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Intel's new baby - Balance Technology Extended (BTX) - BTX Power Supplies, etc

We've been working with Intel over the past month to give you all the latest on their new baby - Balance Technology Extended, or BTX for short. It's what Intel are calling their latest form factor specification which promises to offer better cooling and quieter operation for high performance computing. Read on and learn what the future has to offer for the PC!

By: | Editorials in Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Feb 2, 2004 5:00 am

BTX Power Supplies


When it comes to power supplies, the BTX form factor does not stray from ATX power supplies. In fact, they use the same connection on reference motherboards to show that the power supplies in BTX systems will, mostly, not change in a radical form like many may have believed. The BTX standard supports ATX12V, SFX12V, CFX12V, and LFX12V:


ATX12V is the power supply standard that is designed for large "Full Tower" systems. Since BTX uses the same form of connection as ATX motherboards do the power supply, users will be able to continue using their current ATX power supplies, allowing the end user to minimize upgrade costs.


SFX12V is the traditional power supply found in most mid-towers and desktops. As with ATX12V power supply owners, users of SFX12V power supplies will be able to continue to use their current power supplies with their new BTX motherboards and help reduce the transition costs one would incur with upgrading to a BTX system.


CFX12V is the power supply that one can see in the current BTX reference system designs. It is odd-shaped, being elongated to the width of an optical media drive in the upper portion and the width of a hard drive disk in lower portion. This odd shape allows for Intel to maximize the compactness of desktop and mid-tower reference designs and prove that BTX will shrink the already tiny small form factor PCs on the market. It was announced in July of 2003 and there are a very limited number of manufacturers of these power supplies, if any.


LFX12V is the smallest and most extreme power supply that BTX will support. It will be utilized in ultra-compact systems like Small Form Factor PCs and the upcoming reference system that is a tiny 6.9 Liters. It is also the only power supply that the specifications that can't be found, readily, on the Internet. I know very little about this form factor except that it is designed for systems that are looking to push the limits of "compactability" to the extreme.


BTX Server/Workstation Market


BTX, while being an overall improvement in motherboard form factors, could be severely limited in adoption in the Server and Workstation markets. Intel did not have any focus on the possibility of BTX being utilized for multiple processors or the server market. They do say, however, that, like microATX, BTX could be adapted by players in the server market who have products designed for BTX systems or their partners who have a large financial investment in them.


BTX could face some serious problems in being adapted for the server market even if a company wanted to utilize this "advanced" form factor. Since the processor is located close to the front of the motherboard and the Thermal Module, being located over it and extending to the front of the case for induction, it could create a limitation for utilizing hot-swappable drives that need to be easily removable from the front of the server case.




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