Shuttle announced the unveiling of a great innovation in the world of notebooks at CES. An attempt, and not the first, to standardise motherboards for laptops, with the goal of helping small OEMs and motherboard stockists to put their own solutions into place. Shuttle has come up with the SPA (Shuttle PCB Assembly) for 13-inch to 17-inch laptops while Micro SPA has been designed for 10-inch to 15-inch machines.
Shuttle were showing examples of motherboards in this format in both AMD and Intel versions, with IGPs or entry-level GPUs. Here is an example of an SPA format card then a Micro SPA:
The connectors are in exactly the same place in each series, as is the cooling system that has also been standardised although there are several versions depending on whether there’s a GPU or not. Shuttle do not expect end users to be able to buy these motherboards directly and update their machines themselves. They do however hope that SPA system stockists will offer to put updates into place with a new cooling system where necessary.
Shuttle tell us that they have already received numerous orders and that they will be beginning deliveries shortly. It remains to be seen if there will be any attempt to redesign notebooks as this technology would be worthwhile if you want to conserve a quality shell but much less so for a standard entry-level cheapo plastic shell that quickly shows wear and tear. Otherwise the technology will no doubt only be useful to a handful of stockists.