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Can CPUs Make PCs Faster & Quieter?

Build 1: Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile Processor (T7600)

We chose a Core 2 Duo Mobile processor, the T7600, for our testing to observe what kinds of noise levels a desktop built around this type of processor would manifest. Asus deliberately designed this motherboard for use in low-power, low-noise applications, and our prior experience with this component showed it to be at least an adequate performer and indeed both quiet and with relatively modest power demands.

Asus N4L-VM DH


Intel 945 GM (MCH)


Intel ICH7-M (DH)

Voltage Regulator

Six Phases


AMI 0502 (04/03/2007)

266.7 MHz (FSB667)

266.7 MHz (+0.0%)Connectors and Interfaces


1x PCIe x16

1x PCIe x1

2x PCI

2x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)

1x COM

1x Printer

1x TV out

1x Floppy

1x Ultra ATA

4x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s

1x Front Panel Audio

1x S/P-DIF In/Out

1x IEEE-1394 FireWire

1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)

1x Fan 3 pins (Chassis)

1x Clear CMOS Jumper

IO panel

2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)

1x RJ-45 Network

4x USB 2.0

1x IEE1394a port

1x eSATA port

1x optical S/PDIF output

1x coaxial S/PDIF output

1x DVI-D

1x VGA Out

8x Analog Audio (7.1 Channel, Mic-In, Line-In)Mass Storage Controllers


2 x SATA 1.5 Gb/s (RAID 0,1,Matrix)

1x Ultra ATA-100 (2-drives)

JMicron SATA Controller

1x Internal SATA 3.0 GB/s (RAID 0,1)

1x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0,1)Network

GbE LAN controller

Intel 82573LAudio

HDA (Azalia) Controller Interface

Realtek ALC882M 7.1 CodecFireWire


2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mb/s)Graphics

Integrated graphics

Intel Graphics GMA 950Memory

Dual channel

2x 240-pin DIMM

Up to 2 GB of unbuffered 667/533 DDR2

The N4L-VM conforms to Intel ViiV specifications, which means it works especially well with Windows MCE and Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions. It’s built around the Intel 945GM and ICH7M-DH chipsets. Retail pricing on this motherboard runs from $100 to $145. Its built-in graphics would be okay for regular office applications, but for games or media, you’d want to follow our lead in this build and use a PCI-e x16 graphics card (we chose a passively cooled Gigabyte GeForce 8600 GTS model to bring graphics performance as high as possible).

T7600 System Hardware

Socket 479 Processor

Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile T7600

(Merom 65 nm, 2.33 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache)


Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-8500C5D

2x 1024 MB DDR2-1066 (CL 5.0-5-5-15)

Hard Drive

2x Seagate 7200.10 ST3320620AS 320 GB, 7,200 RPM, 16 MB Cache, SATA/300

Graphics Card

Gigabyte GV- NX86S256H GeForce 8600 GTS SilentPipe 3 - 256 MB

Power Supply

Corsair CMPSU-450VX 450W power supplySystem Software & Drivers


Windows XP Professional Media Center Edition 2005 Build 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2

DirectX Version

9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)

Platform Drivers

Intel Platform : INF

Graphics Driver

Forceware 162.18