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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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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.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs











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