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BTX ?

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BTX ?

Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 9:58 am

reading a few case reviews and forum discussion i bumped into this term a few times: BTX.

what's this? replacement for ATX?
when is this due to happen?
will ATX motherboards, cases, PSUs all be obsolete ?
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Postby uknown1234 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:37 am

btx new form factor for mobo
atx will eventualy be phased out. not exactly sure if they are out but pci-express is the other new feature that will be available on it. since pci-express is availabel btx might also be. it will be on install on the opposite side of your case. btx cases will also have to meet certain requirements for airflow and such to be approved.
here is a nice article
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.html?i=1876
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:50 am

OK thanks.
will read that article.
it's a year old BTW so i guess things are moving along quite slowly, ATX will stick around for a while.
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Postby uknown1234 on Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:14 pm

sory didnt bother too look for anything more recent. atx will definetely still be around for a while and will phase out slowly as the btx mobos mature and pci-express does too. incase you didn't know pci-express will be replacing agp and the pci slots we have now. should allow for faster thru put of video cards and other I/O boards. it sure does seem to be an interesting move but don't see why they had to change the board placing to the opposite side of atx.

just remebered i saw this so yes btx are already starting to come out but slowly. boxed mobos are not out yet, I believe and are due out late 2004 so we should start seeing them soon.
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=18771
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:47 pm

uknown1234 wrote:sory didnt bother too look for anything more recent.

hey! no need to apologize! :D
thanks for the links.
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Postby LoneWolf on Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:56 pm

Also note that BTX is currently an Intel thing only. There have been no BTX form factor boards for AMD processors yet. The redesign for BTX is supposedly to allow for better processor cooling as I understand it. I personally think it'll take some time in becoming a standard, and by some time, I mean like how long it took for USB ports to go from "those holes in the back of my computer" to something truly useful. Currently, the only reason to get a BTX case is if you're planning on an Intel-based system, and if the BTX case can support ATX boards too (a few designs reportedly can).
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:24 pm

i'm sure this will take quite some time. ATX stuff isn't obsolete quite yet.

BTW Intel stuff has a tendency to become a market standard.
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Postby LoneWolf on Tue Oct 05, 2004 9:39 am

dodecahedron wrote:i'm sure this will take quite some time. ATX stuff isn't obsolete quite yet.

BTW Intel stuff has a tendency to become a market standard.


Intel has also had some gear that never became a market standard despite their desire that it become so. It just doesn't receive as much publicity. One more well-known example is their Itanium processor, which has so far failed to gain a successful foothold in its intended market.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:18 am

i'm not sure this is a proper analogy.
the Itanium is a product, aimed at a certain market. there are other products in that market and Intel didn't manage to 'conquer' that market with the Itanium.

OTOH, BTX is a new standard.
there are quite a few standards in the computer hardware industry that were 'set' (is that the right word?) by Intel and eventually were accepted by the entire community. espcecially standards having to do with PC, where Intel is King (or would like to be called so, anyway a very central and influential player).

well, we'll just wait and see. i'm sure there are some standards Intel tried to set that weren't accepted too.
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BTX

Postby NuGuy on Tue Oct 05, 2004 12:32 pm

A couple of you may recall that I am waiting for these various new features to go mainstream before building/buying....

I spoke with a Dell sales rep in a mall in Austin, TX about three weeks ago. I mentioned BTX, and apparently Dell is NOT doing this (now, anyway). So if I bought the newest Dell, it wouldn't have the BTX mobo. He said some new features on new computers would be coming out soon -- around December, but did not specify. But he pretty much blew off the BTX form factor (seemed to be a personal opinion). I think the main idea behind BTX was to locate the CPU closer to the front (and front air intake opening) for better cooling of the CPU. Maybe this relocation is not significantlly better...?

Dell is big on the PCI Express, and this sales guy (who truly knows tech and lives for it) was very enthused about it. He is a gamer. From talking with him, it was "understood" that this is a feature you would want without question.

I'll be checking back with him in December. I may cop out and buy a ready-made system. He said December (just before Christmas) would be a good time to buy -- newest features and good deals. But I may wait until January; don't know why, just feel even newer machines/features may be released after Christmas sales unload older components....

Any other thoughts on this? With a Pentium II 450 MHz, I'm itching for a new computer. I'm buying for the long haul. (I keep my cars at least 15 years, until they just die. That's my style.)
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Postby uknown1234 on Tue Oct 05, 2004 4:20 pm

well intel is pushing for btx to help relieve heat issues with there cpus namely the prescott core. amd boards with pci-express should come out shortly. with the latest amd chip and pci-express these boards will be faster than the intel boards. btx may or may not become the standard since it seems to take care of heat issues that future cpu makers should be fixing anyways with or with out btx mobos. the btx form interferes with some of amds cpu cores, also not all motherboard manufacturer support btx. basicly btx is what intel wants to relieve there cpu issues and crown themselves kings. this does not mean that other will benefit from the btx form. the bigger thing will be pci-express which will alos be availble with amd boards soon to come out. as I mentioned before it will probably phase out agp and pci slots.
I also need to correct myself, btx will probably phase out older intel boards but not all atx form boards. at least not at the time being. it might not even phase out all of there intel boards. for starters btx may just be used for replacing boards used with prescott core cpus do to heat issues for one.
btx does seem promising but not if it is only limited for intel boards. there is alot to change with btx boards. for one it will require a different kind of power supply. i think it will still be quite some time before it catches on if it even does catch on. pci-express is also a work in progress and is already getting quite a bit of attention.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Oct 05, 2004 5:40 pm

according to the AnandTech article, BTX cases/mobos will be able to use ATX power supplies. (regular BTX, not microBTX or picoBTX).
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Postby LoneWolf on Tue Oct 05, 2004 10:34 pm

Being someone who builds my own systems, I'm waiting for several things before my next major upgrade:

A) Cost reductions in Socket 939 AMD processors
B) A Socket 939 mainboard with PCIe support

I'm not waiting however for BTX support. Dodec, while my analogy wasn't perfect, it's still an architecture, just a CPU architecture rather than a motherboard architecture (it was the one I could think of off the top of my head at the time). And it is true that Intel has had proposed architectures fail to be widely adopted; most of these failures are not widely publicized, and they have had plenty of success, more than enough to make their failures seem small by comparison. I wasn't saying BTX would fail; just noting that not all Intel proposals have succeeded as industry standards.

BTX can, in theory help cool a processor some by making sure the CPU is the first item to be cooled by the coolest air in the case; that which has just entered through the front intake fan. With the proper setup of a case with a dedicated cooling channel and a mainboard that strictly conforms to BTX, it may also be possible to keep voltage regulators and the mainboard chipset cooler. With an enthusiast-built system though, one can keep a case plenty cool with a bit of forethought to design choices. It will take some time for mainboard manufacturers to adopt BTX, and if it costs more to develop motherboards of this design, it may take longer yet. I'm also betting that BTX is more likely to occur in OEM systems first, who would rather use bigger case fans in a cooling-channel design than a smaller, less reliable fan for a CPU heatsink. ATX was adopted relatively quickly for multiple reasons, including the need for a new layout to accommodate a large Slot 1 CPU, and a need for a more organized, standardized, and solidly mounted port setup. There aren't as many readily apparent reasons for a quick switch to BTX.

As for power supplies, BTX setups will likely use the very new 24 pin power supply configuration. Most 24-pin power supplies will adapt to 20-pin (many include the adapter), but I've not yet seen a 20 to 24 pin adapter. I myself just recently got a 20-pin 470w Enermax a month ago; it looks like they already came out with a 24pin model that will soon supplant it. Currently, the only mobos I know using the 24pin spec are the new LGA775 Pentium 4 boards.

P.S. NuGuy, sounds like this is your chance to go to a system you've built yourself! :) Consider taking the chance if you haven't done so already. It can be pretty rewarding.
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Postby NuGuy on Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:54 pm

Yeah, I keep flip-flopping on building vs. buying. When I get on these boards, I get psyched up about building. Previously, Cowboy Slim and perhaps others have encouraged me also to build. You get exactly the hardware and software you want without the fat. (Also, the Dell rep mentioned "proprietary" (?-sp.) -- about some feature; I didn't follow. That bothers me, although the rep said it wasn't a big deal.... But it's still a red flag for the buyer (Beware!) I thought those old 'proprietary' days were long gone....)

I sure don't want a feature that never catches on, and ends up being mentioned a year or two later in a computer mag column: "What ever happened to .....?" :D

(PCI-Express is really now mainstream. I was in Sam's Club last weekend looking at a $1900 HP system, complete with 17" LCD monitor, that had that feature.)

I want something that is as bulletproof as possible. Not interested in squeezing out a little more CPU speed via overclocking. Want something that (foreseeably) still be useful for general computing in 3 or 4 years. I want to do still and video photo editing.

I still think I need the remainder of the year to see just what shakes out in the way of new features, and at least looks like it's going mainstream. (See my thread, this forum, page 3, "Building or buying a new computer?" I quoted from an article in a special issue of MAXIMUM PC mag.)

What would be really neat would be for all of us to sort of "build" a computer right here in this forum. Just make a list of all the components in the first post, use that as a template and then we can just throw our best pick ideas out (item plus price plus short reason/justificaton for purchase), and hopefully get a concensus of the best choice (value, not a too-expensive 'dream machine' thing. Maybe cap the price at $2000 max? (sans the monitor, speakers) I don't even know what a good machine will cost. The Dell rep thought he could fix me up really well for $1800+). For convenience, use NewEgg.com as our supplier. Anyway, just a thought. Even if I do buy from Dell, I'd need to know what best to buy and what to avoid. But I did/do trust that Dell rep - a young guy who told me he lives for computers.
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Postby LoneWolf on Wed Oct 06, 2004 4:19 pm

If you buy a manufactured system (that is, one that isn't built by a mom-n-pop shop, small scale mail order, or by your own hands) you will have some proprietary components, almost for certain. How proprietary depends on the make and model of system. Proprietary isn't bad for everyone, but for enthusiasts, it often is. For example, the Dell Optiplex GX-270, a fairly recent model. I can't neccessarily put in anyone's power supply, or mainboard as a replacement should one of these parts fail out of warranty. I also cannot choose to do so just because I want to upgrade.

Building a system not only offers the chance to tailor make something you can be proud of, but also means that if you want to make a change ten months down the road, you probably can quite easily. My current full-tower ATX case has been with my current system since around 1997. In that time, I've swapped half a dozen mainboards, and many more hard disks, optical drives, three power supplies due to increased power needs, and several graphics cards. It's nice being able to swap only a couple parts at a time, rather than having to buy a whole system. It also gets you familiar with what brands are trusted in the industry, which ones aren't, and which features you'd want in a system and why.

I like to think of my systems to some extent as works of art. Not in scale with a work of Picasso perhaps, but it feels good to see a system put together right, cables organized and routed just right, engineered for optimal cooling, with hand picked parts for performance within the price range I want. There's also a lot of fiddly bits I can add to make a system uniquely different than a Dell, Compaq, or other assembly-line machine.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Oct 06, 2004 4:32 pm

very nicely said :D
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Postby NuGuy on Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:08 pm

I've been on the lookout for dedicated BTX cases - not much out there yet. Maximum PC magazine reviewed one (1).

Anyway, for any of you guys who buy Scott Mueler's computer upgrade & repair book, the 16th ed. is out. (I never got to use my 15th ed....) I picked mine up at Sam's Club for $29. B&N also has it relatively cheap:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookse ... 3080&itm=1

Soft cover this year.

I think I will assemble my own computer after all. Part of the reason is simply that you can't buy a good preassembled one that is beige in color!! (I intend to move at least one component from my current computer to the yet-to-be-built new one. I just don't want my front panel to look like an old used car with odd-colored fenders.)

Anyway, I'm just checking in....
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Postby NuGuy on Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:30 pm

Gee! Well the main point of me logging in in the first place was just to mention that that book has info regarding BTX, PCI Express, etc. - the newer features that many of us are considering.
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