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AMD's David Schwarzbach holding a DTX PCB panel
AMD works on new small form factor standard

AMD today announced the company is developing a new small form factor standard. The new form factor, dubbed DTX, is AMD’s attempt to unify the various proprietary small form factors currently in use. DTX will be an open industry standard available to all case, motherboard and system manufacturers, but will not be limited to AMD-based products.

There will be two DTX standards available -- DTX and mini-DTX. The current DTX specification will only define a few requirements, the primary of which are motherboard mounting points and keep-out areas. Alternative specifications, like Micro-BTX, have strict guidelines for everything from airflow regulation to legacy I/O definitions.

AMD claims the consumer market needs a small form factor standard for the following reasons:
  • Electricity cost savings
  • Take up less space for both practical and aesthetic purposes
  • Enables systems that are quiet
  • Do not generate excessive heat
The enterprise clients need a small form factor for the following reasons:
  • Lower energy bills to help reduce operating costs
  • Enables differentiated and competitive solutions
  • Smaller, sleeker form factors take up less space in offices and cubicles and are designed to operate quietly
DTX falls between the current Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX standards. DTX motherboards will measure in at 200mm by 244mm compared to the 170mm by 170mm footprint of Mini-ITX motherboards. MicroATX motherboards measure 244mm by 244mm.

Mini-DTX will initially target sub-6 liter enclosures and support processors with TDPs up to 35 watts. The footprint of Mini-DTX motherboards will be 200mm x 170mm -- just a tad wider than Mini-ITX motherboards.

While there are already plenty of other standards on the market such as ATX, Mini-ITX and BTX, AMD’s goal with DTX is greater flexibility and lower costs. Greater flexibility is achieved by making DTX motherboards backwards-compatible with ATX and Micro-ATX.  Lower costs will be addressed with DTX due to the clever sizing of DTX motherboards. Most manufacturers are able to produce two standard ATX motherboard PCBs per PCB panel, a manufacturer can now cut four DTX or six Mini-DTX motherboards from the same panel.

There will be room for two expansion slots on DTX motherboards. No constraints have been set for the expansion slot configuration, which leaves manufacturers to decide which slots are needed. An ExpressCard expansion slot is also planned for the DTX form factor.

Expect AMD to release the final DTX specification later this quarter. It is unknown when or if manufacturers will produce systems and components based around the DTX standard, but several motherboard and enclosure manufacturers have already announced DTX products will appear in their 2007 roadmaps.


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Nice...
By Furen on 1/10/2007 5:57:41 AM , Rating: 5
Anyone else like that case? I wouldn't mind having one of those...

I particularly like how the spec allows for one or two expansion cards... a decent half-height video card and any low-power CPU and you have a pretty good gaming system. And, if you don't need the gaming part (like me, though for some reason I always end up buying pretty good video cards to play a game one or twice a week) then a wireless lan card or something like that could work for you.




RE: Nice...
By piesquared on 1/10/2007 6:01:20 AM , Rating: 4
I agree. This has huge potential.


RE: Nice...
By Furen on 1/10/2007 6:15:16 AM , Rating: 2
I've always been fascinated by VIA's mini-ITX though the damn price point has always put me off. $300+ for a chip that performs worse than a 5 year old K7 and uses a motherboard that lacks all the newer technologies is highway robbery. Because this form factor would, in theory, use off-the-shelf parts, prices should be much more down-to-earth.

Of course, AMD has an advantage over Intel with this form factor since its chips can, in theory, work with a single-chip chipset (though I have yet to see an IGP single-chip solution).


RE: Nice...
By Aikouka on 1/10/2007 8:38:08 AM , Rating: 3
Just as a note, you can buy mini-ITX boards that use Intel and AMD processors. Albeit, they aren't fanless like some of the Via C3 processors are, but they do exist! :)

http://www.logicsupply.com (my favorite source for itty-bitty computing) has them.


RE: Nice...
By masher2 (blog) on 1/10/2007 10:32:15 AM , Rating: 1
Those Mini-ITX motherboards also tend to have many things you simply can't find on a standard mobo...things like LVDS and video outputs, RS-485 ports, and DC-DC converters to allow them to run directly from a 12V supply.

I have two of them built into the walls of my house, running the security and home automation systems.


RE: Nice...
By Frank M on 1/10/2007 10:47:11 AM , Rating: 2
No fucking way, really? Did you set it up?


RE: Nice...
By masher2 (blog) on 1/10/2007 11:37:11 AM , Rating: 1
Yes I did...I've got plans to add even more functionality to the system, but finding time to work on it seems to elude me :/


RE: Nice...
By noxipoo on 1/10/2007 12:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
stop posting here for more time.


RE: Nice...
By hubajube on 1/10/2007 1:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have two of them built into the walls of my house, running the security and home automation systems.
That's pretty kick ass dude. Nice!


RE: Nice...
By scrapsma54 on 1/10/2007 5:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Is the mobo a working version? I know that come of the ic arent there. If so I really like the simple look without all the resistors. I guess since 4 of these can be made from only one pcb, I can finally get a performance mobo at an affordable price.


RE: Nice...
By scrapsma54 on 1/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: Nice...
By cochy on 1/10/2007 9:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
...lol
That comment is pretty funny. I don't know if it would be funnier if it was a purposeful joke or if he has no clue what he's talking about.


RE: Nice...
By scrapsma54 on 1/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: Nice...
By JeffDM on 1/12/2007 12:19:46 PM , Rating: 2
Integrated audio uses valuable system memory? How much does it use? That board there has two memory slots, so it should be easy and cheap enough to stuff 2GB into that system. I'm just not seeing why it would be a major penalty that it's worth paying money just to reduce a little bit of memory overhead.


RE: Nice...
By Orville on 1/10/2007 9:11:34 AM , Rating: 3
Anh,

Thank you so much for this article announcing a very much anticipated, and in my unworldly opinion, very much needed new standard for the PC desktop market segment. To be brief, I don’t give a damn about enterprise clients, a DTX mobo standard, or my light bill. And I don’t relish HP and Dell made consumer PCs. I am, however, very interested in a bare bones consumer PC that is based on some mobo standard, like mini-DTX. I guess Intel has dropped the ball here with all their layoffs. I also am very interested in 35 watt CPUs, but I can’t buy an AMD one. A lower light bill would come free with a 35 watt CPU, won’t it? Move aside Shuttle and let the big boys like ASUS in. Of course it would mean that AMD would have to sell retail 35 watt CPUs, wouldn’t it? Right now these just go to HP and Dell. That sucks! But, this attempt at a new desktop mobo standard shows that some folks at AMD have their heads on straight. I noticed that the only semi companies with trademarks in the photos were AMD and TI. What does that mean?



RE: Nice...
By sprockkets on 1/10/2007 11:31:22 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, kinda like what we need, except without the crap of reversing the layout like with BTX causing everyone to invest and now lose all that money for nothing since Intel like dropped it.


A replacement for ATX would also be nice
By phatboye on 1/10/2007 10:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
What about making a replacement for ATX? BTX was a first attempt but it just wasn't designed well enough. If someone could implement a good and open replacement for ATX that would allow for better airflow throughout the case while making the noise output lower that would be greatly appreciated.




RE: A replacement for ATX would also be nice
By FightingChance on 1/10/2007 12:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm curious; what is the design failing of BTX? It seems rather nice to me.

Is it just not open enough? I thought that it was open but AMD floundered because at the time they couldn't lay out their traces to be able to have their CPU's in BTX cases.


RE: A replacement for ATX would also be nice
By AlexWade on 1/10/2007 12:41:05 PM , Rating: 2
I believe BTX is failing because it isn't backward-compatible with ATX and it offers no major improvements over ATX overall. It does offer better airflow, but nothing to make it standout.

Is it just me, or is AMD suddenly become the PC innovator. I know Intel has the awesome Core 2, but it doesn't offer new stuff. AMD made x86-64, AMD made integrated memory controller, AMD worked on Hyper Transport, AMD's Live seems to have all the momentum over Intel Viiv. And other things. AMD made a huge splash at CES.


By therealnickdanger on 1/10/2007 2:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
It might just be you. If by "suddenly" you mean "recently", then Intel has been leading the charge. DX10-compatible integrated graphics (X3000), on-board flash for HDD access (Robson), 45nm, quad-core, dual quad-core, Centrino platform, Apple platform, performance-per-watt... I'm pretty sure the list goes on.

I think BTX is having trouble because it was released while Intel was basically getting owned by AMD. Enthusiasts and early adopters weren't buying Intel at the time, so why would they buy a new form factor for a product they don't own? It's ironic that now that Intel has taken a powerful lead, AMD is releasing a new form factor...


RE: A replacement for ATX would also be nice
By Chillin1248 on 1/11/2007 3:27:40 AM , Rating: 2
Intel has much more R&D than AMD:

Intergrated Memory controller:

The integrated microprocessor memory management unit (MMU) was developed by Childs et al. of Intel, and awarded US patent number 4,442,484.



X86-64:

IA64
EMT64


Hyper-Transport:

AMD deserves credit for this, but the credit is equally shared amongst the entire HTX forum:

Advanced Micro Devices, Alliance Semiconductor, Apple Computer, Broadcom Corporation, Cisco Systems, NVIDIA, PMC-Sierra, Sun Microsystems, and Transmeta.

Also look up CSI for Intel's implementation of this.


AMD Live:

Like you said, Intel Viiv, which is better is a matter of opinion.

The rest you said is all opinion. And you might just want to do much more research on the Core 2.

-------
Chillin


RE: A replacement for ATX would also be nice
By Chillin1248 on 1/11/2007 3:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
Wonderful how sensitive (vote down with no response for why) AMD fanboys are that they light is not so bright. For gods sakes I own a AMD64 system if anyone cares.

-------
Chillin


RE: A replacement for ATX would also be nice
By crystal clear on 1/12/2007 3:45:20 AM , Rating: 1
Hi,there

Quote-
Your comment-(vote down with no response for why)

Unquote-
This is not the Amd fanboys rather A FEW WHO GET CHEAP THRILLS VOTING DOWN ANY GOOD COMMENT.

Read below my response to a post of mine made directly to YOU.

Quote-

RE: Something missing in this announcement ?
By crystal clear on 1/7/07, Rating: 2
By crystal clear on 1/7/2007 5:19:33 AM , Rating: 2

This message was FOR Chillin ONLY & NOT FOR ANYBODY ELSE-
read post-it clearly implies that.
Only find it rated down-

-By crystal clear on 1/6/2007 4:46:23 AM , Rating: 1

This is just for the guy WHO ABUSES THE VOTING SYSTEM & or MISUSES IT.

*Ratings DONT bother me a bit,nor do I care about it.

*I dont make my comments for ratings,rather on what I think,know about the subject matter.In short my opinions.

*If you dont approve it -give a counter argument & NOT VOTE
IT DOWN.
ITS PLAIN COWARDLY-CREEPY-SLIMY of that person to hide behind the VOTING system.

*THIS EXAMPLE PROVES MY CASE.

*I waited for this opportunity to prove-how many of posters
making good/valid comments get voted down by a few who MISUSE the system,for CHEAP THRILLS.

*THIS is blatant ABUSE of the Voting/Rating system.

STOP THIS.


Unquote-

DT has picked some garbage on its way-DT better dump this garbage.




By oTAL on 1/12/2007 3:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well... to be honest I don't think it was a very good post and there is a misleading part which could deserve a down rating...

quote:

X86-64:
IA64
EMT64


It misleads in two ways:
1 - It associates IA64 and EMT64, two very different architectures (although IA64 can run x86 code)
2 - It does not mention that it was AMD that developed the architecture. Intel only used AMD's architecture due to market pressure (namely MicroSoft) and because they can, due to cross license agreements. AMD deserves all the credit for "fixing" x86 (the new architecture makes a hole lot of improvements, correcting most of x86's major flaws).

Maybe you did know all of this... your post does not say anything contradicting what I said... but it was misleading... do you agree?

P.S. Disclaimer: I bought a lot of Intel stock and I'm hoping they make piles of money this year... Their stock is very undervalued for their position in the market.


Pic
By mendocinosummit on 1/10/2007 8:44:21 AM , Rating: 2
Is it just me or is the mobo being held up look bigger than a ATX or that guy must be really, really small.




RE: Pic
By itlnstln on 1/10/2007 9:00:24 AM , Rating: 2
He has a mobo panel which is four mobos ready to be cut for Retail/OEM.


RE: Pic
By shaw on 1/10/2007 9:01:27 AM , Rating: 2
Looks to be 4 DTX motherboards actually. At first I thought it was an old school AT motherboard!


RE: Pic
By justjc on 1/10/2007 9:13:16 AM , Rating: 4
What the man holds up is the plates they use in production today, for manufacturing ATX boards, which is why the plate naturally is bigger than ATX boards ;).

The smart thing about DTX and mini-DTX is that such a plate, as those used today, will, if devided into 4, be the correct size for 4 DTX boards, or if divided into 6, be the size of 6 mini-DTXs = No waste and no new machinery needed = cheaper, environmentally sound, boards.


RE: Pic
By marvdmartian on 1/10/2007 9:39:05 AM , Rating: 3
Don't worry, OP, I thought that too, at first. Had to click on the pic, and see that it was 4 mobos on one panel, to understand! :)

By my calculations, if the DTX is 200 x 244 mm, then a 4 board pcb will be 400 x 488 mm.....and if you can get 6 boards out of that same pcb, in the mini-dtx form, then those boards ought to be ~ 163 x 200 mm size, or ~ 6.5 x 8 inches in size, right? That puts them pretty close to the original size of Shuttle's SFF motherboards, which could make for some excellent computer mods! Now if they'll just keep the price reasonable, as pointed out by someone else here, and not make them atrociously priced, like the mini and nano itx!!

Oh yeah, and another thought......when someone comes up with the eventual ETx format, will it work okay with the one exception that every time you connect to the internet, it will try to.....phone home?? ;)


I hate Intel
By encryptkeeper on 1/10/2007 9:21:08 AM , Rating: 1
As soon as I read the title to the article, I groaned. We've seen what happened with Intel's BTX technology, and now their VBI technology is just about dead also. But if they want to make a new open technology that anyone can participate in, well great! Good for AMD!




RE: I hate Intel
By Alphafox78 on 1/10/2007 10:55:17 AM , Rating: 2
What does this have to do with intel??


RE: I hate Intel
By dijuremo on 1/10/2007 3:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
Simple, Intel already tried a new case standard called BTX which failed misserably. Now AMD is trying to do it the right way by opening it to everyone and making it backwards compatible with ATX. This way prodution of DTX motherboards can start and you can still put them in any ATX case. You can even update your current mobo in if you have and ATX and possibly a MicroATX case. That is one of the aspects where BTX failed. Needed new case and new motherboard.


RE: I hate Intel
By johnsonx on 1/10/2007 5:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
did BTX fail? That will be shocking news to the OEMs that use it for almost all of their systems. Dell uses it for a large percentage, and Gateway uses it for 95%+. I'm not sure about HPaq, but it wouldn't surprise me if they use it too.

Just because something isn't used commonly in the enthusiast market doesn't make it a failure.

There are also BTX motherboards for AM2; Dell uses them.


RE: I hate Intel
By JeffDM on 1/12/2007 12:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
Let's just say that Intel has backed off on BTX. Last I saw, Intel themselves really cut back on their BTX board offerings. Maybe the major OEMs are using BTX because ATX boards are still popular, making it harder to use third party components to repair their computers. This would not surprise me.


By 8steve8 on 1/10/2007 12:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
the arguments for the need for DTX in the market (which already has uBTX and pBTX) are week.

realistically amd should just embrace u/p BTX both are good standards, but are stuck in a bit of a chicken and egg market...

no one wants to buy btx mobos since the selection of mobos and corresponding cases is limited... and the selection of cases is limited since no one wants to build them until there is a well established market...

backwards compatability is a start, but is it much better than pBTX which is a pretty nice standard for highly dense, quiet and cool pcs.



so now we have 2 alternative (and improved) formfactors next to ATX,

nice, almost as nice as having both hddvd and blueray in the market.


whats best for all of us is consolidation of our nextgen form factor.





By MattCoz on 1/10/2007 3:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
Companies always have and always will do what's best for themselves and their stockholders first, and only what's best for the customers if it happens to be the same thing. It's called capitalism, what you're talking about is the theoretical ideal of communism.


By Furen on 1/11/2007 2:42:42 AM , Rating: 2
The problems with BTX are that it's proprietary, it has pretty stringent layout requirements and it's not backwards-compatible. Making a BTX-compliant AMD motherboard is quite problematic, too, since the DIMMs cannot be placed next to the northbridge.

The benefits of DTX are that it is royalty-free, it allows manufacturers to make their own motherboards however the hell they want to and it allows anyone with any ATX/mini-ATX/DTX case to make a system out of it. Then there's also the fact that these motherboards WILL be significantly cheaper to manufacture.

If a DTX motherboard with something like 4 SATA ports and a couple of USB headers (so 4 USB 2.0 ports) comes out I can just see myself getting rid of my big and noisy computer for DTX, especially if DTX cases are not insanely overpriced.


htpc
By BrassMonkey on 1/10/2007 6:12:52 AM , Rating: 2
I'll have to hold out on putting together an HTPC. I hope someone makes a nice slim plain-jane aluminum DTX case. Another thought, there are no ATSC TV tuners with PCI express, so I hope they go with a PCIEx16 and a regular PCI slot combo; a mobo with intigraded graphics would also be a plus as a gfx-card isn't needed in an HTPC system.




RE: htpc
By Alphafox78 on 1/10/2007 10:52:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
a gfx-card isn't needed in an HTPC system


If you plan on playing HD movies (HD-DVD or Blueray) a gfx card is indeed needed. it offloads decoding from the cpu and makes playback smooth. Then theres games...


Choice of name
By RadonPL on 1/10/2007 9:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
D TX; because A TX was used and M TX was too far way.




RE: Choice of name
By neon on 1/10/2007 10:04:46 AM , Rating: 2
Or else maybe B TX is used by *ntel, and C TX is used by that monitor company.


Hard to get excited...
By masher2 (blog) on 1/10/2007 10:34:25 AM , Rating: 2
So the smallest of these two new formats is still larger than the Mini-ITX available today? And Mini-ITX is itself larger than Nano-ITX. Hard for me to get excited over this....why not just support the Mini-ITX standard directly?




RE: Hard to get excited...
By VooDooAddict on 1/10/2007 11:53:17 AM , Rating: 2
Mini and Nano ITX aren't backward compatible with ATX and MicroATX Cases.

The backward compatibility is what gets me excited. DTX motherboards can start coming out enmass and be supported on all the MicroATX cases.

Then once Case makers see the large market well see some DTX case designs and can slowly get away from the overly large ATX.


Clean layout
By Mudvillager on 1/10/2007 11:12:08 AM , Rating: 2
Wow that PCB layout must be the cleanest one I've ever seen. And is that Digital VRM's?




RE: Clean layout
By SCAxman on 1/11/2007 12:27:53 AM , Rating: 2
I got to handle it in person at CES, it's, you know, a mock-up, the chips and slots are just glued on.


Make mine BTX
By The Boston Dangler on 1/11/2007 12:39:24 AM , Rating: 2
I lament at Intel's neglect for enthusiast BTX. The OEMs have the right idea, and the leverage to make any changes they want. The geeks, the ones who consider their PCs art as much as tool, are shut off from BTX because of chicken-and-egg syndrome in the aftermarket sector.

Technically speaking, BTX is easily still the best form factor, superior in every way. That's why over 50% of new computers sold in 2006 are BTX, and something like 98% in 2007.

FIC offers many BTX boards, in all kinds of chipsets and sockets. LGA775, 939, you name it. They even have a BX chipset BTX board, which to me is "the answer to a question nobody asked."

For the folks complaining about changing cases with form factors: Check the AT forums once in a while. It's full of people building, or buying, entirely new computers. At some point, all custom builders start from scratch, so who cares what form factor the old PC is? This is just like the people that whine about AGP going out of style.




RE: Make mine BTX
By JeffDM on 1/12/2007 12:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
BTX has nice stuff but the point I contend was that they didn't need to make it an incompatible form factor. I would bet it would be universally accepted if it was backward compatible. I happen to have a few commercially made eATX systems (Compaq Evo W8000) that predates BTX but happens to have most of the features that were "new" to the standard size BTX, save for the lame mirror-image bolt pattern that broke compatibility.

I don't know why one would bother mentioning FIC, I don't consider them to be a real option. Let's just say their track record for quality isn't.


hey
By sprockkets on 1/10/2007 11:37:15 AM , Rating: 1
anyone notice how close the pcie port and the next one are? is that just due to how it should be, or is it due to a change in the layout?




RE: hey
By dijuremo on 1/10/2007 2:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
One is PCIe and the other PCI, the spacing between the two looks just right.


By crystal clear on 1/10/2007 4:08:17 AM , Rating: 2
At CES, AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the Better by Design program, a first-of-its kind initiative highlighting outstanding performance and superior technologies in desktop and notebook PCs designed by leading global OEMs

The Better by Design program is intended to provide key benefits directly to AMD’s OEM and system builder customers and commercial and consumer PC users.

When consumers purchase a PC from their preferred PC brand they gain peace of mind knowing they get the performance and superior technologies needed to take advantage of the new features and capabilities of Windows Vista.

Businesses will benefit from the high performance multi-tasking and outstanding business value in AMD64 dual-core processors and leading graphics and wireless networking solutions.

OEM and system builder customers can reap the rewards of AMD’s open platform strategy by choosing from the leading PC technologies in the industry to benefit from the innovation and performance that these solutions enable them to deliver to a competitive market place.

http://technology-news-earnings.blogspot.com/2007/...





486 era
By ATC on 1/10/2007 12:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
This reminds me of the old Slim Line desktops that were semi popular in the 486 days.

This is indeed promising and there will definitely be a market for it. Hopefully it won't follow the BTX foot path.




One size fits all
By Kougar on 1/10/2007 1:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
Just wanted to say ya still left out mini-BTX / MicroBTX form factors... ;) Newegg actually has one...




By SCAxman on 1/11/2007 12:34:35 AM , Rating: 2
Hi, I hope this doesn't come off too shameless, but I'm sort of a new writer and I can afford to lack guile. I put this together about DTX, and I hope it compliments these comments:

http://www.thetechlounge.com/article/365/Editorial...

By the way, glad to have briefly met some of you in person. Thanks again for the great news over the years.




so..
By hans007 on 1/11/2007 12:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
how does this even do anything.

btx at least tried to make airflow improvements etc. this has no real feature.

and its exactly like flex atx. i dont even see what is different between flexatx and dtx




Awesome
By cybertrip on 1/19/2007 10:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
I love small form factors this one looks to be nice and i really like the idea of a standard for the small pc's.


-Matt
http://www.connexions-pw.com - one stop for computer supplies




XPC board?
By Andrevas on 1/10/2007 3:31:23 AM , Rating: 1
it looks just like boards that come now in Shuttle XPC systems except with standard power connectors on it




This could be good or bad
By Beenthere on 1/10/07, Rating: -1
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer











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