CeBIT 2007: AMD shoves DTX into limelight

Also: whatever happened to Intel's BTX standard?

AMD is using today's CeBIT show to pimp a new chassis standard for media center PC systems. Nowadays almost all PCs conform to the ATX standard, so AMD is shoving DTX under the nose of every case and component builder it can to try and build (a little) momentum.

ATX is the current standard by which most desktop PCs are built; parts such as power supplies are universal and most motherboards fit most cases. But hang on - aren't we still waiting for Intel 's BTX standard?

BTX was supposed to be the next generation of desktops, but precious little has been heard of it since Intel sent test BTX kits out to journalists over two years ago. Apple's Mac Pro is said to be of similar configuration to BTX.

AMD is pitching DTX as an open standard and says there is "strong ecosystem support" for the new format. This basically means they've invited players such as Asus, Gigabyte and Nvidia round for a cup of tea and asked for their support. To which of course, they've readily agreed.

However is there any real need for an Small Form Factor (SFF) standard? Shuttle is doing pretty well on its own, while Micro-ATX isn't too doing too badly either. Shuttle is, however, one of the subscribers to AMD's fantasy.

And what a fantasy. "AMD believes growth and availability of systems in the small form factor market can be accelerated," says AMD's bumph.

"The upcoming DTX standard will embrace energy-efficient processors from AMD or other hardware vendors, allowing optimal small form factor systems that consume less power and generate less noise."

And it probably will. But saying DTX will enable "the broad development of small form factor PCs" could be little more than a daydream.

Bob Brewer, head of AMD's Desktop Division, says the new standard will improve efficiency for system and chassis builders. "With the DTX open standard specification, the potential exists for the small form factor market to reap benefits similar to what the ATX standard has done for the desktop market in recent years."

However, there is a bonus to the new standard. A DTX motherboard will fit into an existing sub-ATX case, so upgrading should, in theory, be simple.