Intel planning Atom based Mini-ITX
March 06, 2008

Gigabyte's Intel Atom Mini-ITX board

Intel are planning to put their new Atom processor into at least two new low cost Mini-ITX boards later this year.

The design, code named "Little Falls" is the first Intel-designed board to include a full Intel chipset, the tried and tested 945GC and ICH7 combination. Last year's initial foray into Mini-ITX ("Little Valley") used a chipset from SiS.

The Atom brand incorporates the 45nm CPUs previously codenamed Silverthorne (slower, very low power consumption) and the tweaked and Silverthorne-derived Diamondville (faster, slightly higher power consumption). A dual core Diamondville is due in Q3 this year - this will be incorporated into "Little Falls 2", a few months after the first board.

Modelling for us today is a Little Falls board from Gigabyte, which looks like it may have the following specifications: 1.87GHz Atom CPU with 533MHz FSB and 512MB L2 Cache; Intel 945GC+ICH7 Chipset; GMA950 Intel Integrated Graphics; 1x DDR2 800 slot supporting up to 2GB; 1x PCI; 4x USB 2.0; 1x IDE; 2x SATA; PS/2 Keyboard+Mouse; VGA; LAN; Serial; Parallel; 3x Audio. Other boards are likely from Intel, and possibly Asustek and MSI.

Two quirks from Little Valley appear to remain with Little Falls. The board has a 12V P4 power connector (most Mini-ITX cases do not - including an adapter cable with the board would resolve this). But more importantly the CPU heatsink is taller than the backplate - severely limiting the choice of low-profile Mini-ITX cases available to it.

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