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What's good for BTX?

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September 23, 2003 9:17:59 AM

What is the actual reason to intend a new form factor named BTX? Reading the Intel articles and the BTX Specification downloaded from the formfactors.org, I couldn't find an answer why a standard is to be changed again?

In 1997, ATX was intended. Compared to old AT form factor, it gave several good features on power management. Also, a single rear panel with standard port connectors like LPT and COMs was a good idea to replace lots of different port cables. Well, I can say that ATX and its successors named microATX and FlexATX, and actually, nowadays it pushed the old AT form factor out to the history.

Let's take a brief look to the BTX features summary:<i>

<b>Low profile options</b>
Easy integration in small, thin form factor systems
<b>In-line core layout</b>
Optimized for efficient system cooling
<b>Scaleable board dimensions</b>
Multiple sizes and configurations
<b>Structural board support mechanisms</b>
Mechanical characteristics to support high-mass motherboard components</i>

Now, I would like to ask:

<i>Easy integration in small, thin form factor systems</i>
Didn't we see FlexATX slim and «micro-tower» cases yet? i did ;) 

<i>Optimized for efficient system cooling</i>
According to the BTX Specification 1.0, hot air from CPU cooler shall blow to not very cold video card... Can it be named «optimized»? I think, ATX cooling system was good enough. <i>Can anyone prove that BTX layout offers really better cooling than ATX?</i>

<i>Multiple sizes and configurations</i>
Till this, we also had Full ATX, Micro ATX, and Flex ATX form-factors, which allows to build systems of several sizes, from slim desktops to big tower servers.

<i>Mechanical characteristics to support high-mass motherboard components</i>
Through last five years ATX cases grew up to do the same. Currently produced coolers for latest Athlons are usually 400 to 1200 grams, or one to three pounds, of mass! Or, Intel developers mean something different?

Well... Actually, I have not found any reason for changing from ATX to BTX... Your suggestions?

More about : good btx

Anonymous
a b ) Power supply
September 23, 2003 7:43:30 PM

You forgot one:

It's a good way to force people to upgrade for no good reason.

Seriously though, the last thing about large component mounting might be useful in the future if...air cooling stays popular and CPU's continue down the increasing power density path. It seems logical that if this were the intention there would be more about increasing the space around the CPUs for large heatsinks to fit into.

Just a couple of thoughts I had, maybe totally off base.
September 23, 2003 11:34:06 PM

The only good reason is to put the CPU at the bottom of the case, which also puts the GPU cooler exposed, instead of between slots. When ATX was introduced I wondered why they put the GPU between slots, this fixes that problem.

Anyway, the other claims are nonsense. There are already cases that use rizer cards to lay a card sideways using ATX boards.

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September 24, 2003 1:09:46 PM

Well... I've just thought... The "new" BTX layout looks very like mirrored AT.
September 26, 2003 2:39:56 PM

Intel have fail to replace ATX with a few other standards in the last few years. I do not think this one will success.
September 27, 2003 5:34:04 AM

Really? I didn't hear about them... Or maybe you mean LPX and NLX? Well if yes, I agree, they didn't become popular. But according to BTX specs, it is to replace all of the most popular ATX variants, and I think, Intel can do this.
September 27, 2003 1:49:53 PM

If Intel still have monoply on the CPU market then BTX will have a better chance to replace ATX. I am still wondering if AMD supports this new standard. I hope AMD and Intel will continue to use compatible case and PSU in the future.
September 29, 2003 12:41:15 AM

I am very worried now that the AMD64 LOOKs just like a P4 well I hope whoever squeezes out the current form factor goes out of business. really I think people are tired of replacing perfectly good cases and power supplies in the name of something new. I see people still using and buying PIIIs and I bought into the P4 and really I see nothing different. I replaced my sound card with the sound blaster live, I saw a huge difference. I replaced my video card with the ATI radion at the time highest one which was the 8500v or whatever, huge difference . then I traded in my PIII board for a P4 Asus not much difference. So I don't know I am going to keep my system for atleast 5 years before I trade in for a new processor. My thoughts anyway
December 19, 2008 12:22:54 AM

I am currently building a BTX system. And, its going to be a sweet gaming rig. Ill definitely post pictures when its built (probably will be running in the next week). The reason I went BTX? Because I currently am using a low profile Dell that supports Core2, PCI-E x16, and on-board SATA-300. So, I already have a motherboard that is good enough. But since it is low profile, and I want a really good video card, I decided to transplant most of the components into a BTX case.

But right there I will point out the single problem I have with BTX. No software overclocking! Theres no reason BTX cant supports this, its just that Intel seems to make all the BTX boards and Intel traditionally does not support software overclocking in the BIOS. However, I have hardware overclocked by forcing my bus speed to 1066MHz, and using an Allendale CPU, which is designed for 800MHz bus. Therefore, my 1.8GHz Core2 is running at 2.4GHz.

Now, I have to say, the cooling on BTX is definitely better, at least if youre going air-cooled. Air flow goes from front to back, with little to no dead zones. ATX has dead zones in its airflow, unless you are really good at fan placement. Also, the RAM is parallel to the airflow, so it flows across the RAM; this does not happen in an ATX system.

Another thing I personally like about BTX is that no BTX boards have older ports, such as COM, Serial, etc. IMHO I think all those should go the way of the floppy drive (sorry if you disagree).

Now, I hope that thermal module doesnt get in the way of the large video card I am installing. My system specs are going to be:

Allendale Core2 1.8 OCed to 2.4GHz
3GB RAM @PC5300
ATI Radeon 4850 w/ 2GB VRAM
Antec 500W power supply
250GB and 80GB SATA-300 hard drives
Installed in a Cooler Master B541 minitower case.

And for show, I will eventually try to fill this thing with copper heatsinks as an alternative to water-cooling, but will still be fun to look at : )

Thanks for listening to what I had to say.

-Chris P
!