What is DTX Motherboard? (Explained)

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What is DTX Motherboard

What is DTX Motherboard?

A DTX motherboard is a variant of the ATX form factor originally developed in January 2007 by AMD with the intention to create a small board that can be used in media center computers, home theater systems and other smaller computers.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Designed by AMD to be used in the smaller computers, the DTX motherboards are available in regular and Mini DTX form factor measuring 8.0 inches by 9.6 inches and 8.0 inches by 6.7 inches in width and depth respectively.
  • These motherboards are backward compatible and therefore will fit within an ATX and a Mini ATX case. However, unlike ATX, the short edge of it with integrated I/O and expansion slots are the bonus benefits offered.
  • The design of these boards use fewer layers of PCB wiring, offers fewer expansion slots due to its smaller size and can support CPUs that are of relatively low power.
  • The DTX standard is not created as a replacement of the ATX or the Mini ITX form factors but to be compatible with current ATX cases and allow using both AMD or Intel processors and chipsets in it.

Understanding DTX Motherboard

What is DTX Motherboard

Technically, the DTX motherboards come with some differences in the design of it as compared to the ATX motherboards.

These motherboards are designed for use in computers that have a smaller form factor.

With a physical dimension of 8.0 inches in width and 9.6 inches and 6.7 inches in depth, the regular DTX and Mini DTX motherboards can handle CPUs with lower power requirements ranging between 45 watts and 65 watts.

There are only two expansion slots available in a DTX motherboard being smaller in size in comparison to ATX motherboards. The standard allows one PCI x 16 slot and one PCI or PCIe x1 slot or two PCI slots on the board.

However, the specification of the DTX motherboards provides an option for elective Express Card expansion slots on it, both of its 34 mm and 54 mm variants.

There is sufficient USB connectivity where the reference board of AMD sports 6 ports.

The smaller size, the lower number of expansion slots and its lower capacity of the DTX form factor lowered the cost of manufacturing these motherboards that even needed less layers of PCB or Printed Circuit Board wiring.

Typically, there are 4 major requirements in the DTX spec which are:

  • The size of the motherboard should be smaller
  • The locations of the mounting holes
  • The locations as well as the dimensions of the rear I/O and
  • The location of the expansion slot connector.
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The I/O connector plane of the DTX boards is similar to that of the ATX motherboards that are currently available though the layout may differ pretty obviously from one board to another.

The type of ports to be used in a DTX motherboard is however not mentioned in its specification and therefore it is left at the discretion of the makers of the boards.

The good thing is that the DTX motherboards do not have any new power supply necessities because they can use the same 2×2 +12 volt connectors and 24-pin power connectors that are usable in the existing ATX specification.

Apart from that, the cooling requirements are the same as well for the DTX systems because it works well with regular fan units or heat sinks that are quite efficient.

Also, in spite of its somewhat lowly features, the good thing about the DTX motherboards is that these are backward compatible with the larger ATX form factor.

This means that these motherboards can be used in the ATX cases.

This is because the slots are in the same position as the two slots in the ATX or Micro ATX boards.

The main intention of AMD to announce the development of DTX on January 10, 2007 was to create an open standard for the industry that can be used interchangeably with systems that are the same as the original SFF design of Shuttle.

There are some significant benefits offered by the DTX motherboards in terms of manufacturing cost which is pretty low. These are:

  • The design will allow manufacturing up to 4 regular DTX motherboards at low cost according to the manufacturing panel sizes for each standard printed circuit board
  • It will allows manufacturing up to 6 Mini DTX motherboards at low cost according to the specified PCB manufacturing panel sizes
  • It allows the manufacturers to manufacture regular DTX motherboards with as little as 4 layers of printed circuit board wiring which reduces the cost of manufacturing further and
  • It allows incorporating backward compatibility with the larger ATX infrastructure which allows designing a low cost DTX board requiring minimal expenses for its development.

Experts believe that the need for developing the new DTX standards was influenced due to several factors such as:

  • 4 DTX or 6 Mini DTX motherboards can be made from a single Printed Circuit Board blank as opposed to only two of the ATX or Micro ATX variants
  • The memory is placed in line with the processor or is offset from it in all BTX form factors
  • The memory controllers in all modern AMD processors are integrated and they also need to maintain the same electrical distance between the RAM slots and the processor socket, which is quite difficult in BTX
  • The DTX motherboards have two expansion slots in both its regular and Mini variants as opposed to only one in a typical Mini ITX motherboard and
  • The BTX form factor could not penetrate the community of enthusiast and white box computer builders in the real sense which failed to standardize this particular small form factor.
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Apart from the above reasons, the fact that both ATX and BTX standard of families are controlled by Intel is also considered to be a significant reason to design the DTX motherboards.

And, in spite of the compatibility of DTX standard with the ATX and Mini ATX form factors, there was still a need to design a board that is compatible with the Mini ITX boards to compete with the increasing popularity of it.

DTX vs BTX

  • The thermal module of DTX includes fan units or a regular heat sink but, in comparison, it is enclosed in BTX and is located at the front of the frame so that it first cools the CPU and then all the following components located after it
  • The DTX boards can handle CPUs with a Thermal Design Power or TDP ranging between 45 watts and 65 watts but the BTX boards being larger can handle CPUs as well as GPUs that are more power hungry
  • The BTX standard can target any given segment of the market but the DTX standard can meet the demands of only a specific type of buyers and
  • There are four varieties in the sizes of the BTX motherboards such as Pico BTX, Nano BTX, Micro BTX and regular BTX all measuring 266.70 mm in depth but 203.20 mm, 223.52 mm, 264.16 mm, 325.12 mm in width as compared to only two variants namely Mini DTX and regular DTX boards both measuring 203.20 mm in width and 170.18 mm and 243.84 mm in depth respectively.

Can DTX Fit in ATX Case?

Yes, you can use a DTX motherboard in an ATX case, provided it is of the latest model. This is because the DTX motherboards use similar mounting hole positions as the ATX motherboards and DTX is just a smaller version of ATX and Micro ATX form factors and therefore will fit in both.

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However, there is one particular thing to note in this regard which is that the DTX motherboards may not be necessarily compatible fully with the Micro ATX chassis.

This is because in both the form factors, the design of the chassis holds the motherboard tray pretty tightly which does not allow any additional space to accommodate a motherboard that is designed and made on any other standard.

Moreover, the Micro ATX boards can be too long to hold a DTX case and, on the other hand, the DTX motherboard may be too wide for a Micro ATX case.

In this case, the former is more likely to happen because any user buying a DTX case would also want to buy a DTX motherboard for obvious reasons.

However, the second situation is also likely to happen, though rarely, when a buyer wants to combine a newer platform with an old case.

In that case, it is elementary that the buyer first checks whether or not the size of the Micro ATX case is sufficient enough to hold the DTX board which is wider in dimension.

As for the full size DTX boards, the only possible issue is that not it but it is only a Mini DTX board will fit in any Micro ATX case.

Will DTX Fit in ITX Case?

No it will not due to the mounting bolts in the DTX boards which are pretty much the same but only offer two of them.

And, a Mini ITX case will not be able to hold a DTX motherboard but a DTX case will allow installing a mini ITX motherboard.

What is the Size of DTX Motherboard?

According to the official specifications, the size of the DTX motherboards is 8 inches in length and their width is 9.6 inches.

There is also a Mini DTX version available which is somewhat similar and comes with a length of 8 inches and width of 6.7 inches.

Conclusion

So, after reading this article you now know that DTX is a particular specification that is all about the size of the motherboard and is an expansion to ATX standard in the true sense.

It is quite good and competent enough to provide some significant benefits to the users as well as the manufacturers in terms of cost.

About Taylor

AvatarTaylor S. Irwin is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience.

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