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Intel Core Duo on the Desktop - Asus N4L-VM DH Review

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Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel
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Introduction and Specifications

Introduction


When it first made its debut, the Intel Core Duo processor made quite an impression on the mobile market.  Increasing performance considerably with a second core while maintaining a consistent thermal pattern and power consumption meant that for the first time mobile users arguably could get the best of both worlds.  Notebook users rejoiced, though the product took a while to arrive in mass quantities on the market, and Intel has a significant lead in the mobile segment once again.


On the desktop side, Intel hasn't been nearly as aggressive or competitive.  No one in the enthusiast segments should argue the fact that AMD's K8 architecture and its migration to dual core with the X2 line up has a significant lead over Intel's Pentium dual core processors in nearly all respects.  The Athlon X2 is faster in games, most encoding applications, and office applications (where any difference is noticeable, at least) and can do with less power draw and lower temperatures.  The Pentium D and Pentium XE lineup, based off the now cancelled and decried NetBurst architecture, can't keep up with AMD's pace. 


This might all be changing very soon as Intel readies Conroe and Merom codenamed processors, based on an even newer architecture dubbed 'Core'.  Until then though, Intel is left behind in the desktop segment for gamers and enthusiasts.  Or are they?  There have been several boards released in the last couple of weeks that offer the user the ability to couple a mobile Core Duo processor with their desktop components in order to build a system around Intel's better performing, lower power consuming processor.  Secretly we know that Intel's wants these boards out in the market — with them they can show that the future Conroe core CPU's, an improvement over even Core Duo, will really shine against AMD's Athlon lineup. 


One of these boards to bring this offering to the enthusiast is the Asus NFL-VM DH motherboard.  Sporting the Intel 945GM chipset and 478-pin processor socket, it offers users a choice of a nearly-silent PC or HTPC using Intel components.


Asus N4L-VM DH Specifications (from Asus.com)


































































CPU

Socket 479 for Intel® Core™ Duo and Core™ Solo processor
* Intel ViiV™ Technology requires Intel® Core™ Duo processor*

Chipset

Intel 945GM
Intel ICH7-M DH

Front Side Bus

667/533 MHz

Memory

Dual Channel Architecture
2 x 240-pin DIMM sockets support max. 2GB DDR2 667 / 533, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
* Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for "Memory QVL (Qualify Vendor List)

Expansion Slots

1 x PCI-E x 16
1 x PCI-E x 1
2 x PCI

VGA

Integrated Graphics (Intel Graphics GMA 950)

Storage/RAID

Intel® ICH7-M DH South Bridge:
- 1 x UltraDMA 100/66/33
- 2 x Serial ATA support RAID 0, 1, and Intel® Matrix Storage Technology

Jmicron SATA controller:
- 1 x Internal Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
- 1 x External Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s (SATA On-the-Go)
- Support RAID 0, 1

Audio

Realtek ALC 882M, 8-ch High Definition Audio CODEC
Jack-Sensing & Enumeration
Multi-Streaming

Dolby Master Studio
Dolby Prologic IIX
Dolby Headphone
Dolby Virtual Speaker
Dolby Digital Live

LAN

Intel 82573L Gb Ethernet (Vidalia)

IEEE 1394

TI 1394a controller supports:
- 2 x IEEE 1394a @ 400 Mbps speed

USB

Max. 8 USB2.0 ports

Special Features

ASUS C.P.R.
ASUS MyLogo
ASUS Q-Fan
ASUS EZ Flash
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2

Back Panel I/O Ports

1 x VGA port
4 x USB
1 x IEEE1394a
1 x External SATA
1 x RJ45
1 x PS/2 Keyboard + 1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF out
1 x 8-Channel Audio I/O

Internal I/O Connectors

2 x USB connector supports additional 4 USB ports
1 x IEEE 1394a connector
1 x COM connector
1 x Printer connector
1 x TV out connector
1 x S/PDIF in/out connector
1 x CPU / 1 x Chassis Fan connectors
1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
1 x Game / MIDI connector
Azalia Front Panel Audio connector
CD audio in
System panel connector
24-pin ATX Power connector
4-pin ATX 12V Power connector

BIOS

8 Mb Flash ROM, AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI, WfM2.0, ACPI 2.0a, SM BIOS 2.3, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2, EZ Flash, Intel Quick Resume

Manageability

WOR by Ring, WOL/WOR by PME, WO USB, WO KB/MS, PXE

Accessories

User's manual
1 x UltraDMA cable
1 x FDD cable
2 x SATA cables
1 x SATA power cable
1 x USB 2.0 cable
1 x IEEE1394 port module
1 x CPU Fan Heatsink
1 x I/O shield
InterVideo® WinDVD Suite (OEM version)

Support CD

Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
Anti-Virus Software
ASUS LiveUpdate
Intervideo WinDVD Suite

Form Factor

mATX, 9.6"x 9.6"(24.5cm x 24.5cm)


Intel Core Duo T2600 Specifications



  • 478-pin socket

  • Dual core

  • 2.167 GHz

  • 667 MHz FSB

  • 1.25-1.40v

  • L1 Cache: 32KB+32KB

  • L2 Cache: 2 x 1MB

  • 65nm process

  • No HyperThreading

  • No 64-bit support
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