Motherboard Details

As we had briefly mentioned earlier, all desktop Dothan/Banias motherboards are all derived from blade configurations. The key term used when describing a blade is density; things tend to be a little smaller, and cost generally takes a back seat to thermal reduction and size reduction. Like a Beowulf cluster, there isn't a lot of need for top of the line, best of breed components so long as the components used are reliable, cool and small. After all, what is a 10% dip in performance on one blade if you can double the number of blades that sit in the same rack?

All Pentium M blades run on Intel's notebook 855GME chipset. This chipset really doesn't differ from any other Dothan notebook chipset; DDR1, AGP/PCI, ICH5 and 400MHz front side bus. The 6300ESB southbridge provides a 64-bit PCI-X (not to be confused with PCI-Express) bus, which is generally dedicated to fiber optic networking.

For these sets of benchmarks, we selected the DFI 855GME-MFG motherboard but AOpen also sells a retail i855GME motherboard. Even though both motherboards come in MicroATX form factors and use relatively older bridges, these boards are very expensive - mostly due to the fact that they have no competition! At time of publication, our DFI 855GME-MFG cost a little over $250, which is a considerable amount to pay for a motherboard. On the other hand, if we buy a comparative top of the line Socket 775 motherboard, with all the trimmings, $250 isn't too much to spend.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

DFI and AOpen do not differ much in design of their desktop Dothan motherboards, but DFI's board has a few extra amenities. A Realtek gigabit Ethernet port, six-channel VIA audio and Winbond Firewire are also standard on this motherboard - although, we had difficulties getting SUSE 9.1 and the Realtek 8110S Ethernet to play well together due to driver conflicts. For the duration of the analysis, we used an Intel Pro/1000+ Ethernet controller, but that should not affect our benchmarks. Our motherboard only supports a 4X AGP bus, but as we have seen in dozens of benchmarks before, that should hardly affect video performance, if at all.

The Test A bit about Speed Step, Thermals, Power and Noise


View All Comments

  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    phaxmohdem: these were just linux tests, but i do believe we have all of those render benchmarks coming up in the Windows analysis.

  • overclockingoodness - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    #44: The results could be better on the Windows platform, as stated in the conclusion. Reply
  • sprockkets - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    If you want to see the clock speed dynamically adjusted just roll your mouse over the kpowersave daemon running in the tray (at least it works for me under SuSE 9.2). Even my little Via C3 800mhz system will scale from 399 to 800mhz depending on load. It may even work in 9.1 (the part I couldn't enable was the suspend options). Hell, SuSE even can make my Hitachi Desktar drive go quiet to performance mode right in the OS! Reply
  • formulav8 - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    As this article shows, alot of people way overhyped this chip. Yes its not bad, but not the P4 Killer that alot of people claimed.

    It is interesting but it doesn't look like Intel will make a Desktop chip based on this cpu yet in the near future. Dual cores would be very interesting though.


  • phaxmohdem - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    This chip seems to be a god-send for the corporate IT directors needing machines for their monkeys to do Word and Excel documents on. As for me though, I don't think I could purchase a chip that has as spuratic performance levels as this. I do so many different things on my box, especially in content creation, that I much prefer the consistant performance of my current Athlon64 proc. across all applications.

    Just a suggestion, I would love to see some Adobe benchmarks on these chips... After Effects render times, Premeire Render times, Photoshop performance, etc as these are all applications I use nearly daily. Thanks.
  • HardwareD00d - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    When someone does a full set of benchmarks of the Pentium M for all categories across the board vs A64 and P4, then I'll seriously consider if this chip is worth its salt. Until then, I am unconvinced that it is anything special. If it is so good, then why hasn't Intel made any attempt to push it as a desktop chip? Reply
  • segagenesis - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    It was looking pretty good until you mentioned the price :( Ouch. Reply
  • Ozenmacher - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    And go Vikings! Reply
  • Ozenmacher - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    Merry Christmas to you too! Reply
  • skunkbuster - Friday, December 24, 2004 - link

    merry christmas!


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