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Intel's new baby - Balance Technology Extended (BTX) - When Can I go BTX? and Conclusion

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

When Can I go BTX? How long will it take to become the Standard?


With BTX you need to consider what your needs are in upgrading your system. If you are looking to take advantage of both PCI Express and Serial ATA while losing legacy support, you will probably be one of the first to switch to a BTX motherboard. BTX motherboards like that will most likely come to market in the latter half of the second quarter of 2004. However, if motherboard manufacturers other than Intel produce BTX motherboards, there will be a possibility that legacy components will be contained on the motherboard and you could be able to switch even earlier than buyers looking to rid themselves of legacy I/O if other manufacturers, besides Intel, come to market with BTX products first.


The question of BTX adoption as a dominant standard form factor is one that cannot be answered specifically. A general time frame of three years can be expected by considering the adoption of ATX as the defacto motherboard standard. Three years is a lengthy timeframe but a possible one if rapid buying of the first BTX motherboards, strong acceptance by OEM manufacturers, and Small Form Factor builders all occur early on in the introduction of BTX.


It is a definitely a long shot to see a massive progression to BTX without relative performance of the thermal module's cooling and noise reduction level displaying it's supposed superiority. Hopefully Intel will allow us to bring you performance numbers in the near future to help those of you interested in switching to BTX whenever it comes to market.




Is the end user ready to switch to BTX? Probably not, but that's only due to the somewhat adequate cooling of today's systems. However, with each new Intel [and AMD or whoever else] processor requiring a hefty increase in cooling requirements and no sign of slowing down without slowing the increase in processor performance, there are the telltale signs of the need for changes to improve system cooling and reducing noise levels.


BTX will be able to address these concerns without hesitation and offer system builders the opportunity to have higher performance and even smaller systems available to the consumer market.


Finally, I want to give a big thanks to John Saito and George Alfs at Intel. George is my only contact with Intel and through him I was able to get answers to my numerous questions about BTX. The man who answered these questions was John Saito, who I believe is involved with BTX development. Without his answers, this article wouldn't have been possible, or, at least, it would have simply been a regurgitation of information that has been floating around for months.


Stay tuned in the coming months for more coverage of BTX!




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