Gateway's Cool With New BTX PCs

Plans call for Gateway to unveil a refresh of its business desktop PCs Thursday--all of which are sold through the channel, said Marc Demars, director of product planning for business desktops at the Irvine, Calif.-based hardware vendor.

The top-of-the-line model, the E-6300, is based on the new BTX motherboards, whose design differs from that of the mainstream ATX-based models by maximizing air flow over the motherboard, allowing two fans to pull air across the components and eliminate noisy CPU and graphics card fans.

The E-6300 has two fans: one on front of the chassis and one on the rear. Both fans measure 120mm in diameter to move large volumes of air, but they operate at slower speeds than fans typically mounted on processors and graphics cards, which reduces PC noise, according to Demars. Since processor and graphics card fans tend to absorb a lot of heat from the attached components, eliminating those fans removes a potential source of failure, he said. The larger fans increase air flow around hard drives, optical drives and memory modules as well, which enables those components to run cooler and have longer life cycles, he added.

In addition, the memory modules in the E-6300 are mounted parallel to the air flow to facilitate the flow of air and cooling, unlike in previous motherboards where the modules block airflow, Demars said. Add-on cards are mounted in reverse compared with ATX motherboards to improve air flow and unblock a PCIx slot normally covered by the graphics card's processor and fan, he said.

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The E-6300, scheduled to ship next Monday at a price of $989, includes an Intel Pentium 4 HT processor, the Intel 915G chipset and an 80-Gbyte hard drive. The price is just $40 more than the company's new E-4300 desktop PC, which has an ATX motherboard, a 40-Gbyte hard drive, and a smaller chassis and power supply, Demars said, adding that the price was calculated to help solution providers offer a differentiated solution to customers.

"This is new technology, and it allows them to pull better margins," Demars said. Gateway offers a consumer BTX-based PC through its direct-sales program, he said.