Mini-DTX Hype Thread (ITX with two PCIe slots!) - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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Mini-DTX Hype Thread (ITX with two PCIe slots!)

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post #1 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I think it is time we make a push for some of the big names to develop proper Mini-DTX motherboards for today's processors and chipsets. SFF enthusiast computing continues to enjoy mainstream popularity, with all the major players having enthusiast ITX boards. I believe Mini-DTX is a natural progression, and a technical no-brainer for the likes of EVGA, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, Asrock and others.

What is Mini-DTX? (Click to show)

The DTX and Mini-DTX form factors were developed by AMD back in 2007 for SFF applications. It never took off, because SFF computing hadn't hit the limelight. ITX was still new, and only being heavily used by VIA, who developed it. While normal DTX has advantages as well, in this thread we are interested in the Mini-DTX form factor.

Mini-DTX can best be described as a Mini-ITX board with an extra expansion slot. It retains the same front-to-back thickness as a normal ITX board. The only dimensional change is the increased height for the extra expansion slot. With this extra space, a second PCIe x16 connector can be added.



What's the advantage over Mini-ITX? (Click to show)

With the ability to add an extra PCIe slot, the benefits to this form factor become apparent. Multi-GPU setups (SLI and Crossfire) are feasible for the first time in a truly SFF build. Additionally, combinations such as a GPU and dedicated sound card, RAID controller or PCIe SSD are made possible.

Where are the Mini-DTX cases? Why not just get a mATX board? (Click to show)

This is the best part: Any Mini-ITX case that has two PCIe slot covers (for dual-slot GPUs) already supports Mini-DTX! The required space for the dual-slot PCIe bracket and video card guarantees space for the motherboard that will extend out under the GPU. Even the tiny Silverstone SG05 supports a Mini-DTX board!

Micro ATX is significantly larger in both height and depth, and as such even the smallest mATX case is a great deal larger than a Mini-ITX case. Mini-DTX is an extension of the already popular Mini-ITX form factor, and uses most Mini-ITX cases.

But I like Mini-ITX! (Click to show)

Mini-ITX users need not worry. I believe that Mini-DTX and Mini-ITX can continue alongside each other. Even if the "Enthusiast" motherboards become Mini-DTX, the case compatibility between the two will allow the dimensions of cases to stay the same. A Mini-ITX user is free to ignore the extra expansion slot, just as cases have had two slot openings for years now. For applications that require even smaller footprints than the two-slot ITX cases we already have, Intel's NUC or the Gigabyte Brix are suitable.

I'd like to open this up as a discussion among all of us in the SFF community, and show the motherboard vendors that demand exists for these boards. There might be a trademark issue with using the name "Mini-DTX," in which case I'd call it "Extended ITX" or "ITX Plus." Some are just sold as mATX boards even though they only have two slots. Regardless, I think there are nothing but advantages to moving to this form factor. Motherboard vendors will enjoy the increase in board space for routing and placing components. Case manufacturers have nothing to change except the words on the box, stating support for Mini-DTX. (and many already list it) We, the enthusiasts and end users gain extra versatility without sacrificing case selection or desk space.

Why do we mount round fans on square radiators?


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post #2 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 08:04 AM
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SLI / CF? That would require single slot GPUs?

I don't see the point.

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post #3 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 08:05 AM
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I second this! Don't get me wrong, I love my Rampage IV Gene and 350D but I just want to move down to something smaller and still retain all of the enthusiast qualities that my RIVG has! biggrin.gif
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Originally Posted by Lass3 View Post

SLI / CF? That would require single slot GPUs?

I don't see the point.

The point is, is that you could have a pretty small case (lets say the new Phanteks Enthoo Evolv) that supports a TON of watercooling and other options but only supports m-ITX boards. That is why m-DTX would be great.
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post #4 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lass3 View Post

SLI / CF? That would require single slot GPUs?

I don't see the point.
Or watercooling. This build was quite inspirational:

Build log of "Unobtainable" - X79 and Crossfire in a white Bitfenix Prodigy

Of course, those with air cooled or dual-slot cards can safely ignore the extra slot.

Why do we mount round fans on square radiators?


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post #5 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lass3 View Post

SLI / CF? That would require single slot GPUs?
You can already use something like GTX 690 or Radeon R2 295x2 in an mITX case, though.
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Originally Posted by Lass3 View Post

I don't see the point.
Neither do I. Most mITX cases only have two PCI-E slot covers, which puts mDTX users in an awkward position.

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post #6 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 08:34 AM
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OHHHHHH Baby! Can we also try get some support for E-DTX on the x99 platform? wheee.gif

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post #7 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 08:35 AM
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TIL no one knows about single slot brackets for GPU's?

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post #8 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 09:21 AM
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Is there any news of any big manufacturers planning to make mini DTX boards?
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post #9 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetfeather View Post

OHHHHHH Baby! Can we also try get some support for E-DTX on the x99 platform? wheee.gif

As cool as it would be I just don't see that happening. Both Asus and EVGA have said that while it should technically be possible it would be cost-prohibitive considering how small a market that would be and the amount of work that would be needed to develop it.

Socket 2011 is huge and wouldn't leave much room on the board for everything else, even on mini-DTX. Here's a mockup I made a while ago that really shows this.


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post #10 of 982 (permalink) Old 09-28-2014, 09:52 AM
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This is interesting as DTX only has one full PCIe lane to accommodate a single GPU at this time leaving the Short PCIe for an expansion slot for a dedicated Audio card, SSD, or smaller Add-on card. Until AIB partners release a short PCIe GPU at this point the only Crossfire and SLI we will see will be through dual GPU cards such as the AMD 7990, R9 295X2, Nivida 690, Titan-Z, Asus Mars 760...

MATX all the way if CrossfireX or SLI in a SFF. Silverstone's SG09/10 is the most compact MATX case that can accommodate this setup to date. thumb.gif

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