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Asus' CT-479 Pentium M socket adapter

Socket 478++

Manufacturer Asus
Model CT-479
Price (street)
Availability Now

BY NOW, YOU'VE PROBABLY NOTICED that Intel's Pentium M is gaining attention as a desktop processor, both in desktop motherboards and even in small form factor systems. One problem, however, has been the accompanying laptop chipset, which means greater expense as well as lesser performance relative to other desktop solutions.

Asus has decided to do something about that requirement in rather inventive fashion. The CT-479 is an adapter card that plugs into the processor socket of certain Asus Socket 478 motherboards and converts them to a Socket 479 configuration capable of accepting a Pentium M. This adapter neatly solves both the price and performance issues, the latter by supplying a dual-channel memory configuration unavailable in the Intel 855GME laptop chipset.

How well does the CT-479 adapt the Pentium M for desktop use? We're about to find out.

A look at the CT-479
Asus sells the CT-479 separately, allowing you to choose the motherboard for yourself. A list of the motherboards currently supported can be found here. Since support for the CT-479 requires a BIOS upgrade, it's unlikely that you'll be seeing CT-479 support on any non-Asus motherboards in the future.

The BIOS upgrade could prove to be an interesting problem. If your board doesn't have a recent BIOS version, you will likely need a Socket 478 CPU long enough to update the BIOS.

Here is a view of the bottom of the CT-479 board. There's not much to see here except 478 pins. (Uhh, yeah, I counted them...) The board itself is pretty small, since it has to fit inside the Socket 478 heatsink retention bracket and can't protrude past the arm on the motherboard socket.

The view from the top is a little more interesting. In addition to the laptop socket, there is a floppy-style power connector for the circuitry on the board, as well as jumpers to choose between a 400MHz and 533MHz front-side bus. The kit includes a Molex to floppy adapter cable as well.

The CT-479 also comes with its own heatsink. It's considerably lighter and smaller than most Northwood coolers, let alone the gargantuan Prescott models. The cut-out allows space for the jumpers and power connector on the CT-479.

Installing the CT-479 is a piece of cake. Lift up the arm on the motherboard's socket, and the CT-479 just drops right in:

I left the arm up to give you a better idea how the board fits into the confines of the socket area. Once you've lowered the arm, you'll need to install a Pentium M or Celeron M processor into the CT-479 socket, and then install the heatsink.

Here's the finished install. The heatsink clamps hook into the same holes used by a Socket 478 heatsink.