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It's about time for me to upgrade my desktop and finally move into the world of true multi-core computing (the Pentium 4 with Hyperthreading I have now just isn't cutting it anymore).

The motherboard I have won't support newer CPUs (although it uses the LGA 775 "Socket T," the BIOS doesn't support true multi-core CPUs), so I need a new motherboard along with a new CPU.

Problem is, I've got a Dell XPS 400 which uses the BTX form-factor. So the more common ATX form-factor motherboards won't fit at all.

I've been having a heck of a time finding ANY BTX form-factor motherboards that support "modern" CPUs (e.g., Core 2 Duo, or AMD's dual-core CPUs). And when I do find something that looks like it might work, it turns out to be either:

  • Incredibly expensive
  • Made for super-small, ultra-quiet PCs rather than just a normal desktop

Or, more commonly, both.

So my question then is: is the BTX form-factor basically a dead-end? Should I give up on trying to find a motherboard that will fit into my case, and just go with a barebones kit or something? I'm trying to recycle as many parts as I can for my upgrade (keep the cost down), and I'd rather not have to buy a whole new case/power supply/etc.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Upgrade to a newer case. Cases are usually sub $100.

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Seconded. :) ATX standard looks set to stay, despite BTX having a better layout IMO. – caliban Sep 4 '09 at 16:08
Yes, please upgrade your case based on your computer. Don't upgrade your computer based on your case. In the end you spend a lot more on the computer end. – Will Eddins Sep 4 '09 at 16:18
I was afraid you'd say that - but not totally surprised by it, either. Ah well, I guess the argument has been made - ATX it is! – Keithius Sep 4 '09 at 16:22

There are MANY options of BTX motherboards on Amazon. Pick one.

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Most of those use one of the Intel chipsets that doesn't support SMP (multi-core) CPUs, e.g., 955X, 545G, 915G. Of them all, only the ones based on the G965 chipset will support multi-core CPUs... and all of those are mini-motherboards (only 1 or 2 expansion slots). – Keithius Sep 4 '09 at 16:02

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