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  1. #1
    Member misternumberone's Avatar
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    Cool Most powerful BTX form factor PC

    WARNING: IF YOU ARE JUST HERE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY HARDWARE BEING OLD OR TO BE A MORON IN SOME SIMILAR FASHION, LEAVE NOW PLEASE.

    I really like the BTX form factor, but it's a shame that no component or whole PC manufacturers use it anymore. For this reason, for my new PC, I have bought and assembled it from the most recent balanced technology extended form factor compliant case, motherboard and heatsink (ATX PSUs are compatible with BTX). Unfortunately, almost all of the BTX motherboards I could find used the Intel 915G chipset, which only supports up to pentium Ds. It so happened that I was actually looking to upgrade from a pentium D 960. However, I'd heard that OEM manufacturers like HP and Dell had continued using the BTX form factor, not just reversed ATX MoBo tray in "BTX" style, but actually BTX-shape compliant cases and motherboards. So, I looked into Dell. Turns out they actually kept using BTX through early 2009 in their XPS 430. I looked into it further, and discovered that the XPS 430 motherboard actually has the X48 chipset, and the DDR3 version no less! I am a big fan of socket LGA775, and the best chipset with the socket is great. therefore, I set aside the obvious risks of trying to build a system on an OEM board, especially from Dell, and bought it along with an XPS 430 case, which is the coolest-looking BTX case I could find (the 2007 XPS 420 case looks the same with the addition of a nice XPS logo on the side, but I don't want a dumb screen on top). I did have several very major problems resulting from the OEM board, and some receiving of broken components that had to be returned and replaced, but after six months and the consequential slight drop of LGA775 ever closer to obsolete-ness, it's finally done. What I'd like to know from you guys is if any of you know of a better B.T.X. form factor solution i. e. newer and more powerful, like X58 or something. So, here are my specs:

    Dell XPS 430 motherboard(X48 chipset DDR3 version, PCIe 2.0 x16 + x8 + x1 + x1, 5 SATA II 3Gbps ports, BTX form factor)
    Dell XPS 430 case (2 Tool-less internal 3.5" bays, 2 front 5.25" bays, one front 3.5" bay, one front/internal 3.5" bay, no cable management to speak of, basically all rivets no screws, BTX form factor)
    Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9650(Would've gone for QX9770 for the FSB, but it was too expensive)
    4 x 2GB DDR3-1333 (DDR3-1600 would have been better, but I had this lying around, and why buy more RAM when you have some perfectly good sticks ready?)
    Dell CAB-200 basically all-card-reader with BlueTooth
    Sony Optiaric DVD-RW SATA drive
    Intel 320 series 80GB SSD SATA II
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 7200RPM 160GB HDD SATA(I'm going to upgrade to a 500GB one soon!)
    surprisingly big and nice Dell XPS 400 series/Dimension 9000 series BTX 3-pipe heatsink and what I think is a 140mm fan(haven't actually measured it LOL)
    XFX AMD ati radeon HD 4890 1GB version (1GB GDDR5, DX10.1, OCed with CCC to 900Mhz core and 1000Mhz memory clock [Is stable @950Mhz in most stuff but GTA IV doesn't like it!])
    XFX PRO 550 Watt Core Edition Full Wired PSU(again, ATX PSU is good with BTX case!)
    So, does anyone know of or possible have a better BTX build I might have gotten instead?

  2. #2
    Member drka0tic's Avatar
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    Hi,
    At work I have a Dell Precision T3500 which has a x58 board (Socket 1366) and is also BTX. It is configured to operate with Xeon processors so I am not sure what would happen if stick in an i7-960 for example.
    Unfortunately it doesn't look as nice as the XPS towers, plus a used barebone system typically goes for $300 min on eBay.
    Unfortunately, I dont know of any other options.
    Intel Core i5 2500K @ 4.6Ghz | Gigabyte P67A-UD5-B3 | MSI 560Ti Twin Frozr II | Corsair Vengeance PC3-12800 [2x4GB] | OCZ Vertex 3 120GB | XSPC RASA 750 RS240 | Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit | Samsung 245BW 24" LCD | Logitech G15 | Corsair HX850 | Fractal Design Arc Midi | Logitech Performance MX | Mionix Propus 380 | Lamptron FC5 Fan Controller

  3. #3
    Member misternumberone's Avatar
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    If the board is X58 chipset, then it will work with i7s. Thanks for that, I'll look into it!
    EDIT: Sorry, that's not BTX. Even though it opens from the right side of the case, That is "BTX-style" ATX, where the motherboard tray is reversed.
    Last edited by misternumberone; 03-10-12 at 11:22 AM.

  4. #4
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    hello misternumberone, first off sorry for reviving an old thread. but I have a question for you. I bought a brand new (unbeknownst to me) BTX gateway back in the PD era, and grew to love the design, but the 3.0ghz branding iron they put in the socket was kind of.. too hot. After numerous attempts at upgrading, and cooling it down, i decided it was a lost cause- no core2 would register, and i didn't want to downgrade speed. earlier this year, I revived the project by picking up this same motherboard (x48 ich9r) and popping in a used qx9650, 12gb ddr3 (because it's dirt cheap right now), that same XPS heatsink you have, and an lg bd-rw, mounted in that 2006 gateway case. While I haven't made the jump to SSD yet, i have 2x160gb 7200 rpm in RAID0.

    My question is regarding the fitment of your hd4890 gfx card. I currently have in there a GeForce 7900gs, which fits in there great, but is now 9-10 generations old. I'm concerned that the newer Cadillac-length 2-slot cards are going to run into the XPS heatsink shroud, and even if they do fit, do they have any issue breathing? When I read your parts list, I looked up your gfx card, and I want to drop a hd6950 in mine, but i don't want to more than double the price of this project and have it not fit or cook itself. If you have any insight, I'd be happy to hear it.
    Thanks,
    Jacob

  5. #5
    Member misternumberone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RK9 View Post
    hello misternumberone, first off sorry for reviving an old thread. but I have a question for you. I bought a brand new (unbeknownst to me) BTX gateway back in the PD era, and grew to love the design, but the 3.0ghz branding iron they put in the socket was kind of.. too hot. After numerous attempts at upgrading, and cooling it down, i decided it was a lost cause- no core2 would register, and i didn't want to downgrade speed. earlier this year, I revived the project by picking up this same motherboard (x48 ich9r) and popping in a used qx9650, 12gb ddr3 (because it's dirt cheap right now), that same XPS heatsink you have, and an lg bd-rw, mounted in that 2006 gateway case. While I haven't made the jump to SSD yet, i have 2x160gb 7200 rpm in RAID0.

    My question is regarding the fitment of your hd4890 gfx card. I currently have in there a GeForce 7900gs, which fits in there great, but is now 9-10 generations old. I'm concerned that the newer Cadillac-length 2-slot cards are going to run into the XPS heatsink shroud, and even if they do fit, do they have any issue breathing? When I read your parts list, I looked up your gfx card, and I want to drop a hd6950 in mine, but i don't want to more than double the price of this project and have it not fit or cook itself. If you have any insight, I'd be happy to hear it.
    Thanks,
    Jacob
    If you are using the same motherboard and heatsink and graphics card as I am, you will be fine. The GPU fan will be partially behind the heatsink shroud, but it will have about 1cm of breathing room there. However, do you really mean 12GB DDR3? The X48 chipset, and therefore the MB, can only have up to 8GB...

    Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VI Hero
    Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
    Memory: 2*8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.50Ghz w/CM Hyper 212 EVO
    GPU: 2*EVGA Nvidia GTX 770 Classified w/ACX OC
    Storage: 240GB Intel 530 SSD, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14
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  6. #6
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    Thank you for the fitment info. I haven't messed with it in a few days, I have an old 9800 gx2 I was going to try to fit in it but just have had other stuff to do.

    About the ram, for whatever reason it shows 12gb, but won't go to 16gb. I had 8 in it, but had a couple of pieces laying around, and shoved two more 2gb sticks in, in addition to the 2x4gb set, and it took it no problem. Booted first try, showed 12gb in windows and in BIOS. But yeah, I thought the same thing about the x48. go figure.
    let me upload a picture of the windows info, i'll post it when i get a chance.

  7. #7
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    doesn't exactly show the chipset, but this is it.
    the crappy rating is from the 7900gs

  8. #8
    Member misternumberone's Avatar
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    O_O
    I MUST TRY THAT

    EDIT: It didn't work for me ;_;. Well, it shouldn't:
    Last edited by misternumberone; 11-14-12 at 05:23 PM.

    Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VI Hero
    Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
    Memory: 2*8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.50Ghz w/CM Hyper 212 EVO
    GPU: 2*EVGA Nvidia GTX 770 Classified w/ACX OC
    Storage: 240GB Intel 530 SSD, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14
    PSU: Corsair CX750M
    Display: 3*ASUS VS247H-P (5760*1080)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Black Cherry MX Red
    Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M65
    OS: Windows 10

  9. #9
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    if you're interested, i found a weird board for amd, i have a phenom 9550 and some ddr2 and found a btx board to support it, the fujitsu d2721 from the esprimo p5625. unfortunately it's a hard board to find in the usa. but i think it would be fun to do an amd quad btx. very cheap anyway, if the board can be had for around $50.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Member misternumberone's Avatar
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    Like you said, I was unable to find the board in the usa. Also I get a 403 on the link

    Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VI Hero
    Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
    Memory: 2*8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.50Ghz w/CM Hyper 212 EVO
    GPU: 2*EVGA Nvidia GTX 770 Classified w/ACX OC
    Storage: 240GB Intel 530 SSD, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14
    PSU: Corsair CX750M
    Display: 3*ASUS VS247H-P (5760*1080)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Black Cherry MX Red
    Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M65
    OS: Windows 10

  12. #12
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    I have the greatest little case from Shuttle. It came with a custom BTX mobo with Socket 775, and when it started giving me problems I made the decision to rebuild that computer with the best stuff I could find ... still based on BTX, which I love for its sensibility. The whole idea here is to stick with that case since it goes into a tight corner.

    Sticking to that small form factor (microBTX), I bought an Intel DQ965CO. I've been chipping away at this project for more than a year, and I've begun assembling. My only concern is that it's become clear that there were better BTX boards before they were discontinued, and I'm still open to changing to one with newer features -- such as DDR3 or a newer-generation CPU. Misternumberone, it sounds as though you know this stuff a heck of a lot better than I. Do you (or does anyone) know of a microBTX (264mm X 267mm) board that might keep me compatible into the future?

    Thanks a million.
    Last edited by guswah; 12-25-12 at 12:08 PM. Reason: Clearer in nature

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by guswah View Post
    I have the greatest little case from Shuttle. It came with a custom BTX mobo with Socket 775, and when it started giving me problems I made the decision to rebuild that computer with the best stuff I could find ... still based on BTX, which I love for its sensibility. The whole idea here is to stick with that case since it goes into a tight corner.

    Sticking to that small form factor (microBTX), I bought an Intel DQ965CO. I've been chipping away at this project for more than a year, and now I'm ready to assemble. The only concern is that now it's clear that there were better BTX boards before they were discontinued, and I'm still open to changing to one with newer features -- such as DDR3. Misternumberone, it sounds as though you know this stuff a heck of a lot better than I. Do you (or does anyone) know of a microBTX board that might be a bit more compatible with the current goodies, yet made in microBTX dimensions?

    Thanks a million.
    I have a BTX case from Dell, and I've thought about ways to use it after my Pentium D CPU runs its course, by upgrading it with an ATX motherboard. I'm aware it's an upside down or even mirror version of the ATX case, so I was going to look into mounting positions for it, assuming the PSU and CPU fan can be installed without issue, even though the form factor uses system fans for cooling the CPU.

  14. #14
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    Ever since I decided to rebuild my BTX machine, I've read lots of opinions about conversions from ATX to BTX and vice versa. I'm amazed at the number of people who say that it can't be done. That's simply false if you're willing to have a bit of fun.

    The work I've done to change my previous BTX mobo to the one currently in place was no different from the work I would have done to switch entirely to ATX. Meaning that you need to get out your tools and spend a bit of time. I bought a pop riveter. I had to cut out the old rear panel and create a new one since the prior board was a custom BTX with non-standard dimensions. I did this by drawing out my revision (in CorelDraw) and creating a CNC file which I sent to a metal shop. Once the new panel is cemented into place using JB Weld, the rest is fairly straight ahead.

    Anyway, if you really love that BTX case and want to put in an ATX board, you could do exactly as I've done and you'd likely end up with a true ATX machine -- not some inverted retrofit that might be a headache every time you want to change something.

    Best of luck.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by guswah View Post
    Ever since I decided to rebuild my BTX machine, I've read lots of opinions about conversions from ATX to BTX and vice versa. I'm amazed at the number of people who say that it can't be done. That's simply false if you're willing to have a bit of fun.

    The work I've done to change my previous BTX mobo to the one currently in place was no different from the work I would have done to switch entirely to ATX. Meaning that you need to get out your tools and spend a bit of time. I bought a pop riveter. I had to cut out the old rear panel and create a new one since the prior board was a custom BTX with non-standard dimensions. I did this by drawing out my revision (in CorelDraw) and creating a CNC file which I sent to a metal shop. Once the new panel is cemented into place using JB Weld, the rest is fairly straight ahead.

    Anyway, if you really love that BTX case and want to put in an ATX board, you could do exactly as I've done and you'd likely end up with a true ATX machine -- not some inverted retrofit that might be a headache every time you want to change something.

    Best of luck.
    Yeah, I would definitely have to do some modifications, although I'm a little surprised at how different my back panel is- it's seems to be custom BTX because it doesn't have a traditional bay that would look empty if it were removed, as it wasn't officially designed for that type of upgrade. I would have to cut an outline for the rear panel and remove most of the fans- it's currently a very loud system so I can't remove them until I'm ready to replace everything. It's an XPS 400 and some of the colors are nice but it would look better painted over for a new theme. Also the power button could use a new clicking noise/chime, but that would also be difficult to find a replacement that fits. If it's possible, it'll be worth the effort.

  16. #16
    Member peanutbudder's Avatar
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    I understand loving a certain OEM case like the one you currently have. I would honestly think about switching to ATX form factor since it is so widely used. Your SIG rig is still a beastly rig and has no real flaws. I am sure you could find a really nice micro atx case and micro atx 775 board and loose your headaches. Have you looked into an itx mono and case they have some nice looking lian li itx cases.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by peanutbudder View Post
    I understand loving a certain OEM case like the one you currently have. I would honestly think about switching to ATX form factor since it is so widely used. Your SIG rig is still a beastly rig and has no real flaws. I am sure you could find a really nice micro atx case and micro atx 775 board and loose your headaches. Have you looked into an itx mono and case they have some nice looking lian li itx cases.
    I agree here; my BTX case is secondary at the moment. I bought a mid ATX case for like $20 two years ago with free shipping on sale for my recent build. Though it's not the original point of this thread, I'm saying this to indicate that I'm not in a bind regarding options. Some ITX cases like Lian Li are really nice; some roommates/relatives find the tall chasses too large...even though I disagree I can see the logic in certain rooms where every square foot matters.

  18. #18
    Member misternumberone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenohitsu View Post
    Yeah, I would definitely have to do some modifications, although I'm a little surprised at how different my back panel is- it's seems to be custom BTX because it doesn't have a traditional bay that would look empty if it were removed, as it wasn't officially designed for that type of upgrade. I would have to cut an outline for the rear panel and remove most of the fans- it's currently a very loud system so I can't remove them until I'm ready to replace everything. It's an XPS 400 and some of the colors are nice but it would look better painted over for a new theme. Also the power button could use a new clicking noise/chime, but that would also be difficult to find a replacement that fits. If it's possible, it'll be worth the effort.
    I have an XPS 400 too(It's really a Dimension 9100 but they are literally identical), and I can say that that IS BTX, but it uses a unique OEM Dell rear I/O shield and front panel I/O connector. It is possible to change it, but case modding is required.

    Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VI Hero
    Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
    Memory: 2*8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.50Ghz w/CM Hyper 212 EVO
    GPU: 2*EVGA Nvidia GTX 770 Classified w/ACX OC
    Storage: 240GB Intel 530 SSD, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14
    PSU: Corsair CX750M
    Display: 3*ASUS VS247H-P (5760*1080)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Black Cherry MX Red
    Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M65
    OS: Windows 10

  19. #19
    Member misternumberone's Avatar
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    Some of you seem to be thinking that I just like the look of the case. That's a little different from my real intent here. I like the BTX form factor itself because of its superb airflow and easy, efficient usage of space with modern components, and I only wish that there were a BTX board with something newer than X48.

    Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VI Hero
    Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
    Memory: 2*8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600
    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.50Ghz w/CM Hyper 212 EVO
    GPU: 2*EVGA Nvidia GTX 770 Classified w/ACX OC
    Storage: 240GB Intel 530 SSD, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14
    PSU: Corsair CX750M
    Display: 3*ASUS VS247H-P (5760*1080)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Black Cherry MX Red
    Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M65
    OS: Windows 10

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by misternumberone View Post
    Some of you seem to be thinking that I just like the look of the case. That's a little different from my real intent here. I like the BTX form factor itself because of its superb airflow and easy, efficient usage of space with modern components, and I only wish that there were a BTX board with something newer than X48.
    I actually prefer it because I like the GPU to be facing up instead of down in the ATX cases, but the airflow issues have been apparently solved because there are more energy efficient chips available that use less heat (from Wikipedia):

    "One reason for the failure of BTX to gain traction in key markets was the rise of energy-efficient components(CPU's, chipsets and GPUs) which require less power and produce less waste heat, eliminating two of the primary intended benefits of BTX."

    Nonetheless, I still like the BTX because of direct airflow design, although I think the S-shape airflow of the ATX cases are sufficient combined with CPUs that have a lower idling wattage. If I wanted to go smaller, some of the microATX/mini ITX cases are decent too.

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