The future of hardware, 2004 and BTX

Big G

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I want to cry :(.

My case, a gorgeous jet black aluminium full tower Lian Li (cost £160 fs) may have to get the heave-ho soon. I talk of course about the new BTX standard for motherboards/cases.

My question is, how long until BTX is mainstream and we see the end of ATX? Will PCI Express only be present on BTX motherboards? Obviously, the next serious upgrade route (not for a good 12 months probably, at least) for somone like myself, BTX looks like the only way forward. How long before there are no more AMD bases ATX motherboards?

I guess i could just dremmel the back of the ATX Lian Li case and "make" a BTX board fit ;)

G
 

KevinUK

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Any info on BTX? I'll google it when im not lazy :p

I hope IDE is gone to make way for SATA!
 

Xavier

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BTX is a logical progression of the current form factor and addresses a lot of the discussion points we've had on the BW/Game/FH forums in the last year or two.

While there will be PCI-Express capable motherboards available which use the ATX standard design, all of the really interesting products are likely to be btx-only offerings.

What will probably interest most is that in a BTX chassis, CPU and graphics are fanless, instead relying on case fans and passive heatsinks to route air efficently through the case and cool all the typical system hotspots. One of the biggest problems with the majority of systems is the inefficient cooling and turbulent air which makes our machines noisy and hotter than necessary... something which shouldn't be a factor in a properly built BTX chassis.
 

Gurnox

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Xavier said:
BTX is a logical progression of the current form factor and addresses a lot of the discussion points we've had on the BW/Game/FH forums in the last year or two.

[snip]
Any idea on the timeline for all of this?
 

Big G

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I found an article from June 2003 here:

http://www.neoseeker.com/news/story/2609/

This suggests that there is a Prescott motherboard on its way in Q2 2004 based on an ATX standard.

The first of such Socket T boards will be the "Battle Lake" and the "Powers Lake". Both will support the Grantsdale-P chipset, PCI Express, DDR-2 533 memory, the ICH 6 south bridge (4 SATA and 8 USB 2.0 ports), FireWire, and RAID. The difference between the two is that the Battle Lake is an ATX board while the Powers Lake is micro ATX.
also here:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mainboards/print/20031117112640.html

There still seems to be a lot of talk about ATX forms for mid 2004, so I may be keeping my ATX case for a lot longer than I had expected, as there is definitely a "SATA / Prescott / DDR2 / PCI Express" ATX upgrade path.

Phew.

G
 

Jonty

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Hi Big G

I think you'll have your ATX case a while longer too, although not indefinitely. Whilst new technologies are on the way, manufacturers are not going to isolate their existing marketbase. Prescott processors, for example, will be initially produced so as to work with some existing Pentium 4 motherboards before moving to the new socket design. PCI Express graphics cards will also be available, it seems, with the ability to work with AGP ports (although the full potential of the card may not be shown).

Kind Regards

Jonty

P.S. SATA 2 is also in development, but that's still a fairly long way off yet.
 

Xavier

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Expected before Q3 2004

Intel's Prescott CPU - initially S478 but moving to socket t as the frequencies scale

AMD's Socket 939 Athlon 64's

DDR-II - For intel users this will mean a new motherboard and will be most likely considered a prescott-only option. On the AMD front this will not only require new motherboards plus supporting chipsets, but also see the need for new processors as the memory controller is a part of the CPU die.

PCI Express

NV40 - NVIDIAs Pixel Shader 3.0 Vertex Shader 3.0 DX 9.X card

R420 - As above with NVIDIA - PS3.0 VS3.0 DX9.x

BTX

Native SATA (and the death knell for IDE, or PATA as it's becoming known)

Legacy Free - PS2, COM and LPT ports, begone :D
 

RandomBastard

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Sounds like those of us who like there pcs to evolve slowly are gonna be in for a shock when btx comes along. Better make sure my next hd is sata ;) (not that i shoudln't be doing that anyway ).

Although the death of legacy devices is good :)
 

SheepCow

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When's the Prescott coming out? It was originally September 2003 wasn't it?
 

Xavier

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SheepCow said:
When's the Prescott coming out? It was originally September 2003 wasn't it?
#

No, people expected it to be mentioned at IDF, but Intel never had it roadmapped so early in the year. Expectation is of a first quarter launch, but I can't say anything else as we're under a nondisclosure agreement on such stuff.

Xav
 

fatbusinessman

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Xavier said:
Legacy Free - PS2, COM and LPT ports, begone :D
Um, I didn't think PS/2 was legacy as such - I think a hefty proportion of keyboards are still PS/2 only...
 

Xavier

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Most microsoft keyboards are now supplied with a USB connector, only their multimedia keyboards are PS2 in the current range, afaik...

And what we're talking about here is a rather large evoultion of the platform, if that means people have to get rid of their 10 year old black IBM keyboard, or just buy PS2/USB adapters, then they've little choice!

Xav
 

Gurnox

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Xavier said:
Expected before Q3 2004

[snip]
Wow. Sounds like some pretty big changes are indeed afoot. I think BTX will definately, by the sounds of it, be a 'good thing'. Looks as though it will consign a lot of horrible stuff to the murky depths of history.

So, the question is: upgrade now or hold off for BTX?
 

Big G

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Gurnox said:
Wow. Sounds like some pretty big changes are indeed afoot. I think BTX will definately, by the sounds of it, be a 'good thing'. Looks as though it will consign a lot of horrible stuff to the murky depths of history.

So, the question is: upgrade now or hold off for BTX?
The general concencous will probably be "wait", but if you wait for the next big/best thing, you'll be waiting forever.

G
 

Gurnox

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Big G said:
The general concencous will probably be "wait", but if you wait for the next big/best thing, you'll be waiting forever.

G
True. Although it's soo gutting to get that 'If only I'd waited a month more' feeling :(

It's the curse of the PC user.......
 

pixie

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The btx specs are available on formfactors.org

anandtech has a good article on it, theres a couple of pics of a early model.

From what ive read its going to be the best part of a year before we see
decent numbers of boards and cases so I wouldnt worry too much.
 

Bodhi

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Xavier said:
Most microsoft keyboards are now supplied with a USB connector, only their multimedia keyboards are PS2 in the current range, afaik...

And what we're talking about here is a rather large evoultion of the platform, if that means people have to get rid of their 10 year old black IBM keyboard, or just buy PS2/USB adapters, then they've little choice!

Xav
Can tell you don't have to pay for your own hardware.
 

Shovel

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When it boils down to it: New PCs with BTX will come with the required keyboard connector, anyone upgrading will have to swallow it as part of the upgrade cost. No one has picked up on the PCI Express replacing AGP completely, there are no easy upgrades here.

To be honest, any BTX system is going to be well into the "New PC" territory.
 

RandomBastard

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Indeed, but lots have people have usb stuff already (i for one keep a ps2 keyboard only for booting from cd) only thing i uise a serial port for is for my phones data cable. By the time btx comes out there will be a new gen of gfx cards anyway, so ppl upgrading will buy one with the mobo and cpu stuff. Hell cpus might well be the same so new mobo, case and gfx card requride to upgrade.

Still will probably be quite steep :/
 

Jonty

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Hello

The following is just my two pennys worth, it adds nothing to the original question.

Anyway, I agree that BTX will be a noticable step for many users, however slight the changes or affordable the solutions. That said, I think one of the main problems with computer hardware is that we hang on to older standards - standards that have long been since outmoded - for far too long. It took absolutely ages to ditch the older ISA standard from motherboards, to pick just one example, even though the amount of hardware produced for ISA by its death was very little.

In some cases the changes BTX makes, as Xavier has highlighted with PS/2, is easily remedied with just a small, cheap converter that it's included with many products anyway. Given a choice, I'd rather have BTX take some risks and make a clean break rather than half-heartedly approach matters and end up with a hybrid that neither pleases those unwilling to brace change nor those seeking change (naturally you can take this argument way too far, and you do have to appreciate you can't be too radical in these matters).

Sorry for rambling on.

Kind Regards
 

Ch3tan

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I read that intel and MS are trying to make an alternative to the system BIOS for recognising components and setting the system as well.
 

RandomBastard

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Ch3tan said:
I read that intel and MS are trying to make an alternative to the system BIOS for recognising components and setting the system as well.
Indeed EFI ( Extended Firmware Interface ) if i remember correctly.

Jonty said:
I'd rather have BTX take some risks and make a clean break rather than half-heartedly approach matters.
Totally agree on that issue makes it easier on hardware vendors for a clean break i imagine too, as they can concentrate on the new technology without worring about backwards compatibility.

Jonty said:
Sorry for rambling on.
Thats what forums are for!
 

MrBlack

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But what about the good old floppy disks? Will there still be a place for them? What with the bloaty sizes of practically anything you care to mention (in Windows anyway) these days, the floppy is finally on its way out, helped mostly by native support for USB pen drives.

Still, it'll be a brave OEM that dares take it out of their systems.

Bloody good riddance to ps/2 COM and LPT, too. Intel's PC99 spec has been harping on about Legacy free systems since, well, 1999. It's about time we dumped all this in favour of 8 USB 2.0 ports.

Anyone want to make bets on when USB 4.0 will arive with transfer speeds fast enough to allow external video cards, turning the home PC into something resembling a mini seperates system?
 

Big G

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MrBlack said:
But what about the good old floppy disks? Will there still be a place for them? What with the bloaty sizes of practically anything you care to mention (in Windows anyway) these days, the floppy is finally on its way out, helped mostly by native support for USB pen drives.

Still, it'll be a brave OEM that dares take it out of their systems.

Bloody good riddance to ps/2 COM and LPT, too. Intel's PC99 spec has been harping on about Legacy free systems since, well, 1999. It's about time we dumped all this in favour of 8 USB 2.0 ports.

Anyone want to make bets on when USB 4.0 will arive with transfer speeds fast enough to allow external video cards, turning the home PC into something resembling a mini seperates system?
I've not had a floppy disk drive in my PC since about 1999. With CD-RW so readily available, FTP space, email attaching - i agree it's about time it was binned.

G
 

Scooba da Bass

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MrBlack said:
But what about the good old floppy disks? Will there still be a place for them? What with the bloaty sizes of practically anything you care to mention (in Windows anyway) these days, the floppy is finally on its way out, helped mostly by native support for USB pen drives.

Still, it'll be a brave OEM that dares take it out of their systems.
Apple haven't included a floppy drive in desktop system for years and I can't think of many people who have had a problem with it. As you rightly point out exactly how useful are they? The last time I needed to use one was updating a bios a few years back and that could have been avoided.
 

KevinUK

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I need floppy disks for stupid uni work. :(
I have a 512mb usb pen drive but the labs have disabled usb support!
All the PC's have 100mb zip drives but I only have 2, 800?mb zip drives from work :p
 

Scooba da Bass

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Do you not have upload/download capabilities at both ends? Anything that fits on a floppy would probably be easier to up/down as you need it.
 

Shovel

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I just about get away without floppys. I recon the next few years might require a net admin to have access to a single external USB floppy drive and no more.
I needed it recently as a boot floppy for my router box - but that's the only time in months I've used one. When that didn't work, I used a boot CD of Knoppix instead. I think I did use it to move some files (this was fixing a rather embaressing problem with vital start up scripts, so the network was down throughout this.

Moving along, does anyone know what the plan is for any kind of Shuttle friendly "Mini-BTX"?
 

Big G

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Shovel said:
I just about get away without floppys. I recon the next few years might require a net admin to have access to a single external USB floppy drive and no more.
I needed it recently as a boot floppy for my router box - but that's the only time in months I've used one. When that didn't work, I used a boot CD of Knoppix instead. I think I did use it to move some files (this was fixing a rather embaressing problem with vital start up scripts, so the network was down throughout this.

Moving along, does anyone know what the plan is for any kind of Shuttle friendly "Mini-BTX"?
There will be a SFF BTX board, so i expect that there would be a shuttle system based on it.

http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.html?i=1876
 

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