AMD announces DTX standard for SFF PCs

January 10, 2007 | 16:24

Tags: #athlon-64 #ddr2 #ddr3 #dtx #motherboard #pci-express #prototype #sff #small-form-factor

Companies: #amd

AMD today announced the development of its DTX "open standard" for Small Form Factor (SFF) devices, based around AMD Athlon 64 CPUs. It's a move to promote AMD into a smaller, quieter PC, whilst building off of the current ATX spec.

It's primarily designed for OEMs, ODMs, and component vendors, so we should see everyone from Dell to your favourite PC motherboard manufacturer making motherboards and PCs based on the DTX specification.

However, manufacturers like Shuttle with its XPC range already do well in the SFF arena and its designs are considerably smaller than the DTX prototype shown. Also, it could be argued what's wrong with the current micro ATX spec?

The Introduction of new motherboard specifications by Intel (BTX, uBTX) in the past has proved unsuccessful. Having being built around the ATX specification, however, the DTX boards should fit into a standard ATX case which means a possible upgrade for that new MCE chassis you just invested in.

BTX was bad for AMD because it sat the CPU too far away from the memory slots, because the northbridge is integrated onto the Athlon 64's die. This was a cunning move by Intel to force AMD into an awkward position. Luckily, in the interest of consumer choice and competition BTX fell flat on its face. With DTX, the CPU is right next to the memory slots and the northbridge is on the other side of the CPU socket, pretty much as far away as possible. It's now extremely unlikely you will see an Intel based DTX board.

Considering the recent anti-trust case brought by AMD on Intel, this is incredibly ironic. It's an "open standard", so AMD reap no royalties from using it, but the competition can't use it anyway, so they are still the only ones making money from it.

Will AMD get anywhere with DTX considering how BTX turned out for Intel? The microATX market is small, at best, and the best SFF manufacturers (Shuttle) tend to go their own route with proprietary solutions.

You can see bigger pictures at the Inquirer.
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