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/ Forums / Intel's BTX form factor, what to expect

  BTX or ATX? 
 Date Written 
Lincoln Dec 08, 2004, 11:04am EST Report Abuse
it would sound as if this new form faxtors is made so the avrage joe will not be able to go a buy add ons or up-date as easy as they may hope, so when after time they wish to update there unit, the price will be grater then a ATX and not as easy to be justified, as i see it, insted of time to time updates as so much of us do, they will wait untill there unit is of no more use and simply buy a new one, moving a market demand of small local shop venders specialised in updates add-on ect. Making computers more disposeabe and harder to learn, for the home hobbiest.

Richard Whitaker

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Jez Griffiths Dec 08, 2004, 11:43am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
I don't see how BTX makes PCs more disposable, can't agree with that, as Cpu, memory, and Agp, Pci, and Pci-X cards all fit both form factors. Having said that, I'm not sure I agree with the article, about ATX components not fitting well with other ATX components, as I've not found this to be a problem, and I mix all ages of components sometimes. (I have had one case that has an awkward Psu position, doesn't allow for P4 heatsinks, but that's it).

I just don't think BTX was necessary, yet, but Intel probably couldn't have waited much longer to bring out the new form factor, or they'd have possibly missed out, when someone else did it before them. To stay in the lead, they've done this early. It's not really Intels' job though, as they aren't a 'standards organisation'.

Perhaps Intel already know that their next series of cpu are going to also work as room-heaters, so they had to be ready, and get the mobo makers ready. I wonder if high-end BTX systems will feature sticky labels warning 'Caution Hot Surface'.

I won't be buying BTX cases or mobos for a while yet, because all costs incurred have to be passed on, so I always wait until prices fall before getting into anything new, all my clients seem happy with this. I can't see any of my clients specifically asking for BTX systems. Then again, perhaps BTX will be no extra cost on ATX, I haven't even looked into it yet.


Brandon Slycord Dec 08, 2004, 12:39pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
I agree, unless this new btx is good priced compared to the atx standard, i wont be upgrading to it for awhile.

I really like how btx does have some great improvements over atx, such as the cooler airflow and better use of space, the current atx model, with the right case has a LOT of extra room, my thermaltake case nearly has an echo when you yell into it.

I see this as a good thing for the advancement of technology, its been the same standard atx for so long and its great someone is finally addressing the issues with atx.

there are 2 sides of the coin for me though. Being the computer builder and love that i am it would be nice to have one motherboard that i didnt have to have guesswork on what componets fit and all that, i like the standarazation of it. No More guessing parts and trying different things so much, this is good.

On the other side of the coin is i like to experiement and try out new things and using parts that i find "interesting" or unique or are very good, i like a variety...this seems like we wont see as many unique pc cases and systems, atx leaves it up to us, the computer builders to what we think is best etc....

all in all i say bring it on, i like any new technology, and so far btx has sparked my interest...but thats about it.

Tim Magraw Dec 08, 2004, 02:20pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
I'm good with that too, as a system builder BTX has sparked my interest I'd like to see it moving along, that huge fan and heat sink assy looks like it will save me loads of grief in future and MAY enable me to use those small "cube" type cases I have been keeping away from in the past because of lousy airflow characteristics. On the other hand hard drives and video cards will possibly scupper that!

On the point of Intel not being a standards organisation... OOH BOY! could we have a fun argument over that. :o)

Seriously though, Intel have been dictating, or at least influencing the majority of the standards in the industry since 1981, when those crazy people at IBM's open systems division bought nearly all of the parts for the original PC off the shelf from Intel.

A few standards to consider.

Northbridge/Southbridge configuration - Intel ( I think)
x86 Architecture - Intel
ATX - Intel
PCI - Intel
AGP - Intel
PCIe - Intel
RDRAM - Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha - Sort of Intel. Shot themselves in the foot there! - although if you could afford it it was bloomin' wonderful stuff!

Take Care


Lincoln Dec 08, 2004, 04:28pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
what i mean is ATX is prity "set" you know were the CPU is the PCI's are the VGA the RAM but with the BTX you going to see more MOBO were the CPU could be dead center of a MOBO or were the VGA physical size will limt when you want to update cos of physical space? the BTX will be more free to put were the makers wish, maybe i should do this sober, but you know what i mean. odd shapes ect ect, the PSU over the RAM, diffrent PSU fittings,

any one know what i mean? or iam i going mad?


Joseph Perkins Dec 08, 2004, 11:08pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
Only one problem I see with a BTX format mobo, and one I've heard elsewhere, is the lack of PCI slots.

I have, and use, 5 slots for 1.) a hardware mpeg video capture/TV Tuner card (sorry, Intel, using a 3GHz P4 to record video as well as my Hauppauge does is a no starter) 2.) a NIC and 3.) a USB2 card (sure, these two could go away if these are built into the mobo), 4.) an Audigy sound card (no mobo effort I've used so far can match it) and 5.) a dual FireWire card.

2 slots would be the very least I would want if, I repeat *IF*, they buildt a decent NIC, USB2 high speed interface (4 ports minimum), an AGP slot and >4< SATA connectors into it.

Some of us want more than the mythical "average user".. where will we go if they stop making high power mobos ?

Hey, Intel, you stop supporting decent chipsets and processors and people will start buying more AMD chips !

Jez Griffiths Dec 09, 2004, 06:45am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
Yes, you've a good point there, in the lack of Pci slots. I hadn't noticed, coz I didn't get that far into considering it as a purchase, being too new.

There also seems to be something of a lack of choice in boards. I can only find two BTX boards (after half an hour of looking in the usual places), both found at Intel, both 915 chipsets, both having the PCI-E graphics slot, a PCI-E IO slot (anyone know what this can be used for?, it must be the little brown one, that looks just like an AMR/CNR slot?), and two of 'todays' Pci slots. Both feature onboard audio, which no-one with an interest in audio would probably want to have, (but not onboard graphics). See and

I see the picture is a giga-byte board, but couldn't find it at

I only found one BTX PC, and couldn't find it in stock, anyhow, it's a Gateway, and you wouldn't want it. See the comments at, which are mostly slating the graphics card used in the system, and slating Gateway for their poor support.

We've got to expect that Giga-byte, and the other quite-good mobo makers pick up on what folk like us really want, which should really include an absolute minimum of 3 Pci slots, but the BTX factor doesn't appear to be big enough for even this many slots, unless the PCI-E IO slot (which you can't yet buy anything for) was replaced.

Even with Usb2 (and stuff) on the board, I know a few folk who like to use proper soundcards (and some use two), and/ or, a dedicated video-capture card, and we don't yet know what other bits (cards) we're going to want in two years time, so many of us actually still want to see either 4 or 5 Pci slots,
(and/ or, I'd like to see some video-capture cards that work in, and take advantage of, the PCI-E IO slot (or even, a high-end audio card, if that slot can be used for these things).

As mentioned before, I'm not looking to buy BTX until it has some real advantage for my clients, but if anyone sees a BTX board with more than 2 PCI slots, (or finds a PCI-E IO capture card, or anything else for this slot) post it here.


Sean B Dec 15, 2004, 07:07am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
Apparently nobody did their homework.

Just like ATX, the BTX form factor will have at least three sizes.

The standard, fullBTX form factor will support up to 5 PCI or PCIe slots(or whatever other combinations motherboard manufacturers decide to come up with), just like current fullATX motherboards feature.

Lincoln Dec 15, 2004, 11:04am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
what i ment is everyone can see a ATX size, were you would see the CPU place ie under the PSU, the VGA card on top of the PCI slots, every thing in its OWN area,there is as i know no pisical limit to VGA card, but should BTX have free rain of size, you could see diffrant place to put the so you could see the PCU next to the video interface, putting a limit on what you can put in, as in pisical size over and around. this is all before we start on the non constent fact of PSU interface,

Jez Griffiths Dec 15, 2004, 11:09am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
It seems Sean B knows the most.

Any good guides? maybe from manufacturers in their manuals? etc.?

I don't really fancy actually reading the Intel spec., but I suppose of you knew an address for that, I'd at least browse/ download/ read, some of it.

Also, any idea what the Giga-byte board pictured in the article is?


Sean B Dec 15, 2004, 03:09pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?

Joseph Perkins Dec 15, 2004, 07:55pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
Ah, Thanks, Sean. That does clear up the mystery a bit. If there are indeed sizes with 3 and 5 PCI style slots, then I will wait for the larger form factor BTX boards. As far as smaller case goes, where would I put 1T of HDs ? I think I'll stick with a larger case, anyway.. I have no problems configuring airflow and any case modder/overclocker worth his salt will not really care, either <g>

(I have a PC that very strongly resembles this form factor. A unit made by Sony and used by FedEx for a while. The drive sat parallel to the mobo. Cute, but limited.)

Sean B Dec 15, 2004, 08:29pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
The full BTX cases won't be the same format as desktop cases.

They'll be vertical towers arranged the same way as current ATX cases are, except for a few differences.

The BTX form factor will be more wide than it is long, so that addon cards and the I/O ports will still be at the rear of the case, while sticking to the BTX standard of having the processor directly at the front of the case.

If you think about it... this could be done with current ATX setups. Instead of having the addon cards and I/O ports coming out of the back of the case, they'd come out the top. The board itself would be turned clockwise, so that the processor is at the front of the case. Optical drives, hard drives, and the power supply would be annexed and sit below the motherboard in its own cabinet.

t@kis ! Jan 06, 2005, 07:05pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
i like what the BTX form factor will do for thermal control, and im sure there will be plenty of connection options on the mobo (# sata ports, pci drives, etc), as this is chipset driven, not form factor driven (outside of trying to cram it all on!).

heres what i hate: why did they have to reverse the board layout?!?!

look at the pics again (and no, 1 is not backwards, ive read about this)
you will see the BTX factor requires mounting on the opposite panel that ATX requires.

so not only do you need to swap mobos, but a new case is a must!!

2.6 p4 HT; gigabyte 8KNXP; 1GB corsair PC3200;Seagate Barracuda sata 120gb; ATI 9800pro AIW; Audigy 2ex; Antec true blue 350; lots of bling
carl0s ki Jan 11, 2005, 08:36am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?

Steven Stein Jan 11, 2005, 08:54am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?

Spelling is your friend!
Punctuation is your friend!
Grammar is your friend!

As far as your contention that BTX is just being devised to make OUR lives more difficult...that is simply NOT true!

BTX is the next logical step in the evolution of the motherboard standard. It provides several new and important features - much improved - over the 12-yr old (?) ATX formfactor. One of these is greater cooling for the CPU, memory and add-in cards. Just LOOK at how the board is laid out...the RAM modules no longer block airflow to the CPU area, they are arrayed end-on in relation to the CPU socket rather than across it. This means that not only is airflow to the CPU less impeded, but the RAM also gets better airflow across ALL the modules!

There are many other improvements with the BTX factor, as well. Some of these were highlighted in an article in Maximum PC. It is a publication I heartily recommend reading! It is MY PC Bible!


Rude Boy Oct 09, 2005, 06:48am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX? -- Too many restrictions, not enough real world benefit -- can anyone say IA-64?
AMD has already outlined good design considerations and practices that address the same issues that BTX does without throwing out the very flexible and proven ATX standard. INTEL has many lessons to learn from AMD or they won't be around for long. Yes, cheap cases and components are finicky and require more care to build a system with but you still can choose what you want and how much you'll pay too.

Once again, INTEL has developed a standard that is NOT backward compatible with previous standards and only offers a narrow set of benefits. None of these so-called benefits are geared to the consumer or present manufacturers. Companies will have to massively re-develop and re-tool thier products to fit this new standard, making things more expensive. IMHO, BTX was dreamed up for one reason, PRESCOTT. When you have a chip that could fry eggs, suddenly ATX cases, even good ones, aren't enough. Yes, BTX offers airflow directly from the outside to processors and graphics cards and has a few other minor advantages. This isn't any breakthrough when many well designed ATX cases have side panel fans blowing directly down onto the processors, RAM and chipsets without any specially created hardware and it works with any INTEL or AMD system. Plus, because the ATX standard is so open, you can buy products of varying types and prices that still work together in all of the important areas without having rigid constraints that limit consumer choices. Dictating the layout of the mainboard will eliminate any innovations between companies and consumers will really have lttle choice at all.

BTX is like having only SUV's to choose from when all I want is a motorcylce, car or boat. Arguing that BTX avoids incompatibilities and the guessing game of buying ATX hardware is like saying you won't get the wrong tires for your car because all SUV's take a 16" tire. It's weak at best and deliberate mis-information at worst. Just like your tire salesman knows what tires work well with your vehicle, your PC dealer should know what works well together. And, like most people who read this, alot of consumers are more than adequately capable of working with the ATX standard and build a PC for themselves without any trouble at all.

Don't let INTEL dictate the market for the rest of us. Instead, they should work on thier chip designs and make a cooler chip that has less current leakage. BTX sucks and I like ATX and I have yet to see an incompatibility with any ATX based system as far as physical or electrical requirements for components.

ATX won't be around forever but the next standard should be more flexible and dynamic, not more constrained and restrictive to change, especially when the PC market changes so drastically in such a short timespan.

It's all about choice and that's what BTX is trying to change, for the worst. =(


Lincoln Oct 09, 2005, 09:09am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?

yea Rude boy, what i was trying to say, in Dec 04,

its could be so much of a mind field when up dating the computer, people my just say, feck it new computer.

sunday hang over, not drinkin again, EVER, (well till next time)


Shadow_Ops_Airman1 Oct 09, 2005, 09:43am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: BTX or ATX?
you wont need BTX for the next 5 years, Until People start demanding it then AMD wont produce it.

AMD Athlon XP-M 2500+ (133x14= 1867MHz) (209x11= 2299MHz)
DFI LP NF2 Ultra-B (Hellfire 3EG Rev2)
Antec SX800, Neo HE 500, 4 Antec 8CM Fans
Thermalright SI-97 1 Antec Tricool 12CM Fan
CL SB XFi Xtreme Music
2x Barracuda HDs (250/400)
2x Samsung Write



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