Pentium M for the Desktop: AOpen i855GMEm-LFS & DFI 855GME-MGF

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Click for large image of DFI 855GME-MGF.

DFI's entry into is also a full featured Micro-ATX board, although its industrial roots are more evident.

The obvious difference between the boards is the small Northbridge-esque HSF that DFI provides for the CPU. CCertainly a 20W CPU won't require much in the way of cooling horsepower, and DFI has chosen to embrace the "smaller is better" school of heatsink design with this board. The 2" x 2" square aluminum finned heatsink appears to be lifted from a standard northbridge chip, even down to the cheesy looking NMB 1604KL-04W-B49 40mm x 10mm cooling fan.

The heatsink is attached to with four spring-loaded screws that bolt through the motherboard to a metal support on the back side. It's an easy and safe way to mount a HS on the unprotected Pentium M.

DFI heatsink sure is tiny. Retention bracket goes underneath board.

Underside of CPU heatsink shows its Northbridge lineage.

The CPU socket on the DFI board is the exact same low-profile version found on the AOpen board. There are a couple of caps and some other PCB components close to the socket, which limits the size of any third-party heatsink to replace the tiny stock cooler.

Low profile mPGA479 ZIF socket locks/unlocks with a 180° twist of the slotted screw.

The DFI board runs the same 855G MCH chipset as the AOpen board and so includes the same default features such as the 4x AGP slot, integrated Extreme Graphics 2, 400MHz FSB (although DFI recently released a new BIOS that gives 533MHz support), and 2 x 333MHz DIMM slots. The chipset is passively cooled with an aluminum heatsink that looks like a near twin of the processor heatsink, sans fan.

DFI's NB heatsink looks less exotic than AOpen's, but still gets the job done.

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