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BTX form factor

The BTX (Balanced Technology Extended, codenamed Big Water) chassis design was developed by Intel Corp. and introduced on the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2003 as a successor of the ATX and MicroATX form factor, which has been the predominant PC design for about 10 years. BTX is a necessary step to address the challenges of heat and noise in Intel's evolving desktop processor line. The first BTX mainboards have been introduces end of 2004.

The BTX design changes the placement of the mainboard components, back-panel and cooling fans in order to direct a stream of air over the hottest parts of a PC. Two fans are used in BTX chassis, one at each end of the PC. Shifting the processor fan to the center of the front panel allows a larger, lower-RPM fan to be used, reducing noise, and the processor receives cool air from directly outside the cabinet. Graphics cards and other powerful expansion cards have been rotated so that they face up into the stream of cool air and memory chips now sit parallel to the flow of air.

There are two heights defined in the BTX specification for developers to use in their designs. The standard height is similar to the height defined in the ATX-family form factor. An additional, lower profile height is defined for use where it is important to reduce the overall size of the system.

BTX includes standardized specifications for

  • Chassis design and material
  • Mainboard design and layout
  • Heatsink design
  • Airflow design
  • Power supply unit (PSU)
  • Heatsink retention module

Special features, Advantages

  • Scalability
    + Three standard BTX form factors
  • Thermal Environment
    + In-line, high-velocity, low temp airflow
    + Above and below mainboard airflow
  • Acoustic Performance
    + Two-fan design
    + Lower impedance allows lower fan speeds
  • Mainboard
    + Balanced memory and I/O routing
    + 4-layer mainboard design
  • Structural Integrity
    + 100% increase in heatsink mass (up to 1kg)
  • Cost Structure
    + Steel case, standard components

Three form factor specifications (scalability):

  • BTX (seven expansion slots, max. 325mm wide or 12.8" x 10")
  • µBTX ("Micro BTX", four expansion slots, max. 264mm wide or 10.4 x 10.5")
  • pBTX ("Pico BTX", one expansion slots, max. 203mm wide, or 9" x 10.5")

Shuttle's innovations concerning BTX form factor:

Chassis type

XPC products



introduced on
1. Juni 2004


The P-chassis has been designed around the BTX spec with some modifications. For instance, rather than use front-to-back cooling, the P-chassis uses a side-to-side cooling arrangement, keeping the CPU air channel separate from the rest of the box. This deviation from the BTX spec allows better use of space inside the system. The chassis will have two other separate cooling zones, one cooled by a pair of fans at the rear of the case for SATA RAID drives, and the other for the chipset and graphics card cooled by the power supply fan. The fans follow Intel's new spec for Prescott systems, so they ramp speeds linearly. With more fans and three cooling zones, noise levels on the P series systems is very low, especially under full load. The system has a smaller form factor than even a picoBTX based system could achieve.


introduced on
15. Sept. 04


SB86i is the world's first BTX cube PC and is truly "Shuttle Technologies" on BTX platform. The look outside and the technology inside are purely Shuttle style. The air comes in from the side of the front panel avoiding an ugly hole in the front design. The new steel case decreases vibrations on the drives. The i-chassis design delivers whisper quiet cooling through optimized in-line airflow. Intelligent internal layout, component placement, and clever venting ensures excellent stability and reliability. Because this design uses just two high-quality slow-rotation fans, this XPC generates more airflow without the noise and it offers better stability, reliability and comfort. Better than the PicoBXT specification, the i-chassis offers 2 expansion slots instead of one.


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14.10.2009 14:59:24