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AMD Hardware Technology

AMD Aims At New Standard for Motherboards 156

Posted by Zonk
from the little-quite-different dept.
alexwcovington writes "CBC reports that AMD is launching DTX, a new motherboard layout about the size of micro-ATX. Their goal is to provide a small, energy efficient board that's compatible with as much hardware as possible. In the DTX, they're hoping to produce a new standard for desktops, and somewhat reverse the decline in consumer interest. From the article: 'Most desktops still have motherboards that operate using a standard laid out in 1995 by Intel called ATX, which stands for Advanced Technology Extended. ATX was designed to allow everything from memory cards to mouse ports to have a standardized spot alongside the central processing unit on a typical desktop motherboard. While there have been other standards since, ATX remains the most common standard for desktops, though its design is not suited for smaller, more energy-efficient desktops, AMD said.' Ars Technica has further details on the board."
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AMD Aims At New Standard for Motherboards

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  • Might be just me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:47PM (#17580448)
    But this topic is worthless without pics.
  • hmm BTX style? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by master_kaos (1027308)
    Thing this will follow the form of BTX formfactor? I know in the summary it says to be compatible with as much hardware as it can - so I sure hope that includes the Case. The only way it will catch on is if it will fit in the current cases. With all the overclocking and heating and whatnot, we defiently do want faster and cooler hardware, so hopefully this will catch on.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "...so I sure hope that includes the Case. "

      I have alway hoped that if a supplier could make the mobo in 2 section connected by flexable cable it would (assuming cost a performance are equal) really help create way more interesting cases.
    • It will be compatible with ATX cases, however the main purpose is to provide a standardized form similar to those small Shuttle boxes, or "Book PC" boxes. Neither of those two are standardized, so this should hopefully go a long way to getting more small form factor boxes out there.
    • Re:hmm BTX style? (Score:5, Informative)

      by archen (447353) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:59PM (#17580680)
      Cases are part of the problem. Intel realized this and that's part of what BTX is about, and I have to say the design really makes sense. Move air in a reasonable fashion through the case for more effective cooling. Current CPU cooling is totally asinine in the way you smash air directly against the heatsink to spill the hot air out in random directions throughout the case. It wasn't a problem back in the 486 days when you consider the microscopic fan size, but now it's truly beyond help.

      I'm not sure who this thing is really targeted at. BTX at least was focused on replacing ATX as a better alternative. AMD admits that it wants to drive up desktop sales because laptops are now dominating computer purchasing more. They then cite that desktops are more upgradeable than laptops. Then it says the DTX will have ONE pcie slot. What is DTX trying to accomplish? A platform trying to capture the Mac Mini market I'm guessing (however big that is).
      • Re:hmm BTX style? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:41PM (#17581512) Homepage
        Cases are part of the problem. Intel realized this and that's part of what BTX is about, and I have to say the design really makes sense.

        While the design of BTX did make more sense in particular for cooling, for Intel it wasn't just a "better ATX", it was a way to make the increasing power demands of the Pentium 4 acceptable as it was becoming near impossible to sufficiently cool them. Now that Intel has dropped Netburst, the need for BTX isn't there. Not that there's anything wrong with a better ATX, but the industry doesn't want to switch from something that works.

        Then it says the DTX will have ONE pcie slot. What is DTX trying to accomplish? A platform trying to capture the Mac Mini market I'm guessing (however big that is).

        They're trying to create a larger small form-factor market. Like all those cool Shuttle small form factor cases that cost more than normal sized ones. The idea behind DTX is to provide a standard that can lead to mass-produced, cheap, commodity cases and motherboards just like we enjoy with ATX, and with the minimal amount of retooling of existing manufacturing. There is certainly a demand for smaller, cooler, quieter computers which don't need a lot of expandability (and other than a video card, with networking and sound built in, what do most people need at minimum?), and AMD wants to bring commodity economics into that market (so they can sell more chips to it).

        That's the point. Whether it will work, I don't know. The technical details aren't even out yet I don't think, and it remains to be seen if the industry accepts it.
        • by ErikZ (55491) *
          There is a demand for a smaller motherboard in the market.

          But it looks like the DTX isn't that much smaller than the standard "Micro-ATX" form factor.

          So what's the point?

          Design a standard mini-itx where I can plug in a dual core AMD chip and I'll sit up and take notice.
      • I think this is more of an attempt to get into the Shuttle XPC market than the Mac-Mini market. Or if you prefer, a way to expand the XPC market - thus giving AMD a bigger piece of a bigger pie.

        The poster who pointed out that the "Smashing of air over the processor" not being feasible hit it on the head. The Shuttles (and some other SFF makers) generally try to make a heatsink fan that pushes air out of the case.

        There is an article on this at: http://theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=36833 [theinquirer.net] with a pic of
    • by jonadab (583620)
      > Thing this will follow the form of BTX formfactor?

      Unlikely. If it does, it's doomed.

      > I know in the summary it says to be compatible with as much hardware as it can -
      > so I sure hope that includes the Case.

      To be compatible with as much hardware as possible, it would shoot for maximum ATX (or MicroATX) compatibility, not BTX. I know Intel wanted BTX to be the new standard, but the rest of the industry has pretty well ignored it to death and thereby consigned it to footnote status in the history
  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:49PM (#17580490) Journal
    I couldn't find any of these... But I could be missing something

    (1) Does it provide something that is not encompassed by one of MicroATX, MiniITX or ATX
    (2) Does combine advantages of any of the above listed form factors?
    • by rm999 (775449) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:53PM (#17580562)
      I may be mistaken, but I don't think any of the current ATX implementations have this specific goal:
      "The DTX standard will be designed to embrace energy-efficient processors from AMD or other hardware vendors, and allow an optimally designed small form factor system to consume less power and generate less noise," the company said in a release Thursday."

      How AMD intends to implement this is beyond me. It seems that is more of a case layout and CPU issue than motherboard
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Spazntwich (208070)
        ATX might not, but mini [wikipedia.org] and nano [wikipedia.org] ITX standards have been out for a long time, and seem to do exactly what AMD states as a goal.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rm999 (775449)
          Neither is targeted towards the consumer PC market. This is an important distinction.

          I have found that one of the big cons of desktops is noise and heat. My laptop can do 99% of what my desktop can do, but somehow does it using a lot less power (and I consider myself a gamer, plus I use Matlab quite a bit for CPU and memory intensive applications). I support AMD in what they are doing, even though I think it is mostly a strategic move.
          • In what sense is mini-ATX not targeted at the consumer PC market? Are you smoking real mellow crack over there? Do you think that media centers are aimed at the business market...
          • by bagofbeans (567926) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:18PM (#17585176)
            See the $120 (1 off) tiny PC at http://www.norhtec.com/products/mcjr/index.html [norhtec.com] and make the CPU a VIA Eden 1.2GHz, the GPU/subsystem a VIA CX700M with MPEG2/4 hardware decode, USB2... and you have a desktop replacement that is fanless because it draws under 20W total with HDD.

            It's called Microclient Sr., and announced at CES this week.

            If you want onboard DVD/CD player/burner, there are other versions that are bigger to accommodate a slimline DVD.

            I have a Microclient Jr., and it is acceptable with XP and zippy with Win98 - not bad for 200MHz and 8W!

            Give it a couple of years, and desktop cases will be just for the gamers and people needing a lot of cards of storage.
            • by ibbey (27873)
              Thanks for that link. It would be an excellent platform for a car mp3 player, which has been on my project list for quite some time now.
            • by vtcodger (957785)
              The Via CPU based boards and computers look really neat, but there seem to (have been? be?) some issues with Linux on those CPUs. See http://www.mini-itx.com/faq.asp [mini-itx.com] for example. I don't think that link is a definitive discussion, It's just the first rational link I got with a Google search. I have read similar things elsewhere.

              Anyway, unless I was sure that I only wanted to use Windows (or some other OS that is known to work), I'd do some research before buying these boards -- no matter that they lo

              • The Microclient Jr. is advertised specifically as running with complete driver support on Puppy Linux, and does so directly from a 128Mbyte CF card plugging into the computer's built in CF socket.

                That fact was the decider when I bought one... though from experimentation it looks like Win98 is faster. The Puppy works directly without messing about at all though.
      • by arivanov (12034) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:45PM (#17581574) Homepage
        Intel's BTX has the same goal (besides a few others) but for Intel. Airflow and component positioning with respect to airflow is part of the spec. IIRC it does not account for having industrial heaters (AKA modern videocards) in the case, but this can be taken care of by amending the spec. It is clearly a good hardware spec and it fixes most ATX problems.

        miniITX has a similar goal in theory and it has the advantage of being nearly 100% backward compatible with ATX, but fails at making a good small factor PC as it does not specify an airflow across the MB. It is also severely limited in its expansion capabilities as it supports only 32bit PCI. Every single ITX MB out there has slightly different positioning of thermally active components and different airflow requirements. Why Via did not make the airflow and the thermals a part of the standard is beyond me as it often defeats all the advantages of having a quiet motherboard and multiple bad case designs give Via's otherwise excellent Eden based MBs an undeserved bad name. Classic example are older Cubid cases where the CPU and the disk overheat while the case emits hovercraft like noise because it has 3 fans to blow air from nowhere to nowhere. There was an even more horrible one which used a 1U rackmount PS with 40+db noise (forgot the manufacturer). And all this to power a 7W fanless CPU system...

        So now AMD has joined the fray. By the way, it is still mostly vapourware as there is nothing on their website. Personally, I would like to see a spec, especially the thermal,ps,expansion and airflow part of it. Without this it is not possible to compare it to the existing competition. AMD has plenty of experience aquired via Geode as well as a clear picture of the failures in the miniITX, nanoITX and BTX specs so it should be able to make a better one if it wants to. I somehow doubt it. It is more likely going to end up as another marketing initiative like Live!
      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        How AMD intends to implement this is beyond me. It seems that is more of a case layout and CPU issue than motherboard

        Your case is designed the way it is largely because of the motheboard spec. They all tie together. More importantly, without an appropriate motherboard standard you can't build a case with optimal layout and put anything but a custom-designed mobo inside.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        It seems that is more of a case layout and CPU issue than motherboard

        No, cooling is decidely more a motherboard layout issue.

        Ducting is much more effecient than the current system of numerous, unnecessarily power fans, half-fighting each other for airflow. DEC and HP workstations demonstrated this quite well over a decade ago. They were able to do this, because they didn't bother with ATX...

        With ATX, the components on the motherboard can move anywhere. You have no way of knowing where anything is going t

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Spazntwich (208070)
      It's new and it's not made by Intel! What's not to love?

      Maybe AMD should take a lesson from Kerry's failed presidential campaign.
    • by jonnythan (79727)
      2 expansion slots, one of which is PCI-E, and an XpressCard slot for Bluetooth and 802.11whatever. Designed for lower power apps.

      Sounds like a scaled down version of mATX. mATX boards are big enough for 4+ expansion slots.. this makes it a bit smaller by getting rid of some traditional slots and adding an XpressCard slot.
      • by MoxFulder (159829)

        2 expansion slots, one of which is PCI-E, and an XpressCard slot for Bluetooth and 802.11whatever. Designed for lower power apps.

        I was really surprised to read this, actually! There will not be even *one* standard PCI card slot in this thing??? There are so many interesting boards that come in PCI only. Let's say I want to build a very compact data acquisition computer for my lab, to reduce the clutter. Well I'll need a PCI GPIB card to connect to instruments. Or if I want to put this in a recording st

        • by ibbey (27873)
          There are USB data acquisition options available, and if you're creative, they are can even be a lot cheaper than the PCI versions. Check out the Wiring I/O Board [maximumrobotics.com] which gives you 43 digital and 8 analog inputs for $70. Probably not as robust or fast as a National Instruments board, but a whole lot cheaper.

          Professional Audio is also readily available via USB. Musicians almost definition travel, so many people have portable recording studios that basically consist of a laptop, a USB interface, Pro Tools and t
          • by MoxFulder (159829)
            Well, having to use a bunch of external USB devices sorta defeats the purpose of getting a small computer to avoid clutter... I'd rather not have to use a USB wireless device on a desktop computer, for example. It's just a pain. And more expensive than an internal one. And performance is not as good.

            I hope they *do* keep at least one PCI slot. And even if they make the unwise choice to get rid of them, the PCI *bus* won't be going away any time soon: the integrated video, USB host, audio, and ethernet d
            • by ibbey (27873)
              Yes and no to the clutter issue. USB is hot swappable, so if you're not using a device, you can simply unplug it & put it in a drawer. For those things that must remain plugged in, you can always put them under your desk, on a shelf, etc. Personally, I'd happily trade a few extra external components to get rid of the giant, noisy box on my floor.

              I can see no reason that a USB wireless connector is inherently more of a pain then any other sort. Cost is based on supply and demand, so as the demand goes up
    • by chiefer (1050460)
      As technology progresses, we see smaller and more powerful processors and circuits. We can only embrace the changes which will lead to more efficient and smaller forms (DTX, MicroATX). Smaller boxes will lead to more responsible disposal of these inevitably outdated (as time progresses) machines. By having smaller boxes and smaller components will lead to smaller waste when these boxes become extinct. I also don't see how the form factor will have any effect on the dB noise level of boxes. Noise is typ
    • Hopefully it will combine the convenient small size of MiniITX with the power of normal ATX processors. Some time ago I was interested in using something along the lines of a MiniITX board to build my own in-car computer, but the performance of the processors was decidedly anemic. Apparently the clock speeds have improved somewhat since then, but are still nowhere close to the speeds available on a full-sized desktop.

      I know there are tradeoffs when shrinking the size of systems down, but it would be reall
  • well then (Score:2, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564)
    Their goal is to provide a small, energy efficient board that's compatible with as much hardware as possible.

    If that's the goal, then with ISA, PCI, AGP, PCI-X, IDE33/66/100/133/SATA and a few hundred flavors of SIMMS and DIMMS, I can see this becoming a very large board indeed.
    • If that's the goal, then with ISA, PCI, AGP, PCI-X, IDE33/66/100/133/SATA and a few hundred flavors of SIMMS and DIMMS, I can see this becoming a very large board indeed.
      Their goal is to provide a small, energy efficient board that's compatible with as much hardware as possible.

      That does not mean everything under the sun. That means as possible.
      Is english your first language? Not mine.
  • BTX, introduced a couple of years ago, has not caught on very widely, and Intel decided to shelve future development late last year. Part of the reason for that may be the fact that BTX has limited compatibility with products designed for the dominant ATX form factor.

    I actually liked the BTX format, what with the better airflow over the GPU, CPU, and Hard Drives because they were all streamlined. I would have bought a BTX motherboard for my next box, but I guess Dell and friends weren't as committed to it

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:52PM (#17580542) Journal
    Am very disappointed. There is no "in soviet russia the motherboard .... you" post.
  • Reversals (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:54PM (#17580576) Homepage Journal
    "and somewhat reverse the decline in consumer interest"

    Let's hope for the sake of AMD, their level of excitement is greater than the submitter's. The new boards will have to deliver something effective if they are going to be of any use. Scale down component infrastructure, increase speed and decrease power requirements. Intel could stand to do the same, but still...

    HP launched small form factor PCs called Slimlines, and I had a few customers buy them from me -- so far no complaints, but it will be nice to see these models reduced further and then pushed for speed as well, in the future.

    AMD seem to really have their eye on the ball, IMHO.
    • by byteframe (924916)
      Low voltage, low power, low noise, and low heat really seem to be catching on. Even on the high end, where its still proportional, IF a motherboard design that is interopable with existing standards can be pulled off and show even more gains, I'd very much wager it'll do better than BTX. If it also has designed for the high end market (dual cpus, and gpus) I think people will take to it. Plus, while I am an AMD fanboy (or at least until I can make my next purchase and reevaluate), I very much trust AMD, and
    • DTX looks promising for the budget PC or HTPC market. See pics, http://dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5648 [dailytech.com]. I actually like the look of the case, would look nice next to my tv.

      I wonder if AMD plans on entering the HTPC market anytime soon.. Now that AMD owns ATI, they can utilize ATI All-In-Wonder cards to build a complete PVR or HTPC setup. Imagine a low cost machine that comes with something like MythTV preloaded. *Drool*
  • Bleh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ceeam (39911)
    Why they even bother? Notebooks and rack servers have won. Not quite yet maybe but I don't know everyone who's gonna buy a new "big" desktop PC anymore. The death of CRT (totally happened already, right?) is just one step away from death of your typical desktop block.

    Now - if they would come up with modular notebook design, mmmm.... Standardize on some internal configs (12", 15", 17") and sell cases with different design that I would be able to stuff with motheboard, RAM, HDD, optical drive, etc. Like curre
    • Absolutely not. Although you may be mostly correct in the consumer market, this is not the truth at all. I don't see the gamer market completely moving to notebooks at all. They need modularity that notebooks do not provide. Same with heat dissipation. What about the HTPC market? Did you think about the development market? Workstations for corporations? I don't see everyone switching to notebooks anytime soon. Just my 2 cents.
    • by bigeeTea (1050470)
      Not every company can afford to provide every employee with a laptop and port replicator. The market for cheap, small form-factor desktops is still alive.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In the consumer market your statement is questionable - plenty of people want a PC at a desk. Pound for pound a desktop is better value for money - and the fact that the big manufacturers still pump out many many more desktops than laptops vindicates this.

      In the business world you are completely wrong. Expensive, easily breakable (spill coffee over keyboard - oh fuck - that's $1000 wasted - spill coffee over desktop keyboard - oh dear, that $10 wasted), not value for money, poor screen size, easily steala
    • Re:Bleh (Score:4, Informative)

      by Wdomburg (141264) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:02PM (#17581838)
      Two words - corporate sales. The market is a lot larger than retail and the preference is still for desktop machines (lower cost, lower theft). There is certainly demand for a lower cost alternative to current systems though. Expect the market to shift to SFF machines running "notebook" drives.

      Even within the confines retail market, unit sales still favour desktop systems; notebooks have only outstripped desktops in terms of dollars spend due to the unit price being approximately $400 higher.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Not quite yet maybe but I don't know everyone who's gonna buy a new "big" desktop PC anymore.

      The same people who have always bought desktops... Gamers, technophiles, and enthusiasts.

      Sure you could always by a PS3 or Xbox, but there are many games (mostly small shops and modders) that you won't see on a console anytime soon.
    • by Znork (31774)
      "Notebooks and rack servers have won."

      Doubtful. The current comparative increase in notebook sales is something I'd put up to the price, at last, falling into an acceptable range, which means a lot of the money reserved for computer purchasing in the end-user channels will be going towards filling this previously unfilled need.

      However, the useability areas of notebooks dont quite overlap the desktop; performance and component flexibility will remain behind.

      Most people I know get one notebook, then have enou
    • Why they even bother? Notebooks and rack servers have won.

      So you're suggesting that I use a notebook or a server rack as a Home Theatre PC (HTPC). I'm sure a notebook would look great sitting on the floor next to my TV...

      Seriously though, this would make an awesome HTPC. Like I pointed out in a previous post [slashdot.org], AMD can use ATI All-In-Wonder cards to build a sweet HTPC/PVR setup. AMD made the right decision here, they are entering a "new" market which Intel doesn't control. Intel might be winning right now in

    • There are a number of problems with laptops in enterprise situations.
      • Repair is next to impossible. So, if the screen acts up, the whole PC is scrapped. That's not great since there never seems to be enough budget for all the things IT wants to do. About the only things you can economically repair in a typical laptop are the hard drive and the battery ... And the battery is just an aggravating, unecessary component if the laptop is used in place of a desktop.
      • Laptops are kind of fragile.
      • Laptops
  • Speaking of standardized spots for peripherals, is it just me, or when ATX forced everybody to switch to PS2 mice and a different IRQ, did they just not work as well?
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The PS2 mouse and keyboard ports were a boondoggle for sure. Who came up with the idea of making a connector appear round, if it can only be put in one way? I've seen too many systems destroyed by shorted mouse pins. At least the AT keyboard connector had big, sturdy pins.

      At least USB eventually came around and saved us all from PS2.
      • by wik (10258)
        The PS/2 also had electrical problems with hotplug. [burtonsys.com]

        You still can't tell which way is up with USB. Half the time, I end up trying to jam USB plugs in the wrong way. At least the sockets appear to be mechanically robust.
      • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:41PM (#17581514) Homepage Journal
        Who came up with the idea of making a connector appear round, if it can only be put in one way?

        DIN Connectors [wikipedia.org] go back decades as a standard connector for audio equipment. This standard connector style showed up in the early computer world in the form of serial interfaces known as "SIO ports". For some reason (probably the wide availability of parts), IBM decided to use the DIN connector for their detachable keyboards.

        When IBM redesigned the computer as the PS/2, they moved to the smaller DIN standard known as "mini-DIN" rather than devising a new connector. In addition, they added a dedicated mouse port to the PC, which helped solidify the mouse as a standard PC interface. Since the keyboard and mouse were both input devices, IBM felt it made sense to unify them into a single connector. Thus the keyboard connector was transferred to the mouse.

        This is how we got the PS/2 mouse and keyboard interface we all know today. Unfortuantely, IBM hadn't considered that anyone would want to hotplug their mouse or keyboard like they had been doing with serial cables. As a result, the PS/2 standard was woefully inappropriate for the original task. Thus the USB standard was developed to provide a single, unified, hot-pluggable connector for all manner of serial device. (Including mice and keyboards.) The result is actually quite good, even though USB is a pain for hardware designers to implement.
        • by unitron (5733)
          The PS2 keyboard port was the same old keyboard port with a smaller jack/plug, and was therefore just as hot-swappable as the original, but the PS2 mouse port wasn't just a dedicated serial port with a different plug/jack from the old 9 (or 25) pin serial port where only 4 or 5 pins had been used anyway, they came up with a whole new protocol, different from the keyboard protocol and different from the old serial port mouse protocol and, as far as I can tell, deliberately designed to annoy and inconvenience
    • by zakezuke (229119)
      Speaking of standardized spots for peripherals, is it just me, or when ATX forced everybody to switch to PS2 mice and a different IRQ, did they just not work as well?

      The move to a different IRQ was a very good idea. Many people were annoyed with the fact under dos and windows 3.1 one could not nessicarly use the mouse and the internal modem at the same time. This could be resolved by setting your com3/com4 modem to a non-standard IRQ, or swapping the serial mouse port, but we are talking averge joe user.
      • by unitron (5733)
        I always put the mouse on COM2/IRQ3 and the internal modem on COM3/IRQ4 (after setting it for that with jumpers in the good old pre-PCI, pre-Plug-n-pray days) and never had a problem. In the rare event that I was using the other serial port (COM1/IRQ4) it was probably for hideously slow file transfer and the modem wasn't in use anyway.

        With the advent of PCI and PnP and winmodems, I sometimes wound up having to "install" COM5 to keep the modem from trying to steal one of the higher IRQs that I wanted for th

  • I can't find a board anymore that doesn't have PATA connectors sticking out the side of the motherboard because there's no room left (but I suppose this grandfather technology will soon be cast with my 5 1/4 floppies and Zip drives).

    But if a better solution is on the horizon, I embrace the foresight of smaller and better. Heck if we can put 2 processors on a chip half the size the standard was 5 years ago, why not embrace smaller motherboard technology.

    ./self> Now where's that JP1 jumper pin....?
    • I want to build a new desktop, but I've been looking for something devoid of most/all legacy connections first. If I could find a motherboard with only SATA, PCI-e, USB and Firewire, that would rock. (Yes smart asses, I know I need a CPU socket and RAM slots among other things.) You'd think at least one manufacturer, particularly one that caters to gamers and tweakers, would release such a board. Abit comes close but it's not enough just to ditch serial and parallel ports. I want to see ATA gone. (It'd also
  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:08PM (#17580888)
    With AMD now announcing this new form factor. They can take a look at what made the BTX standard fail. I just hope AMD doesn't do what Intel did that limited the BTX standard and that is to not shut out Intel from the DTX standard. The BTX was strictly for Intel CPUs since the 775 socket. The BTX was lay out was to simply have the CPU near the front of the desktop where the cool air enters the computer. THis was possible since the 775 CPUs still utilizes a northbridge to communicate with the memory. AMD couldn't apply itself to the BTX since its memory controller is on the CPU. DTX should allow Intel to be able to apply itself towards the standard if they want to see third party board makers and chipset makers create products for the DTX. If AMD achieves that, then the DTX has a chance taking over ATX.

    The ATX is just way out of date but soo common and cheap that manufacturers continue to utilize it.

    It is about time a big company like AMD, and soon Intel (they haven't officially announced any plans to start focusing on more efficient products), start focusing more on energy efficiency right next to better processing power.
    • Really, do you wish to explain the existance of the Dell Optiplex 740 then? Shares the same BTX chassis options as the 745 which is the Core2 Duo option as well as the rest of the Optiplex lineup. Thing is the 740 is Dell's AMD offering for businesses.
      • Really, do you wish to explain the existance of the Dell Optiplex 740 then? Shares the same BTX chassis options as the 745 which is the Core2 Duo option as well as the rest of the Optiplex lineup. Thing is the 740 is Dell's AMD offering for businesses.

        My bad. I completely left that system out as well as some other BTX form factor boards but did those boards really sell? I know the 740 is selling since Dell is pushing the BTX form factor towards business clientel. Manufacturers, in the past few months have been dropping that standard since it hasn't been selling well.

  • by Xenolith (538304) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:13PM (#17580998) Homepage
    I see how this layout is smaller in the X and Y direction. Micro-ATX and mini-ITX have already conquered that, however. We need to get rid of the add-on cards, so it is smaller in the vertical. Expansion sockets, not slots, would seem to be the answer.
    • So what you're asking for is a board that has pcmcia / pc card / expresscard slots, instead of the standard ones? According to the article, the dtx standard specifies an expresscard slot, but it would be nice if multiple ones were spec'd (along with pc card).

      What would be even nicer, though, is an open laptop specification. I want to be able to get a laptop shell and fill it with off-the-shelf components, or put a laptop motherboard / power supply in a micro-sized desktop case.
    • Low profile cards do exist, they are a little harder to find. They seem to be pretty common for server cards. I used to have slim computer that accepted PCMCIA cards. I never used those slots though.
  • ... one of the main reasons that BTX went down the tubes is because manufacturers had to pay royalties to Intel. That is not the case with the new DTX.

        Personally, I would rather have seen something more substantially different from MicroATX, but I still think that there is a good chance of this catching on.
  • by miffo.swe (547642) <`daniel.hedblom' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:22PM (#17581148) Homepage Journal
    I cant for my life understand why all the computer manufacturers insist on having the CPU inside the box. Its the worst possible place to cool it. Not only is it hot in the box, its also very hard to get a good airflow going. By placing the CPU on the backside of the motherboard and let it protrude out from the case it would be very feasable to use passive cooling. One 10x20 cm cooling plate with fins is more than enough to cool away 120w if there is a free flow of air.
    • What an idea! I've seen this on stereo receivers from the 70's and 80's (maybe still...don't know). The big power transistors are set into heat sinks located on the left and right OUT-sides of the case. The heat sink could be designed to provide physical protection for the CPU.
    • I always wondered why one couldn't run heat pipes to the chassis, and use that as a heat sink? The heat sink then has a minimum surface area of and unobstructed PC, (don't perch the monitor on top of it, or pizza boxes, etc.) and higher end cases could incorporate fins to increase the area even more. If one is really hardcore, one might put a waterbock on the heat sources and pump some fluid (mineral oil, to minimize leak damage and corrosion of the cooling system?) through channels in the case/heatsink.

      S
    • by Moofie (22272)
      "if there is a free flow of air."

      That's a big freakin' "if". It's a much better idea to locate the CPU inside the case where you can control the airflow, rather than outside the case where people will jam it into a too-small cabinet and wonder why it keeps crashing.
    • by wikinerd (809585) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:09PM (#17581956) Journal
      A very creative idea. But it isn't correct, I argue: We put the CPU inside the box because the box is a controlled environment. Many times I run computers with their boxes open, but only when I know that the external airflow is more than the internal airflow. However, having an industry standard with the CPU dependent on external airflow is not correct because people won't know how to properly place their computer, and thus this is a recipe for tech-ignorant people to burn their CPU. If you know what you are doing, then it is really better to have the CPU outside the box, but only if you are smart enough to set up your space in such a way where the CPU will receive more airflow externally (some people use a big room airfan or an aircondition blowing cool air directly against an open box).
      • by ppanon (16583)
        Hmm. That sounds like a really good idea. Have your fragile and electrostatically-sensitive CPU outside your box where it can be batted at by rodents/cats/dogs/small children. Way to think outside the box!
    • By placing the CPU on the backside of the motherboard and let it protrude out from the case it would be very feasable to use passive cooling.

      This is true, but mounting the CPU outside of the case has downsides as well. The computer takes up more space and delicate parts are not protected against bumps, jolts, and other accidents (the infamous juice or beer spill) that tend to happen in the consumer environment. It would only take one errant toddler to bump into the exposed heat sink, which would then ac
    • by KillerBob (217953)

      I cant for my life understand why all the computer manufacturers insist on having the CPU inside the box. Its the worst possible place to cool it. Not only is it hot in the box, its also very hard to get a good airflow going. By placing the CPU on the backside of the motherboard and let it protrude out from the case it would be very feasable to use passive cooling. One 10x20 cm cooling plate with fins is more than enough to cool away 120w if there is a free flow of air.

      You've never owned a desktop form-fact

    • by jhfry (829244)
      I'll take this two steps further.

      1. Place the CPU on the opposite side of the MOBO, with a little thermal paste and a couple of precision standoffs you could effectively couple it thermally with the MOBO backplane... which would of course be one big heatsink cooled by a blower forcing air behind the motherboard, between the backplane and the side of the case.

      2. make most of the upgrades externally accessible. This is a bit more of a total redesign, but seriously, who really needs room for full length cards
  • by amigabill (146897) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:29PM (#17581284)
    I don't see much point in yet another desktop standard. We've laready got a number of good standards there. ATX, MicroATX, BTX, Mini-ITX, Nano-ITX, etc...

    What I'd really love to see is a motherboard standard for the laptop. Let me choose the motherboard, the CPU, and other features on it, and let me choose the shell, and let me choose the screen to put into the shell with this chosen motherboard. Why is thre no LTX?

    That'd be wicked cool.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      I'm not convinced that there can be a standardized notebook form factor and still have a desirable computer, I think it might hurt innovation because it looks like the size of notebooks have been steadily shrinking, a form factor with all standardized parts would only allow you one size machine and be a fixed thickness.

      Battery types change, CPUs change, graphics change, add-in cards change and so on. There are differing ranges of CPUs, some consume 5 watts and others take 30 watts, the cooling system needs
  • A guess: Ati? (Score:4, Informative)

    by QueePWNzor (1044224) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:35PM (#17581404) Journal
    AMD and ATI merged recently. ATI is pushing CrossFire, two cards together. Most non-full-ATX boards can handle this. Will the DTX? They want to share technology, and this would be the perfect (though risky) opportunity. Though, of course, it would not be exclusive. I have heard some crazy stories of how to cool down dual-ATI uber-cards, so maybe the "low power" aspect can help this, too. Just speculation, though.
  • gone completely BTX, so I don't see this happening. BTX is great, provides much better air flow than ATX and meets most of the same goals AMD is after here. I know Gateway and Dell are shipping AMD based boxes in BTX chasis on BTX motherboards, so I just don't see this happening.
  • VGA? Not dual DVI (Score:3, Informative)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:30PM (#17582316)
    It looks like they accept 1 DVI and one VGA connector. It doesn't look like it will fit 2 DVI connectors. IMHO it should have been made to accomodate 2 DVI or one of each, but there doesn't appear to be room. I for one and finnished with VGA and will only use DVI-D in the future.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:25PM (#17583260) Homepage

    How about including in this design the single voltage [google.com] power supply design that Google wants? You can read the original Slashdot discussion here [slashdot.org].

  • by ozbird (127571) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:15PM (#17584486)
    When you read a press release talking about a new, smaller form factor, you don't expect to see a photo like this [dailytech.com].

    While those in the know realise that this is just demonstrating that you can make four motherboards from one standard circuit board panel, your average guy is going to say "holy crap, that's HUGE!".

    That said, you can have a bit of caption fun with it, e.g.: "AMD announces eight-core DTX motherboard."
  • DTX offers so little difference over mATX or mITX its just silly. Its just yet another size, nothing else being offered. BTX (and mBTX, picoBTX) offers a lot more, most importantly thermals, only requiring a change of CPU heatsink/fan and the case. It allows a single fan to provide non-circulated airflow for the CPU, northbridge, PCI-E video card, and hard drive. The only reason AMD didn't adopt it is because Intel developed it (and that would make them seem weak?). FYI, BTX is used in a lot of Dells,

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