At CES 2007, AMD announced a plan to standardize the motherboard, chassis and basic components for those popular "small-form-factor" PCs. The goal of its new DTX standard is to help component and system makers focus on common layouts for motherboard inputs, mounting holes and other design elements to encourage more companies to carry Shuttle-style and even smaller PCs. Motherboard manufacturers Asus and MSI have already committed to producing DTX hardware, and AMD expects to send a reference design to system builders some time this quarter.
If you recall Intel's BTX initiative, you'll remember that it was designed largely to deal with the massive amount of heat generated by Intel's Pentium D processors. But AMD's DTX standard, which will be open to processors from any manufacturer, is more of an attempt to push broader adoption of the smaller PCs that consumers seem to want. Both Intel's and AMD's chips have either reduced their power consumption or have special low-power versions of their processors that have been primed for new system designs, but the infrastructure for developing new types of affordable PCs on a mass scale hasn't really been in place thus far. The DTX initiative is an attempt by AMD to alleviate that problem.