Intel D945GCLF m-ITX: Atom For The Desktop

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Intel D945GCLF: Atom For The Desktop

September 4, 2008 by Lawrence Lee

Product Intel D945GCLF
Intel CPU/Motherboard
Manufacturer Intel
Street Price US$70~80

The release of the original Asus EEE PC popularized the sub-notebook market almost over night. Asus' success spurred their competitors into making similar products, such as the MSI Wind and Acer Aspire One. The Asus EEE has grown into an entire line including updated, larger portable computers, and mini-desktops systems as well. To keep power consumption, heat, and cost at a minimum, all of these new products utilize Intel's Atom processor. As SPCR's editor Mike Chin reported from the Intel Developers Forum last month, Intel says there are more than 700 projects involving the Atom.

Atom is an extremely efficient, low-power chip that Intel hopes will find its way into not just netbooks, but any small portable device which requires a fair amount of CPU power. In Atom, Intel has created their smallest, and in some ways, their most technologically advanced chip using a 45nm fabrication process. On paper, it resembles the early Pentium 4 somewhat in that it is a single core processor with a relatively low clock speed, 512KB of L2 cache, a 533Mhz front side bus, and hyperthreading. Unlike the Pentium 4, which turned into a hot, inefficient beast in the middle of its life cycle, desktop versions of Atom have a TDP of only 4W, which is very low, indeed.

Low power processors have traditionally been much valued in the mini-ITX market, where products are often embedded and sealed in kiosks, PoS displays and other specialized applications where cooling, access and AC power may be limited. Atom is an excellent candidate for such applications.

Intel's Celeron-based D201GLY2 was a milestone for the form factor when it was released a year ago. For the first time a mini-ITX motherboard with an embedded processor was widely available at a very affordable price. It was also Intel's first mini-ITX board. While the D201GLY2 utilized a SiS chipset to power the board, the D945GCLF being examined here is an all-Intel solution utilizing a 1.6Ghz Atom 230 processor and Intel's GMA 950 integrated graphics in the 945GC chipset.


The D945GCLF box is small, not much larger than the packaging for Intel's processors. The box is shaded in classic Intel blue.



In keeping with the board's compact size, the accessories are kept to a minimum.


Intel D945GCLF: Specifications (from the product web page)
Form factor
Mini-ITX / micro-ATX compatible (6.75 inches by 6.75 inches [171.45 millimeters by 171.45 millimeters])
Processor Integrated Intel® Atom™ processor 230 with a 533 MHz system bus
Memory * One 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM Dual Inline Memory Module (DIMM) sockets
* Support for DDR2 533 / 667 MHz DIMMs
* Support for up to 2 GBS of system memory
Chipset * Intel® 945GC and ICH7
Audio Intel® High Definition Audio in the following configuration:
* Realtek ALC662 audio code (2+2 channel HD audio)
Video Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950
I/O control SMSC* LPC47M997 based Legacy I/O controller for serial, parallel, and PS/2* ports
LAN support 10/100 Mbits/sec LAN subsystem using the Realtek LAN adapter device
Peripheral interfaces * Six USB 2.0 ports
* Two SATA ports (3.0 GB/s)
* One parallel ATA IDE interface with UDMA 33, ATA-66/100 support
* One serial port
* One parallel port
* PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports
Expansion capabilities One PCI Conventional* bus connector


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