Power, Acoustics and Conclusion
We’re not going to cover the prototype DTX small form factor system’s performance, because it’s powered by hardware that is available in the mainstream for which you have plenty of performance refernce points already here at HotHardware. In addition, the system is a prototype after all. What we can say having worked with the system for a couple of weeks is that it performed just like any other system equipped with a BE-2350 processor and 690G chipset. If you’d like to see some hard numbers, check out our evaluation of a similar setup in this article.
Power Consumption and Acoustics:
We also have a few notes regarding the system's power consumption and acoustic profile. At a 1-foot distance away from the system's CPU ventilation holes, it only registered 43dB on our digital sound level meter. From a few feet away, the system is audible, but it only puts out a slight whir from its fans and it is by no means obtrusive. The prototype DTX system's power consumption was similarly miniscule. While idling on a Windows desktop, the entire machine consumed only 45W and under full load that number jumped to only 84W. Basically, the whole machine consumed less power than some of today's entry-level graphics cards alone.
There are a large number of partners lining up behind AMD to promote the DTX standard, so there is a good chance that sometime next year DTX compliant components will hit store shelves. And we hope that happens sooner rather than later. We think the adoption of DTX holds a lot of promise. DTX systems aren’t going to be barn burners in terms of performance, but the idea of being able to use off the shelf parts in an array of different small form factor systems is quite appealing.
Say, for example, you own a current-generation SFF from Shuttle and its motherboard dies. As it stands today, you can only use a proprietary Shuttle motherboard as a replacement, and that’s only if it is available for sale separately. With a DTX system, at least in theory, you’ll be able to purchase any DTX compliant motherboard from your favorite vendor in that situation. SFF systems are already appealing, but we can’t help but think more do-it-yourselfers will be drawn to them if it’s going to be easier and potentially more affordable to obtain compatible parts.
The adoption of a standard set of specifications for small form factor systems is something that has to happen in our opinion. Large system builders may stick with their proprietary designs, but having industry standard SFF components would open up entirely new market opporunities for smaller companies, not to mention the obvious potential benefits of this open standard for consumers.