Advanced Technology Extended (ATX)

Last updated: November 23, 2011

What Does Advanced Technology Extended (ATX) Mean?

Advanced Technology Extended (ATX) is a motherboard form factors used for PC systems.

The ATX was first introduced in 1995 by Intel. It was an evolutionary design built on the previous Advanced Technology (AT) model by improving the outline of the case, the power supply and the motherboard. With a better use of space and resources, ATX quickly became the default form factor for most new PC systems.

Today, the industry accepts the ATX form factor as the standard. However, a completely different form factor called Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) is becoming prevalent. It is not compatible with ATX.

Techopedia Explains Advanced Technology Extended (ATX)

The ATX form factor was a big change from the AT motherboard design and became the default form factor for most new systems because it improved the support for I/O devices and processor technology, making it a lot easier to add or remove components. ATX was also more economical than previous form factors.

Modules on the ATX motherboard are designed to work together more efficiently due to more optimal positioning of each component. With the drive and power supply placed in a more functional location, the motherboard is easier to connect. By reducing the cable lengths of the motherboard, the possibility for corrupted data and electromagnetic interference (EMI) are reduced.

An added feature of the ATX motherboard is the position of the power supply fan. The air is blown directly on the processor and expansion cards to improve cooling and reduce noise.

An additional ATX attribute is the soft switch or soft power feature. The soft switch is controlled by the OS, which softly turns the power off when the system is shut down by means of the power switch. When using the power switch to turn off older systems, the power is abruptly shut off, often causing errors during reboot and putting additional stress on the motherboard.

There are many advanced versions of ATX that have been developed since its introduction.

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