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Balanced Technology Extended (BTX)

Definition - What does Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) mean?

Balance technology extended (BTX) is a form factor for motherboards that was initially intended to replace the 2004 and 2005 ATX motherboard. BTX is designed to decrease power needs and reduce heat. Furthermore, it employs enhanced technology that includes the serial advanced technology attachment (ATA), universal serial bus (USB) 2.0 and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) express. It is standardized by Intel and is not backward compatible with the ATX.

Techopedia explains Balanced Technology Extended (BTX)

The BTX was first introduced by Gateway Inc. and then by MPC Corporation and Dell Inc. It was also used in Apple’s Mac Pro but was not BTX compliant. By September 2006, Intel canceled development; this was largely due to the lack of backward compatibility with the ATX form factor.

Balance technology extended was designed to reduce the problems of the circa-1996 ATX standards by decreasing power consumption and heat. The BTX standards provided efficient design for small and large systems and new features such as:

  • An increased number of expansion slots
  • Better electrical and thermal regulation
  • Multiple system sizes and configurations
  • Support for high-mass motherboard components
  • Enhanced cooling capabilities with a straighter air flow path
  • Reduced latency between the northbridge and southbridge
  • Better component placement for back-panel input/output (I/O) controllers
  • Reduced height requirements, which benefit system integration for blade servers and rack mounts

One of the most recognized features is the enhanced thermal module. It sits at the front of the board that draws air over components that produce the most heat: the chipset, the CPU and the graphics card. The thermal module consists of a heat sink, fan, duct, seal and clip. There are two thermal module types, Type 1 and Type II. Type I is used in most cases, while Type II is for smaller personal computers (PCs).

Although the BTX was initially intended to replace the 2004 and 2005 ATX motherboard, the form factor design was incompatible with the ATX. Overall, the BTX motherboard and thermal module will not fit in an ATX case but the ATX power supply will work fine in a regular and tall BTX case.

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