AMD aims to unify SFF PCs with DTX spec

Ever since we first laid eyes on Shuttle’s original XPC, we’ve been enamored with the concept of small, quiet boxes that still house very capable PCs. You’ve gotta like the combination of stylish design, power, and convenience that such systems bring to the desktop—or to the countertop, for that matter. For just about that same length of time, though, we’ve been wishing for a set of standards for small-form-factor systems that would allow DIYers to mix their preferred motherboards with just the right chassis. That desire grew more acute as the popularity of home theater PCs mushroomed, yet building one that’s sufficiently quiet, compact, stylish, and powerful remained a maddeningly tedious exercise in component selection and assembly. Today, small form factor PCs have become a staple offering from big PC makers, but they remain a difficult proposition for would-be DIYers and smaller PC vendors.

AMD aims to remedy this situation with a set of standards, known as DTX, that could bring some harmony to the chaotic, inconsistent world of SFF-ready PC components. The firm first introduced the DTX specification early this year, and we now have our Cheeto-stained hands on a prototype of a DTX-compliant reference design system. Keep reading to see what DTX is all about and how the first reference design is shaping up.

AMD’s DTX reference design

DTX basics

The key thing to know about DTX is that it’s an extension of the existing ATX specification for motherboards and cases, not a wholesale redesign like the ill-fated BTX effort Intel spearheaded a couple of years ago. DTX is also unlike BTX in that it doesn’t seek to accommodate the full range of desktop hardware, such as high-wattage processors or the very highest-end GPUs. Instead, AMD’s spec seeks the simpler goal of hosting relatively power-efficient hardware in a low-noise chassis. To that end, DTX’s peak power envelope for CPUs is 65 watts.

The next thing to know about DTX is that it’s an open standard. AMD has proposed the specification and is actively developing and promoting it, but nothing about DTX requires the use of AMD hardware—other than, AMD would probably tell you, the sheer awesomeness of its low-power processors and chipsets with integrated graphics. Obviously, AMD has an interest in creating a healthy ecosystem for smaller PCs given its position as a supplier of such components, but the DTX standard should easily serve the whole of the PC industry, should it catch on.

The heart of DTX, of course, is a set of specifications—actually, two sets of specifications—for building components for teensy-weensy—and teensy weensier—computers. We’ll have a look at both sets.

Full DTX in relation to ATX. Source: AMD.

The larger of the two proposed standards is known as Full DTX. As you can see in the diagram above (Don’t you love those words? Ah, the sheer entertainment we here at TR provide for you!), a Full DTX mobo is considerably smaller than a standard ATX motherboard—and also smaller than a typical microATX board. AMD has retained the same mounting points as ATX, however, so a DTX board should fit into any ATX case without drama.

At 200 mm wide and 244 mm deep, a Full DTX board leaves room for only two expansion slots, much like a Shuttle XPC. Those slots can be of the PCI or PCIe variety, and DTX provides room for additional expandability via a single, laptop-style XpressCard expansion slot, as well.

AMD estimates Full DTX enclosures will be between eight and 15 liters in volume, and those cases will need to be capable of cooling CPUs with thermal ratings between 45 and 65W. That means no Extreme Edition or FX processors for DTX systems, but it still leaves room for some very high performance CPUs.

Full DTX’s motherboard dimensions will allow mobo makers to produce four boards from one standard-sized PCB panel, AMD reckons. They also expect the mobo designs to require only four PCB layers, like most ATX boards. Both of these attributes should make Full DTX appealing for Taiwan, because they should keep manufacturing costs nice and low.

Mini DTX in relation to ATX. Source: AMD.

The second branch of the DTX family tree is known as Mini DTX, and its dimensions are shown above. Mini DTX restricts motherboard depth to 170 mm, but keeps the second expansion slot and accompanying 200 mm width of its DTX sibling. As you’ve probably guessed, Mini DTX enclosures will be somewhat smaller—AMD estimates between three and eight liters in cubic volume—and won’t have the same cooling capacity as Full DTX cases. In fact, AMD has set Mini DTX’s upper limit at CPUs with 45W thermal ratings.

The Mini DTX motherboard dimensions should yield six boards per standard PCB panel, but I expect that motherboard designers will have to resort to more than four layers in order to squeeze everything into this space.

Mini-ITX in relation to ATX. Source: AMD.

While we’re on the subject, we should take a look at how DTX relates to VIA’s Mini-ITX spec, which is popular for embedded systems and other pint-sized-PCs. Well, OK, not exactly pint-sized, but probably less than five liters in cubic volume. At 170 mm by 170 mm, Mini-ITX leaves room for only one expansion slot. AMD estimates Mini-ITX can accommodate CPUs with between 35 and 45W thermal ratings (although VIA’s own processors’ thermals top out at 20W and range as low as 1W, for what it’s worth.)

Because both DTX and Mini-ITX use standard ATX mount points, and because Mini DTX and Mini-ITX are so similar in basic dimensions, AMD believes its DTX push should help establish a chassis standard for Mini-ITX boards, as well.

A look at the DTX reference prototype

Now that we’ve talked about the DTX basics, let’s have a closer look at the prototype DTX reference design system from AMD. This system is still very much a work in progress, but it offers a clear sense of AMD’s vision for DTX. This is, however, very much a reference design. The chassis and motherboard are not early versions of production hardware; although functional, they exist mainly as guides for AMD’s partners.

The hardware inside the box will already be familiar to most TR readers. The motherboard is based on AMD’s 690G chipset with Radeon X1200 integrated graphics. We reviewed the 690G earlier this year. Paired up with the 690G is an Athlon X2 BE-2350 CPU, a low-power version of the Athlon 64 X2 that runs at 2.1GHz and has a 45W thermal/power rating. We reviewed the X2 BE-2350 back in June, and then followed up with a power consumption comparison between the BE-2350/690G combo and Intel’s Core 2 Duo E4300/G965 chipset combo. If you don’t recall the exact details of those articles, don’t worry. The long and short of it is that AMD has a very nice offering in this space, with low power consumption, adequate performance, and better graphics—in terms of both performance and compatibility—than Intel.

Thanks to its smaller complement of components and what must be a fairly efficient power supply unit, we found the DTX reference box to be even more power-efficient than the previous AMD 690G/BE-2350 pairing we tested. At idle, this box pulls only 44W at the wall socket. When running a 3D graphics demo and two instances of Prime95, it tops out at about 88W. Not too shabby, to say the least.

Here’s a look at the back of the chassis. This box will convert from a pedestal-secured micro-tower to an extra-small desktop within seconds. One need only to pull out the spring-loaded pedestal and give it a twist, so that it tucks away into the side of the unit. Once laid flat on a desk, the DTX box measures roughly 14″ wide, 13″ deep, and 3.5″ high, using my Yankee-style units of measurement. This is a Full DTX affair, by the way. Mini DTX would be even smaller.

The DTX reference system offers up a standard assemblage of ports, with the notable exception of PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors—those have been supplanted by USB. Notice that the two expansion card slots will accommodate only low-profile cards.

This system’s prototype status is sometimes readily apparent, like when you attempt to open the cover over the front panel and it tumbles onto the floor, rather than swinging back on a hinge or something. Once the cover is safely lost under your desk, you’ll find a small collection of I/O facilities living behind it, including a slim-line DVD drive, a multi-format flash reader, and audio and USB jacks. In the picture, just to the right of the smart card port is what appears to be a cutout ExpressCard slot. However, there’s nothing behind the cutout in this prototype.

Popping the lid reveals a neat but tightly placed collection of components. This is a very compact design with little room for expansion. Shuttle’s XPCs typically have space for at least one more 3.5″ hard drive, but this box does not.

Notice the ducting around the CPU cooler. The area it encloses corresponds to a set of venting holes in the lid of the enclosure, allowing direct airflow to the CPU fan. Our prototype system is pretty darned quiet after it first boots, quiet enough to sit on your desk without the noise becoming a bother, in my view. And I’m picky. But it’s louder than it should be after it warms up, in part because there’s not another set of venting holes in the lid above the power supply fan. The PSU fan has to work pretty hard to get its job done given the quarter-inch or so of open space between it and the case lid. AMD says it has already tweaked its recommendations to include venting above the PSU fan, so future versions of this design ought to remain quieter during operation.

This angled shot better shows the location of the board’s two DIMM slots, among other things.

The chassis holds the slimline optical and hard disk drives in a metal tray that’s secured by a single thumbscrew and a sliding lock mech. Just unscrew, side the tray sideways a bit, and it pops out.

Beneath the drive tray is AMD’s do-everything front-panel board, code-named Carat 1. This board accepts three internal USB connections and an internal audio header link. From those, it drives the card reader, two USB ports, and two audio jacks.

Here’s a look at AMD’s “Diamond 2” DTX reference motherboard liberated from the case. Holding it in my hands, I was struck by how close the dimensions are to a Shuttle XPC mobo, although the DTX board is slightly wider.

For a quick visual comparison, have a look at the DTX board next to a common microATX board, the 690G-based Asus M2A-VM HDMI. With room for four expansion slots, the mATX mobo is considerably larger.

What about motherboard and chassis makers?

AMD’s DTX reference design looks promising, but the real test will be whether the specification earns the support of motherboard makers, chassis makers, PC builders of various sorts, and the larger industry. AMD lists a whole range of big names in the motherboard and enclosure businesses as DTX partners, so I asked around to see what they had in store. Here’s what I found.

  • Albatron — Albatron has developed a Mini DTX board, the KD690-AM2, based on the 690G chipset. This board is derived from a Mini-ITX design, the KI690-AM2, but adds enough width to accommodate an additional PCIe x1 expansion slot. The mobo includes two SO-DIMM slots for mobile-style DDR2 memory modules, a GigE port, HDMI and DVI outputs, and eight-channel audio. Albatron doesn’t list the KD690-AM2 on its website because it’s not mass-producing the board. The company says it’s “waiting for the DTX standard to gain more interest in the market” before it commits to mass production.

  • Albatron’s KD690-AM2 Mini DTX motherboard

  • Asus — As one of the big dawgs of the motherboard world, Asus has plans for DTX products, with projects underway. The firm says it plans to have products available upon DTX’s official launch, but wasn’t ready to share any information with us yet about product specs, features, or positioning. In addition to motherboards, Asus will probably build DTX-based SFF barebones systems, but not stand-alone cases.
  • MSI — The folks at MSI have cooked up a DTX motherboard, the K9AGMD, based on the 690G chipset. We don’t have much info on it yet, but interestingly, they did say it will cost more than a microATX board. MSI classifies K9AGMD as “in production” and says it is available by request. That means the board isn’t being mass-produced, but MSI will produce them if a large customer places an order for them. Uniquely, MSI said it believes there is an interest among PC OEMs—the big PC makers of the world—for DTX products, but it couldn’t say which ones or how many might be interested.
  • Shuttle — The leading light of the SFF PC movement does indeed have a DTX project in the works, currently in the R&D stage. Unfortunately, Shuttle didn’t get back to us with additional information on its DTX project in time for publication.
  • Thermaltake — Thermaltake actually showed its DTX chassis, the HTPC-oriented DH201, at Computex. This box includes a 4.3″ touch screen on the front panel, a remote, and two expansion slots. Although it’s a Full DTX chassis, it can hold a Mini DTX board, if needed. Like AMD’s other would-be partners, Thermaltake is taking a cautious approach to DTX. They say: “The product, however, is only at the evaluation stage so far. Further market reaction might affect the product development plans in the future.”

  • Thermaltake’s HTPC HD201

We also inquired with Gigabyte and SilverStone about their DTX projects, but they didn’t get back to us in time to be included in this article.

Intel’s take on smaller PC form factors

One company that knows a thing or two about introducing standards for PC form factors is Intel. In fact, the DTX story begins, in some ways, with the market failure of another PC form factor standard proposed by Intel.

Back in 2004, Intel proposed the BTX standard as a guide for building quiet systems with adequate cooling for the fastest desktop processors. BTX wasn’t focused only on small PCs, but the spec included provisions for SFF systems. With its emphasis on system-level integration of measures like an air tunnel for improved cooling and acoustics, BTX was very much a different animal, not just an extension to the existing ATX infrastructure. Producing entirely new motherboard and chassis designs for a new standard—with different mounting points and different cooling provisions—isn’t cheap, so the uptake for BTX was slow. BTX did experience some success, especially with large PC OEMs. Shuttle even built a BTX-based XPC chassis. But much of the market balked.

At the time, BTX was widely seen as Intel’s attempt to address the power and heat problems caused by its Prescott processors. Tellingly, Intel dropped BTX from its roadmap in mid-2006 and stopped promoting it, just as the much cooler Core 2 Duo processors were set to debut.

So I had to wonder: what does Intel make of DTX? To find out, I spoke with Peter Brandenburger, Small Form Factor Program Manager in Intel’s Platform Application Engineering Group. Interestingly enough, Intel’s reaction to DTX isn’t quite the sort of all-out opposition one might expect from AMD’s larger rival. In fact, although Mr. Brandenburger didn’t take a position specifically for or against DTX, he did have some positive words for DTX or something like it.

First, he said Intel still believes in standards for this sort of thing, which is an important endorsement in light of Intel’s BTX experience and the propensity of big PC OEMs to develop proprietary SFF system designs. Also, he classified DTX as a microATX-compatible spec, which, he said, “is what the market wants.” In fact, he noted that Intel itself proposed a similar FlexATX specification (the basis for the original Shuttle SV24 motherboard, as it happens) back in 1999. FlexATX didn’t take off at the time, he said, but with the increasing integration in today’s PCs, DTX might fare better.

Still, Mr. Brandenbuger pointed out that AMD may have difficulty achieving wide adoption for DTX for a number of reasons. The fundamental problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any industry-wide collective agreement or any single answer about how to approach smaller form factors. On one hand, Full DTX may find itself squeezed from above by microATX systems that allow for additional expandability. On the other, Mini DTX’s second expansion slot may not make it an especially compelling alternative to the existing Mini-ITX options.

The key things I took away from my conversation with Mr. Brandenburger were that Intel has thought extensively about small form factor PCs, and that it doesn’t have any major objections to the provisions of the DTX spec. That’s no ringing endorsement, but it is a good sign. AMD seems to have done its homework. As a result, Intel may allow room for DTX to flourish, should AMD’s efforts begin to get some traction. Currently, though, AMD is still very much on its own. Intel has no plans for DTX products, and none of the manufacturers we contacted had plans to build DTX-sized motherboards for Intel CPUs.


Nearly every motherboard and chassis maker we contacted for this story had a similar position on DTX. Publicly, they have all announced support for the standard, usually in the form of a single product or project, in conjunction with AMD’s efforts. Privately, they are hedging their bets, waiting to see whether DTX gains any momentum in the market before committing to producing anything in volume.

One source at a major motherboard company indicated to us that the DTX push needs more focus and clarity from AMD on the question of whether the first products should focus on mainstream SFF desktops, home theater PCs, or some other segment of the market. The same source pointed out that history tell us DTX needs support from chassis makers, even more than motherboard manufacturers, in order to succeed.

Time and again, we heard manufacturers tell us they are waiting for someone else to make the leap in support of DTX. And, realistically speaking, they’re quite credible in saying that they’re ready to produce motherboards and the like when the market demands them. They’re just waiting for somebody—AMD, big PC makers, their competitors, the press, whomever—to make the first move.

I don’t expect that first move to come from large PC OEMs, for what it’s worth. They seem to be doing quite well with designing their own proprietary SFF systems, and a broadly accepted standard would only invite more competition from smaller players. AMD couldn’t name a single OEM that was backing the DTX push. Then again, we don’t really deal often with large PC makers around here, so I haven’t been able to get a clear read on their intentions.

Obviously, it’s early still in the life of DTX, and AMD is still in development with its own reference design. I expect attitudes to change as the development process continues. At some point, the first mass-produced DTX products will arrive, and the industry will be watching to see how they fare. If they do well, others will follow.

The arrival of a DTX prototype system in Damage Labs is, among other things, a trial balloon. AMD and its partners are watching to see how the public reacts to the DTX story, so they can drum up some support and plan their next moves. For my part, I like the DTX concept, and I think the DTX reference prototype is a good start. As a PC enthusiast, I’d like to see a little more room for expansion of certain types—specifically, a second hard drive and full-height PCI/PCIe cards, both of which Shuttle has managed to shoehorn into its XPC cases. Both things could be accomplished within the scope of the Full DTX spec, probably in a case of this size. Beyond that, most of the things I want from DTX are the same things I’d want in a full-sized PC: reasonably full-featured motherboards with decent overclocking options, truly high-fidelity audio, quality power supplies, good acoustics, and reasonable component prices. Compromises are inevitable with a system of this size, of course, but being able to choose the trade-offs for oneself when building such a system would be priceless. We stand ready to review DTX motherboards, cases, power supplies, and all the rest, just as soon as somebody makes the first move.

Comments closed
    • cbxbiker61
    • 12 years ago

    DTX is nice. All of the pieces have to be cost competitive though before I go there. Mini-ITX is pretty cool, but there’s always a catch with that form factor either too expensive or too slow for my taste.

    I just got into an AMD BE-2400 low-power CPU with an micro-ATX Asus M2A-VM HDMI motherboard and a quiet power-supply. I couldn’t be happier with that combo. It sips 40 watts from the socket at idle and 90 under load.

    I do like towers and I don’t like optical disks that are mounted on their side. Those are two reasons why there’s a limit in how far I’m willing to go in case shrinkage.

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    Scott, help me out – is that slimline optical drive using a PATA-to-SATA adapter? I think it is, but I can’t quite tell.

    If it is, did AMD make any comment about whether or not they’re expecting slimline SATA drives to ever hit the market? Otherwise, that part of the setup seems like kind of a hack.

      • Damage
      • 12 years ago

      Yeah, it’s using an adapter. I’m sure SATA slimline drives are coming or, heck, they’re probably already out there in the latest Centrino laptops.

        • eitje
        • 12 years ago

        thank you! 🙂

    • lethal
    • 12 years ago

    That TT model with the knobs looks like a mod project for an 80’s stereo :P.

    • paulsz28
    • 12 years ago

    I like the idea of the SODIMM slots. I always wondered why they only came on desktops, although they do cost more. It seems to only make sense to me to use those for smaller and smaller PCs. Of course, the SODIMM spec could be an alternate configuration of a given manufacturer’s board, sorta like an option.

    Also, the front do-all panel is a good idea, because it consolidates many things that are often supplied by PCI slots (which takes away from your available PCI slots).

    Have you noticed that as PCs get smaller and smaller, they pretty much approach expandable laptops with detached monitors?

    Really, MOST of the people I know run similar rigs: 1x CPU, 2xDIMM 2GB, 1x or 2x HDDs, 1x PCIe-16x, and 1x PCI (some with 1x PCI-x1). It seems like we could all get away with DTX boards if they made them.

    The whole name of the game here is small and quiet – only what you need. Here would be my ideal DTX spec mobo:
    1x low-watt CPU with low-rise cooler
    2x DIMM or 2x SODIMM up to 8GB (more than 4GB is very uncommon anyway)
    1x PCIe-x16 (that could accommodate all graphics cards) or onboard video, but not both
    Worthwhile onboard audio that doesn’t snap-crackle-pop (does this exist???)
    1x PCI or 1x PCI-x1 or both if it would fit (for eSATA, USB, audio, whatever someone wanted)
    2x SATA or 1x SATA or 1x SATA + 1x eSATA for HDDs
    1x slim CD
    1x front panel connectors (USB, card readers, firewire, PCMCIA, etc.)
    1x GBit LAN or onboard wi-fi
    Perhaps some OC ability (although not really necessary nor desired for tight enclosures)
    No floppy connector, no parallel connector, no PS2
    ***So, this is pretty much a micro-ATX minus 1xPCI.

    Ideal Case Spec:
    1x built-in PSU or cage for a small one
    1x removable HDD cage to house 1×3.5″ or 2×2.5″
    1x slot for slim CD
    1x slot for front panel
    1x80mm SILENT fan (or not)
    Uses only clips and thumbscrews
    ***Of course, the orientation of all of this is where the money is. And surely some people would want LEDs, windows, wild case designs, water cooling, wheels, inverted designs, etcetera etcetera.

    Tada!!! I just established DTX 😀

      • ew
      • 12 years ago


    • Krogoth
    • 12 years ago

    I hope DTX succeeds where FlexATX has failed.

    The SFF PCs are only held back by lack of a standard and proprietary platforms.

    • quantumMan
    • 12 years ago

    I personally am having trouble getting a sense of the size of the case for my personal evaluation of whether it’s a great improvement.

    While the side-by-side pictures of the motherboards are nice, it would be nice to see the reference case next to a sample of other cases.

      • flip-mode
      • 12 years ago

      Definitely agree. Scott, is an updated picture possible?

        • ew
        • 12 years ago

        Pic next to the Library of Congress would be great! 🙂

          • zqw
          • 12 years ago

          US-centric! Next to La Bibliothèque nationale de France.

          Remember the Quarter incident?


            • eitje
            • 12 years ago

            it’s probably going to take a 46-country international tour to cover all of the particular locations required to REALLY get an idea of the relative size of that system.

    • zqw
    • 12 years ago

    Tangent: I’m currently working on an AOpen DE box. It’s amazingly tiny, quiet, and fast (c2d) But, it’s not expandable, and it’s pricey vs desktop.
    §[<<]§ Here's a variety of other similar tiny PCs. §[<<]§

    • Prototyped
    • 12 years ago

    If FlexATX hasn’t taken off in eight years, why would one expect DTX to? FlexATX even had Intel’s clout behind it, and now even Intel doesn’t build FlexATX -[

    • Spotpuff
    • 12 years ago

    This is exciting. Shuttle has recently said they want to standardize their motherboards, chassis and PSUs so that they’re upgradeable, instead of having to buy a new system every time you want to upgrade.

    Hopefully AMD gets their act together so we can all have little cheap boxen around our house for various functions like HTPCs, internet terminals, etc.

      • Inkling
      • 12 years ago

      I agree completely.

      After building a family PC for the kitchen/dining area with a P-series Shuttle, I’m quite happy with SFF, and my next system is likely to be even smaller and quieter. It’s gotta be able to have some horsepower, so Mini-ITX is probably out, but I never expect to require SLI or Crossfire.

      While I like the looks (and in many cases the price) of the little HPs and other name-branded systems I see at CompUSA, Circuit City and other b&m stores, I’ll probably always want to put it together myself.

      So bring on the DTX options; I’ll be ready to build another in 6-8 months.

        • eitje
        • 12 years ago

        There are mITX boards that support the newer Intel procs, just FYI – you’re not permanently stuck w/ VIA’s onboard CPUs.

          • Spotpuff
          • 12 years ago

          mITX tends to be really pricey though right? Hopefully having larger volumes reduces costs.

          From the AMD press release there were several mentionings regarding cost which I’m not sure apply to mITX:


            • eitje
            • 12 years ago

            well, you can always reference the link in my post below (#16) for a cheap mITX solution.

            the reason VIAs are so expensive is because they’re made in low quantities with extremely specialized chips. if they could be made by a fab supergiant like Intel they’d be…. well, just take a look at the price on that link I mentioned. 😉

    • gaffo
    • 12 years ago

    Firstoff – since the early 90’s I’ve been wondering why only the PC grew BIGGER (where bigger was better and a huge loud pillbox in your home was a “Good thing”) over the years while EVERYTHING ELSE ELECTRONIC GOT A HELL OF ALOT SMALLER….and continues to do so.

    why? – this DTX is 10 yrs late to the party .. .its a start, but the start is getting starting MANY years later than it ever had a right/reason to.

    same issue with the noise problem over the years. Seemed i was the only man on the planet that hated loud boxs in 1995….others were like “huh”?… its the latest rage – quiet. finally!

    Maybe the PC will finally venture out of Mainframe envy one of these centuries.


    now for LOW PROFILE HIGH END CARDS!!…..fat/tall cards are not necessary!!!!!!1…….so offer an alternative card makers!!

    low profile and SFF GO IN PAIRS!!!…….we don’t HAVE to all have CUBES!! Some here would like small and slim thank you!

      • hans
      • 12 years ago

      Because my hands never got any smaller.

    • Norgs
    • 12 years ago

    Nice write up Scott.

    Whats the diff between this and the little cut down boards that oem’s are using?

    We use HP’s at work. The population at work has a choice of AMD or Intel, with the AMD being the budget option. I’m finding a lot of departments going with the Intel purely because the AMD is in a ATX case and the Intel is the SFF model from HP. Message…? They want smaller PC’s on their desks.

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      Then why don’t they get the USDT’s? 7 lbsg{<.<}g

    • nstuff
    • 12 years ago

    Sounds like AMD should also hook up with Microsoft and work out using this reference design for Windows Home Servers.

    Something like this that barely uses more electricity than a 60W light bulb would be perfect to be used for WHS. It would store all your data, auto-backup all your other PCs in the house, along with the other features WHS provides. Sounds like a match made in heaven. Hide it in the closet and forget about it. Integrate 802.11n and all you need is a power plug.

    If the internal drive isn’t enough, have some slick way to attach additional USB cabinets to the main chassis with standard 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives inside.

    If I could build a DTX box including the cost of WHS for ~$500… I’d bite.

      • Choralone42
      • 12 years ago

      You mean something along the lines of this…


      • Usacomp2k3
      • 12 years ago

      Yeah, the key problem would be the hard drive space. What would be awesome would be a case based on this 2-4 removable eSATA enclosures. That’d be awesome.

      What would make that amazing: Have a button on each bay that basically runs the Windows system call to eject the device, and then you can pull it out. WHS would be setup so it knows that drive X is going to be a removable backup, and so it copies all data to that drive. Then when X is removed and taken offsite, another drive Y is put into that space and then that data is kept up-to-date. All you have to do is alternate the 2 drives from being the offsite and the on-site.

    • flip-mode
    • 12 years ago

    Thanks a bunch for the write up Scott. I haven’t been as enthused about a PC product since dual core. I really want this to succeed. I’m very tired of big, heavy, gaudy computers. The micro-BTX machine I use at work is very powerful and all but inaudible a mere 18″ from my face. It hides beneath my monitor and gets stuff done all day long.


      • mortifiedPenguin
      • 12 years ago


    • SuperSpy
    • 12 years ago


      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      nope, mini-ITX is 17cm x 17cm.

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