BTX: Some Advice

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Intel wants the world to go from ATX to BTX fairly shortly, but it doesn’t look like they can convince a small but rather important country of this: Taiwan. More specifically, the Taiwanese board manufacturers. Plenty of them are apparently whining for all its worth to any press who’ll listen to them at Computex. More importantly, many show advanced symptoms of dragging feet.

This is quite understandable. As we pointed out a few months ago, BTX looks suspiciously like an attempt by Intel to literally pass the buck on the increased costs of cooling PressHot.

One could say not too unfairly that BTX boils down to a wINdTunnEL.

What hasn’t been said but must surely be on the minds of buck-passed Taiwanese is Intel’s 180-degree turn on the CPU front.

If the future of computing is multiple cool cores, what do you need BTX for?

Even if the first dual-core son-of Dothans chew double the power current single Dothans swallow, that’s still quite handleable under the ATX standard, and there will be plenty of people who’ll be more than happy leaving things the way they are.

In the long run, BTX is a good idea, simply because it’s a more logical way to cool what needs to be cooled, but then, I’m not shelling out big bucks trying to implement what may be a one-shot wonder.

Not Until You Have To

There are some problems that go away if you ignore them long enough. BTX could end up being one of those.

When push comes to shove, Intel can ram this down the mobo makers and OEMs throats, but it’s at least questionable whether they’ll end up doing so.

The real test will come when the first Intel dual-cores come out. Will everyone get in line, or will there be ATX dual-cores?

Certainly AMD’s current lack of desire to adapt BTX will assist any rebels out there. As this points out, BTX presents challenges to Hammer mobo design.

There are certain items that people are highly reluctant to change as part of an upgrade if they can avoid it. Cases and power supplies seem to fall into that category. Yes, people will buy a cooler looking case or a heftier power supply, but that’s because they want or need such things. Tell people that they have to replace such things and spend a couple hundred extra dollars simply because “Intel says,” and that’s a different story. Different enough to make more people look towards Green.

Ironically, by this time next year, AMD’s biggest advantage may not be performance or x86-64 or geeky things like that. The biggest positive factor swaying people (even, to a lesser degree in the OEM market) could well be “if I buy AMD, I don’t have to pay extra for BTX.” In the OEM market, plenty of people will say that without even knowing they are; they’ll just know the Intel system costs a little too much for them.

This is why BTX is on shaky ground. Maybe it will win out. Maybe it won’t. So don’t buy into it unless you have to, and may not even then.

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