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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  • DerekBaker - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link


    From here I should think: ">From the picture we see the flow of warm air pulled forward from beyond the VGA card. As it moves towards the front of the case the air flows over the Southbridge and Northbridge passively cooling each chip. We then see from the shades of red the air warms up as it flows through the CPU heatsink then begins to cool as it moves out the front of the case."

  • Oxonium - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    Let's see, a new form factor with new case requirements and STILL no standardized connector for the front Power/Reset/LED's/etc.? I'm all for cooler cases, but a standardized connector for those items is something that should have been implemented years ago.
  • HardwareD00d - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    #24, who cares since athlons run much cooler and don't need this case form factor.
  • Doormat - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    I heard a rumor that it wont work with Athlon 64 chips or any type of chip that has the memory controller integrated with the processor, because the distance between the processor and the RAM banks are too far. Anyone confirm this?
  • Superbike - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    Wow AT is back.
  • phisrow - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    While I agree that the tweaky enthusiast market doesn't have much to gain at the moment by moving from ATX to BTX, especially as most of them are running A64s or praying-for-death overclocked mobile Athlons, I think there is certainly something to be said for the form-factor. It does seem to be more efficient for cooling than your average ATX(especially for small cases). Even if you are running some PentiumM or a derivative thereof, more efficient is still better. After all, if a given case design can cool a high-end Prescott without deafening its user, it can probably cool a brutally overclocked Pentium M with its fans running at half the speed. For that matter, if the trace length issues aren't actually crippling, I would like to see some A64 motherboards in this format.
  • johnsonx - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    Visualize an office full of MicroBTX Desktop computers. Visualize the women in the office cupping their hands around the heat exhaust... visualize the overclocking tips flowing around the female staff as they strive to increase heat output... visualize the men pouring sweat, desparately trying to duct-tape the front vent to block the hot Intel Air.

    I'm sorry, but any spec that seeks to exhaust hot air out the FRONT of any case, whether it be a desktop, tower or SFF, is just plain STUPID.

  • araczynski - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    my god, after all these years, they fall back on the packard bell mentality...
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    GTMan: Temperatures were certainly taken with the cases closed.

  • GTMan - Monday, November 15, 2004 - link

    I wonder if all those temperature measurements were done with the case open? I would think a case designed for efficient air flow would only perform properly (as designed) when fully assembled!!!

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