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AOpen, a well-known maker of mainboards and barebones and a subsidiary of Wistron Group, announced this week the world’s first small form-factor cube-like desktop barebone powered by Intel Pentium M processors, the chips originally developed for mobile applications.

AOpen’s EY855 XC Cube is based on Intel’s 855-series chipset and is intended for Intel Pentium M processors with up to 2.0GHz clock-speed and 400MHz Quad Pumped Bus. The barebone can install up to 2GB of PC2700 memory and operate almost without noise due to very low power consumption and heat dissipation of the main brain of the computer – the processor. The EY855 XC Cube supports a full range of expansion slots, such as AGP 4x and PCI slot, as well as interfaces including USB 2.0 and FireWire connectors.

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

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 are 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.

AOpen did not announce pricing and availability dates for the EY855 XC Cube.

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