AMD Announces Development of DTX Form Factor
Anh Tuan Huynh
January 10, 2007 12:00 AM
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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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This could be good or bad
1/10/2007 9:07:20 AM
Actually the guy in the photo is holding a PCB sheet that is cut into FOUR DTX size mobos. You can see the redundant layout pattern on the sheet.
This DTX design could be a double edge sword depending on mobo manufacturers efforts. From what I've seen in the micro ATX designs, the PCI slots and back plane ports are totally inconsistent. So if you find a mobo you like, you may not be able to use it because the mobo maker decided to cut fifty cents off the production cost by deleting a PCI slot or a back plane port.
We've even seen a great deal of this nonsense with std. ATX mobos with no serial or parallel ports, or only one or two usable PCI slots with proper Video card dual-slot cooling. It's pretty foolish to make a mobo these days without all the basic ports and slots. A company is just limiting their product sales potential by doing so.
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