
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  • ThelvynD - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    We've been getting in new HP 7100s here at my work center and they've been in the micro-BTX format. I don't any major problems with it so far. Pic below.
  • Nonsense - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    #36 - Thanks Purav.
    Can you tell me - is the PS blowing in or out, and is the CPU fan blowing in or out? I'm still trying to figure where all the air is comming from.
  • PuravSanghani - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    #34: If you look at the picture of the backside of the B300 on page 8 there are groups of holes above the VGA expansion slot as well as to the right between the expansion slot and the power supply. There are also holes lining the bottom of the case if you look closely. We were surprised ourselves to find how well passively cooling all of the components in a system would actually work. And from the pictures you can also see there aren't too many holes for a large amount of air to come in through!
  • PuravSanghani - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    #25: Actually, the front panel connectors *are* standardized and combined into one single plug. We mentioned this on page 8 of the article, "First Look: AOpen B300 BTX case cont'd", in the paragraph where we talk about the auxiliary module.
  • Nonsense - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    #28 - I don't understand the air flow.
    If the CPU fan is blowing out the front of the case, then the PS _must_ be blowing in.
    Blowing hot air into a case does not sound good. Is that how it works?

    If the PS is also blowing out, then you have a vacuum. I do not see any heat comming into the case from the PS, so it must be blowing out...?!

    Where is the air comming from that is cooling the graphics card? It looks like mostly dead air in that corner - there are only tiny grills on the back.
  • Sunbird - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    From last paragraph of article:

    "The ATX case used more space and ran louder."

    Space is not evil!, its a good thing for when your drop a small screw, or have hands that fit your 6'6" frame. And loudness can be adressed in other just as succesfull ways.

    "Don't forget that additional non-redundant fans increase the failure rate of a computer as well - more moving parts."

    And what if the single fan on the BTX sollution fails? That is really non-reduntant if you ask me, anyone agree?

  • Sunbird - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    #20, I agree, I have a Packard Bell P1 133MHz flat desktop case PC in my workshop and that is almost exactly the same design as this, except the stuff like the optical drive, hard drives and power supply was swapped from the right to the left side of the case, othewise its exactly the same. Glad to see some oldschool designs again, lol

    #27's idea is brilliant, they quickly implemented something like that with the cases and their front USB options, those LED and power button connector have been around much longer. What's taking them so long?
  • epiv - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

  • skunkbuster - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    flash in the pants?
  • Zebo - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    This is going nowhere quick. It's obvious Intel will no longer need it when they make the Dothan desktop transition plus AMD all case and PS manufactures hate the idea. Just wahtever you do don't go buying an $300 Lian Li and $120 PSU since BTX is a flash in the pants.

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