AOpen's XC Cube EY855-II mini-barebones system

(Pentium) Mmmmmm good

INTEL HAS BEEN HAVING an interesting time of it lately. Things were going well until Prescott came along with its mile-long pipeline, light-dimming power demands and silo-tall heatsinks. Since then, many have begun to wonder if Intel is really heading in the right direction with its desktop processor technology.

One reason that people started asking this question was Intel's "other" processor, the Pentium M. This chip could be described as Prescott's polar opposite, with extremely low power consumption, low cooling requirements and very impressive clock-for-clock performance. Some have even done the unthinkable, seriously considering a mobile chip for their desktop PC, of all things. Enough people have had this thought that more than one manufacturer has created a desktop motherboard for the Pentium M. The obvious question is: What's next?

A Pentium M cube, of course.

AOpen's XC Cube EY855-II is an attractive small form factor system with many of the common SFF features (USB 2.0 and Firewire, Gigabit Ethernet and an AGP slot) and at least one very uncommon feature: a 479-pin socket suitable for a Pentium M. But execution is everything, after all. Has AOpen put the right pieces around that nifty socket to create a worthwhile system? We'll soon find out.

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