Quick and Quiet: Pentium M Desktop Boards by AOpen and DFI

AOpen I855GMe-LFS

AOpen's board does not differ much from other Micro ATX solutions. The only obvious hint that this board is a bit different is the missing lever for locking the processor, which one normally finds on Socket 478 motherboards. Intel's 855GME chipset offers an AGP 4X port, two UltraATA/100 channels, four USB 2.0 ports, an AC97 2.1 sound system and two DDR333 memory sockets.

In addition to the standard chipset features, AOpen added two Gigabit Ethernet controllers, a FireWire controller by Agere and a Promise SATA RAID chip. A total of three PCI slots are ready to host additional hardware you may already have. AOpen's pin panel comes with colored sockets to distinguish between all the connectors easily. Finally, there is a piezo speaker, making the chassis' PC speaker obsolete.

The Northbridge heat sink has the shape of AOpen's company logo and looks pretty nice. We particularly liked the fact that there is no active fan for the chipset components, since the 855 usually does not get that hot even when overclocked.

AOpen placed two Gigabit Ethernet chips on this motherboard. Hence, the i855GMe-LFS can easily be used as a router.

The ICH4M Southbridge is a well-known fellow.

A set of standard cables including a space-saving ATA cable.

We liked the manual, too.

AOpen's box made a pretty professional impression.