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The world’s largest maker of mainboards ASUSTeK Computer announced on Thursday its adapter that allows installation of Intel Pentium M and Intel Celeron M processors originally developed for mobile computers into desktops. The move not only potentially allows creation of cool and silent computers, but also enables higher performance systems based on the Pentium M chips compared to those existing today.

Mainboard Maker Enable Intel Pentium M on Desktop Mainboards

ASUS Upgrade Kit CT-479 will allow installing Intel Pentium M and similar mobile chips into Socket 478 mainboards. The kit will be available as a standalone product bundled with a special cooler that is capable of cooling Intel Pentium M processors at up to 2.26GHz and Intel Celeron M processors at up to 1.70GHz frequencies. The adapter will not support Low Voltage or Ultra Low Voltage processors, but only typical versions of Intel’s mobile chips based on Banias or Dothan cores. It is unclear whether the CT-479 will allow overclocking. According an ASUS document, the cooler ASUS supplies has 3000rpm fan with maximum noise level of 30dB, which is rather a lot even for desktops.

ASUS advices to use mainboards qualified for operation with the adapter and Intel Pentium M or Celeron M microprocessors. Currently the list of such mainboards is limited to P4P800 SE and P4P800-VM products powered by Intel’s 865PE and 865G. Both mainboards offer PC3200 dual-channel memory configurations, something that is unavailable on rather exotic desktop mainboards designed for Intel Pentium M chips and based on Intel’s mobile logic, such as i855GME which has single-channel PC2700 memory controller that cannot supply data to the central processing unit fast enough to comfortably use demanding software.

Still despite of platform related advantages it is unclear how well Intel Pentium M will perform on desktop mainboards in desktop benchmarks.

Target Markets – from Style Admirer to Enthusiast Seeking for Upgrade

The idea to put Intel Pentium M – the chip originally designed for mobile computers – into desktops has been around for a quite while, as modern desktop processors, such as Intel Pentium 4, consume tremendous amount of power and require big and noisy cooling systems.

Nowadays there is a group of users who demand a lot of computing power at any cost and with any specifications – those buy Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition or AMD Athlon 64 FX processors that may cost from $700 to $1000 and require larger and louder cooling system, powerful PSUs, huge PC cases and so on. There is also a group of customers, who wish to have a small and stylish personal computer that may not be as fast as the most expensive boxes, but that would be trendy and miniature. Because of thermal and power consumption issues modern Intel Pentium 4 can hardly satisfy all the possible requirements of the second group at a reasonable price, which catalyzes installations of mobile chips into desktops.

But ASUS believes there is another group of users who would like to try Intel Pentium M in their desktops – enthusiasts seeking for upgrade. The company logically thinks there is no future for Intel’s Socket 478 processors, but there is definitely future for Intel’s mobile chips for Socket 479. Installing the latter into desktop mainboards may be a feasible upgrade, believes ASUS.

“There are few Socket 479 mainboards on the market which are very expensive and not enough feature-rich. The CT-479 enables users to avoid this costly solution: users may stick with their old motherboards and upgrade to a high-performance CPU. Nice side-benefit is a cool system,” an ASUS spokesperson told X-bit labs.

ASUS did not reveal any details about pricing and availability of the ASUS Upgrade Kit CT-479 kit.


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