Dell executives, speaking Wednesday to analysts and reporters here, declined to be more specific about the date, but said the design makes sense as processors and other components become smaller and more powerful, and would enable Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, to continue offering industry-standard technology, both in the chassis and the components it holds.
It also would open up a possible avenue for more services revenue as customers migrate off the current ATX design to the new BTX configuration, said Alex Gruzen, senior vice president of Dells Product Group.
"Its safe to say its coming later in the year," said John Medica, another senior vice president of Dells Product Group.
BTX and other designs are slowly beginning to replace the ATX design, which has essentially been the standard for more than a decade.
BTX—or Balanced Technology Extended—puts the hottest components, such as the processor, chip sets and graphics controllers, in the center of the PC chassis, where they are cooled by a front-to-back airflow driven by a larger, slower-moving fan than in the ATX chassis.
The more air moving over these components reduces the need for smaller fans, which leads to PCs that are smaller, cooler, quieter and more energy-efficient than those based on the ATX design.
Those issues are becoming more prominent as processors continue to offer more power in smaller packages, and as chip makers like Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. unveil dual-core desktop chips later this year and continue to move from 90-nanometer to 65-nanometer chip manufacturing processes.
IBM and Gateway Inc. already offer desktops using the BTX chassis. Others, such as MPC Computers LLC, are planning to roll out the BTX designs.
Hewlett-Packard Co. officials have said they have no immediate plans to adopt the BTX chassis, since their own small-form-factor configuration gives users the same thermal and acoustic benefits.