The Test System
Motherboard: MSI Fuzzy GM965
Although it comes in an extremely condensed MiniITX format, MSI's Fuzzy GM965 is exactly what were looking for to compare mobile CPUs to desktop CPUs. It is based on Socket 479 with the latest Intel GM965 chipset, plus the ICH8M Southbridge for mobile use. The board has two DDR2 memory sockets to support dual-channel RAM operation despite the compact product dimensions. There is a x16 PCI Express slot and an additional 32-bit PCI slot. There are two SATA/300 ports and an UltraATA/66 channel, of which one of the two ports is routed to a Compact Flash interface on the bottom of the motherboard (see photos below). This can be used to run the operating system off a CF memory card, which are currently available in capacities of up to 16 GB.
The MiniITX board comes with dual Gigabit Ethernet ports powered by Intel components. Four USB 2.0 ports are available directly on the back panel, with four more accessed through onboard USB headers, and the HD audio sound system is no different from what we typically find on fully-featured desktop motherboards. There are PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors, a serial port and a 15-pin D-SUB connector that outputs graphics from the integrated Intel GMA X3100 unit. The GMA chip is sufficient for 2D display and video playback, but won't do any good for gaming. Though these aren't routed to the back panel and the appropriate cables aren't included with the product, the board does have a LVDS and a HDTV output as well.
The chipset's maximum RAM speed is DDR2-667, which is how we benchmarked the Core 2 Duo processors.