New Life For Socket 478?

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There’s been more than a little interest in turning Intel’s notebook chip; the Pentium M, into a desktop CPU.

Unfortunately, though Intel has talked about this, they really haven’t done anything to make this happen. Yes, it’s doable, but up to now, your only option has been to buy one of a few rebadged notebook mobos, pay notebook-like prices for the mobo, and end up with just notebook-like features for all your money.

Perhaps Intel has been dragging its feet on this because a Dothan desktop might be a little too competitive against its fire-breathing degenerate descendant Prescott, either for new computers, or even worse from Intel’s perspective, as an upgrade to keep people from buying new computers. After all, there are loads of socket 478 systems out there, surely it wouldn’t be too hard to adapt a socket 479 CPU to it.

Well, here comes Asus with the CT-479.

Most of the niggling details, like price and precise capabilities, are missing, but at the least, this thing is supposed to work on at least some 865 boards.

Of course, working doesn’t necessarily mean working well. We don’t know, for instance, what happens when you plug a 100/133 Dothan into a 200MHz mobo. Will it only work if you can set the FSB to sub-200MHz levels? Can you (or it) somehow lower the multiplier on a Speedstep chip so it could run at say, 11X or 12X200?

For people with older machines, will this work with pre-865 boards?

If the answer to all these questions is “No,” the usefulness of this little device will be limited. The CT-479 will also come with a fairly noisy cooler, which would rather defeat the purpose of putting a Dothan into a PIV box in the first place for quiet-seekers. Sure, you can toss it, but it would be better to have the option of passing on the cooler.

Then again, even if that’s so, the CT-479 doesn’t look like a terribly complicated device; others may jump into this game in the months ahead.

Yes, even if the answer to all these questions is “Yes,” and it’s cheap to boot, a cranked-up Dothan will come in a decidedly dismal second to a revved-up E stepping socket 939 Hammer.

But different people have different agendas, and this could end up being right up quite a few people’s (or their Joe Sixpack associates) alley as an ideal upgrade to tide them over a year or two.

Ed

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