Asus N4L-VM DH - Core Duo for the Desktop Preview
The Heatsink and Final Thoughts
Since the Yonah processor is still not readily available in a retail form, Asus has included its own cooling solution with the N4L-VM DH motherboard. The heatsink is rather small, just like we saw with their 479-pin motherboard adaptor.
Asus N4L-VM DH on the left; standard AMD K8 on the right
The size difference here is pretty dramatic as you can no doubt tell and the weights are also disproportionate. The Intel heatsink reminds more of a 486-style device, which is good, as it means the system runs cooler.
Underneath the heatsink you can see there is a regular thermal pad surrounded by a pad that helps to keep the heatsink from tipping over on the core. The square keeps the heatsink level on the surface of the processor.
Here is the heatsink installed on the motherboard, though without a processor underneath. You can see that it doesn't dwarf the north bridge heatsink like you might expect it to.
Other than the heatsink, Asus included a pair of SATA cables, SATA power adaptors, an IDE and floppy ribbon cable, case back plate and USB/Firewire exapansion risers. Other goodies are optional from Asus including the DVI riser and TV output options I'll mention later.
While I don't have my Yonah processor yet, one will be here soon so you can expect a full barrage of benchmarks and testing to be done ASAP. So while I couldn't boot this baby up, there are some other bits of information I can provide based on the manual that was included.
One of the great uses for this board will be to build a quiet and speedy HTPC. Asus has included audio front panel connections on the board, in the lower left hand of the board under the last PCI slot to add easy access to audio and microphone connections for headphone-based gaming. There are also connections on the board for an audio riser that supports another SPDIF output and a SPDIF input. Finally, there is a connection for a TV output card that supports composite and S-Video output. How you can get a hold of these cards is up in there air as of now, but I'll bug Asus about for you!
Overclockers might be a bit disappointed to find that there doesn't appear to be a lot of tweaking options, at least according to the manual I have here. There looks to be CPU frequency support from 100 - 500 MHz and DDR2 voltage settings of 1.8v - 2.1v. Memory timings such as CAS latency, RAS to CAS and RAS Precharge can be modified as well. Other than that, BIOS tweaks include enabling or disabling Intel SpeedStep and C-State technologies as well as the other on-board features.
Not Quite Final Thoughts
The Asus N4L-VM DH motherboard is the first Yonah capable motherboard we have seen here at PC Perspective and we are incredibly excited to put it to the test. This board looks to fit perfectly for adventurous users that would like a quiet HTPC system as well as those looking for an alternative Intel option that is great on gaming and power.
I found four Yonah processors for sale on our Pricegrabber engine, including the T2600 (2.16 GHz), T2500 (2.0 GHz), T2400 (1.83 GHz) and T2300 (1.66 GHz), with prices ranging from $640 to $240. For the performance you can expect from these CPUs, these prices aren't too far out of line. We have a couple of these parts coming to us soon so you can expect detailed performance information very soon!
The boards aren't available yet, but Asus is telling us they should be readily available within the month!
Be sure to use our price checking engine to find the best prices on the Intel Core Duo processor, and anything else you may want to buy!