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As projected, Intel Corp. Monday said its new BTX form-factor co-developed by Intel and a number of industry partners entered the scene and systems made using BTX guidelines are widely available around the globe. The advantages the new PC design brings, Intel said, are a better balance in thermal management, system size and shape, and acoustics.

BTX Replaces ATX

“The current industry standard ATX was introduced in 1995, and as technology has evolved, new challenges have arisen that are increasingly difficult for ATX to handle. The BTX form factor specification was developed as an evolutionary step to the ATX form factor to address these issues, and we expect it to eventually replace ATX as the industry standard,” said Bill Kirby, Director of Platform Marketing, Intel’s Desktop Products Group.

BTX provides an improved motherboard layout and chassis design that delivers improved airflow to high power components while using fewer fans and lower fan speeds, allowing the systems to run cooler and quieter. BTX also allows for the use of conventional cooling technologies that contribute to reduced total system cost. Additionally, BTX ensures the use of standard ingredients even in ultra-small system profiles, thus enabling a broader range of system sizes than is currently possible with ATX offerings.

BTX Explained

BTX systems and components, such as mainboard, will be available in variety of versions, including slim tower, slim desktop, small form-factor, cube, mini-tower, desktop, and entertainment PC system profiles.

Perhaps, the main peculiarity of the BTX over the ATX is layout of a mainboard that allows more efficient cooling and easier design. BTX layout allows for more room for processor power delivery routing and reduces routing complexity for the memory controller to memory from the I/O controller to rear panel I/O. The thermal benefits provided to the processor voltage regulation allows for designs with fewer components.

BTX also introduces a standard Support and Retention Module (SRM) concept, which reduces the probability of failures in mechanical shock, vibration, and long term reliability testing.

Ready, Steady, Go!

Previously, BTX based PCs had been only available from OEMs, but with the release of these boxed products, worldwide channel customers can now provide BTX systems as well.

Intel will be shipping desktop building blocks based on BTX, including its boxed processors with a BTX-compatible thermal solution including the Intel Pentium 4 processor 530J, 550J, and 560J supporting Hyper-Threading Technology. In addition, Intel offers microBTX boxed mainboard D915GMH.

A number of companies currently also ship mainboards, chassis and coolers to support the new BTX standard. The list includes companies like AOpen, ASUS, AVC, Chenbro, Evercase, FIC, FSP, Foxconn, HIPRO, Gigabyte, MiTAC, MSI, Shuttle, TaiSol, Thermaltake and Yeong Yang. While the list is not long, in future the BTX will take the market away from ATX, some believe.

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