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Intel breathes life into mini-ITX form-factor with do-it-all mainboard

by Tarinder Sandhu on 6 March 2008, 15:19

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Intel officially announced the next iteration of midrange desktops chipsets this week.

The 4-series will arrive in the usual flavours - P for discrete graphics, Q for corporate and G for integrated graphics.

Each series is further subdivided in terms of speeds and features, so, for, example, there will be a G45, G43, and, most likely, G41.

Now, the G45, headlining the integrated graphics variant, has been displayed around CeBIT by all and sundry.

The blue giant is getting in on the act by releasing an Intel-branded motherboard based on its own chipset - who, after all, would be in a better position to leverage the design?

The clincher here is that the DG45FC - codenamed Flying Creek - is based on the mini-ITX form-factor, measuring just 17cm x 17cm.

The chipset supports dual-core and quad-core 45nm Intel processors - and the DX10-toting IGP currently scores around 1,100 marks in 3DMark06, making it useful for casual gaming.

Intel's newest IGP - the GMA X4500HD - also packs in the latest iteration of ClearView, adding hardware-accelerated support for displaying HD-encoded content.

Given the form-factor and options present on the IGP, we reckon that the DG45FC will make for a decent HTPC base.

Display outputs, too, are good - HDMI and DVI are integrated on the I/O section.

Due for release around the time of Computex (June 3-7), the IGP might just have proper DX10 support, via drivers, in time. As it stands, though, X4500HD is only half a DX10 solution.

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HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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I am so glad to see a small PCB with the possibility of providing what I need for a HD HTPC computer finally show up. It remains to be seen if Intel's DG45FC mini-ITX board will really be up to all the tasks required of a real HD HTPC, but I can always hope and wait for the results to dribble in from all of the game box new product test sites. The first thing I will look for is smooth and high picture quality decoding of Blu-ray files at a maximum system power of 50 watts or less. That way a hurricane won't be necessary to cool the box. Next, I will want to hear what the sound quality is like. Can you really build a decent HD HTPC without having a Sound Blaster in it? I don't care to have a TV tuner in my unit, so hopefully the only card slot I will need will be for 802.11n.

I know that Intel has never before offered a northbridge with anything close to what they are claiming
for the video decoding performance of the G45. Here's hoping they are up to the task and that their claims are not just more mega-company bull ****. I think it's worth mentioning that Intel's 45nm E8200 could play the pivotal roll in holding down system power to a level so that the TV stand won't get scorched.

It's sad to observe that even though AMD has just introduced their new 780G northbridge - which looks like a real nice candidate for an HS HTPS - you don't see them out pushing one of their motherboard partners to bring out a PCB smaller than an elmonzo grande micro ATX. What happened to the mini-DTX guys at AMD? Maybe they left with Henri Richard or Dave Orton?

Just one more thing in passing. If Intel really intends to sell a mini-ITX board in the developed world, I wonder if they have the moxie to comprehend just how absolutely ****ty one of those little mini-ITX boxes look with a humongous power blister hanging out of its ass.

Hexus, thanks so much for your coverage of CeBIT 2008 on Hexus.tv.
i've never seen anything like that before! that's brilliant! :D
about 4x the size of an Intel Stock heatsink! :D

HDMI and DVI.. not bad :P

how much do people expect this will sell for?
Well, this replaces in some way the D201GLY2 mobo that Intel made using an SIS chipset. Given that I would expect an approx £10 premium over the predecessor which sells for around £60, so expect £70 plus whatever addon retailers make cos they feel like it… £80 or higher? I am wondering when it will be out….
I'm more convinced by the AMD 780 solution for HTPC right now..
I'm more convinced by the AMD 780 solution for HTPC right now..

I would be too but for the fact its for AMD chips only :(

C2D is a gazillion times better than AMD's offerings!