Last month, we brought you pictures of a processor based on Intel's next-generation Nehalem architecture and a matching workstation motherboard. Workstation mobos are nice, of course, but we're probably all a little more curious to see how Nehalem desktop motherboards will end up looking.
The folks at VR-Zone have come upon pictures snagged by members of the Chinese ChipHell forums of just such a board, and they've posted the photos here for all to see. The board bears Intel Desktop Board branding, and judging by its two PCI Express x16 slots and Molex power connector near the slot array, it seems to be a prototype of a high-end product. The layout is the interesting part: four memory slots sit at the top of the board right under the CPU socket—a clear indication that the board is designed for Nehalem's integrated memory controller—while the I/O hub and south bridge sit facing each other on the right edge of the board.
The CPU socket is interesting, too. Unlike AMD's AM2 and F sockets, the bottom isn't entirely filled with pins or contacts. Instead, the socket has a gap in the middle just like its LGA775 predecessors, although it admittedly looks like it has smaller contacts and a larger footprint. Intel has also replaced the LGA775 retention mechanism with a tougher-looking one held in place by four Torx screws and a metal plate at the back. The heatsink mounting holes look the same as those on LGA775 boards, however.
According to Intel, the first Nehalem processors and motherboards should hit production in the fourth quarter of this year. For more details about Nehalem, make sure you check our coverage of Pat Gelsinger's press briefing from earlier this week.