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AOpen i855GMEm-LFS Pentium M Motherboard
By CPU-zilla
Category : Mainboard
Published by Jimmy Tang on Thursday, 25th November, 2004
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

Pentium M for the Desktop

When Intel launched the Pentium M processor for the mobile platform, certain users were wondering if Intel would actually make the product available for the desktop platform. While the Pentium M processor does have remarkable power saving features, Intel never intended it for the desktop. This is because of the way Pentium M is designed, as it's optimized more for power consumption rather than performance. However, where power consumption is concerned, Intel also understand that if the processor took too long to complete a given task, total power consumption would still remain high. Thus, Intel took the pains to design the Pentium M architecture to ensure that it has good computing performance, yet maintaining low overall power consumption.

The strategies Intel took to design the Pentium M worked well and in fact, it was so good that notebooks started boasting record performance, as well as excellent battery life. The Pentium M was partly responsible for this and the popularity of the Intel Centrino Mobile Technology branding took off.

The Intel Pentium M 'Banias' processor with 1MB L2 cache.

Over at the desktop side, things were not that all rosy. Although Intel hoped that their 90nm process would do wonders for them, at least in terms of pushing the performance envelope, it did not. Instead, power consumption of Pentium 4 processors shot up to ridiculous levels, so much so that coolers got bigger, power supply requirements got higher and desktop PC noise levels became unbearable. We cannot point the finger at Intel's process technology alone, as the number of transistors found in a typical Pentium 4 processor has also increased. We know that power consumption is directly proportional to the number of transistors, clock frequency and the voltage at which the transistors operate. You can look at the relations here and you can easily conclude that it's not good news, more so for overclockers.

Due to heat and noise issues, enthusiasts have little option but to look at the types of hardware available on the mobile platform, and it was not difficult to see that the Pentium M is the processor of choice. Some enthusiasts have even benchmarked the processor using regular desktop components and have found it to be just as good as the Pentium 4, if not better. Thus, certain manufacturers (like AOpen) took the opportunity to introduce motherboards for the Pentium M and have met with pretty good success. However, due to the availability of the processor, such boards are only available in special markets like Japan. Still, it did not stop enthusiasts from getting their hands on these components, no matter what kind of price they have to pay. Simply put, power users just want a cool, quiet and powerful desktop system.

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