DFI 852GME-MGF: Pentium M for the desktop masses
For the recent 4 months DFI 852GME-MGF has been already the third motherboard allowing to use Intel mobile processors in desktop systems. We believe it´s worth a closer look.
Like two previous products (AOpen I855GMEm-LFS and DFI 855GME-MGF), the board is designed for Micro ATX systems on 0.13µm (Banias) and 0.09µm (Dothan) Pentium M / Celeron M CPUs. Unlike senior siblings that have Intel 855GME Northbridges with Graphics Memory Controller Hubs (GMCH), 852GME-MGF bases on Intel 852GME GMCH that officially supports only Mobile Pentium 4. DFI engineers somehow made this chip work with Pentium M. As a result it obtained the bonus support of yet unannounced mobile CPUs with 533 MHz QPB:
Both DFI boards have server Intel 6300ESB (I/O Controller Hub, ICH) on ICH5 as Southbridge:
While AOpen I855GMEm-LFS utilizes ICH4-M of Intel 855GME kit:
These Southbridge differences specify market niches most suitable for AOpen and DFI boards. I855GMEm-LFS is good as a home or office work and entertainment solution, while 85xGME-MGF would be better in standalone network and comm systems.
But this separation is rather relative, touching just the primary features. But these boards offer rich additional functionality through discrete controllers:
852GME-MGF back panel interfaces:
- mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- DB-25 parallel port
- DB-9 serial port
- D-Sub (i852GME GMCH)
- IEEE1394 (VIA VT6307)
- RJ45 Gb LAN (Realtek RTL8110S)
- 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 (i6300ESB ICH)
- Mic-in, line-in and line-out (Realtek ALC655)
On the PCB you can see something like a two-phase voltage transducer. By the way, 85xGME-MGF PCBs are identical and have high-density Northbridge layout and just two memory sockets. On the one hand, it´s an overclocker product (still the board has 4-layer PCB and the only power socket is far from VRM), on the other it´s a server solution (with 2 memory sockets?). Seems like a new hybrid. DFI will surely love to add a couple of original features to its BIOS.
Furthermore, Socket 479 doesn´t have a traditional latch and the processor must be fixed with a screw. While AOpen boards have standard Socket 478 latches, DFI products offer something indescribable together with this little one:
Actually, considering the typical energy consumption of the latest Pentium M (21W), it will be enough. No worries about the performance due to Pentium III legacy Pentium M and Athlon 64 systems work at similar rate in non-bandwidth-critical tasks. All this promises nice prospects to such systems and makes them one of the best in performance / energy consumption (or noisiness) ratio. Still, for such exclusiveness you will have to pay $270-280 (in Japan).
According to the vendor, other features of DFI 852GME-MGF are:
- Supports Pentium M / Celeron M (mPGA479M)
- 400/533 MHz QPB
- PC1600 / PC2100 / PC2700 2.5 V unbuffered single-channel DDR SDRAM DIMM with ECC
- AGP 2.0 4x/2x, 1.5 V only
- 2 x PCI 2.2, PCI-X 2.2
- 2 x IDE, 2 x SATA (RAID 0/1)
- 20-pin ATX power socket
Not much, but perhaps new Intel Sonoma will improve the situation next month and we´ll see more feature-rich products for Pentium M that might even become base for some digital homes, who knows.
Sources: PC Watch, ACII24
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