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Maxsun Preps Alder Lake Mobile Mini-ITX Motherboard

Maxsun
(Image credit: Chiphell)

While Intel's 12th Generation Core 'Alder Lake' processors offer serious general-purpose performance with up to 16 cores, they lack one important feature that mobile CPUs offer: a high-performance integrated GPU. In a world where graphics cards tend to cost an arm and a leg, high-performance iGPUs make a lot of sense. The good news is that Maxsun is working on a Mini-ITX platform with a mobile Alder Lake CPU featuring a high-end Iris Xe iGPU. 

Maxsun's Meterstone Alder Lake H45 motherboard looks like an ordinary Mini-ITX platform with, two DDR4 or DDR5 memory slots for regular DIMMs, one PCIe x16 slot for graphics cards, two M.2-2280 slots for SSDs, two SATA connectors, I/O connectors, and standard ATX and EPS power connectors, according to a picture published at Chiphell (and found by @9550pro). Yet, the board (according to a reference just above the PCIe x16 slot) carries a soldered-down Intel i5-12500H Alder Lake-H processor with up to four high-performance Golden Cove cores, and eight energy-efficient Gracemont cores. According to Intel's Ark, this chip also provides an Iris Xe GPU featuring 80 execution units.  

At this point it is unclear which Alder Lake-H SKUs Maxsun plans to use as there are no legible markings on the CPU itself and so our assumption is made based on the reference just above the PCIe x16 slot). We also don't know when the product is set to become available or how much will it cost. Take the specs with a pinch of salt for now.

(Image credit: Chiphell)

Intel's Alder Lake-H CPUs are aimed at enthusiasts, and they feature a processor base power (PBP) of 45W, but can boost up to 95/115W depending on the SKU. So they need a rather sophisticated voltage regulator module as well as an advanced cooling system. To feed the processor, Maxsun installed a rather serious a seven-phase VRM with 50A DrMOS that delivers ~200W or more.  

With cooling, things may get slightly more complicated. While there are plenty of coolers for socketed Alder Lake processors, getting a higher-end cooler for a mobile CPU may not be easy. Last year Maxsun released an ATX desktop motherboard based on Intel's Mobile Tiger Lake-H processor and equipped it with a special heatsink that seems to mimic a desktop CPU integrated heat spreader (IHS) to make it compatible with widely available coolers. We do not see a heat spreader in the picture, and so we are probably not dealing with a final product.

Technically, the Meterstone Alder Lake H45 motherboard can also carry Alder Lake-Р processor, which is pin-to-pin compatible with H-series versions, yet as the name suggests it is designed for enthusiast-grade CPU parts. Intel's Alder Lake-P CPUs feature a PBP of 28W and a max turbo power of up to 64W, so while passive cooling is possible, it may not be the most optimal cooling method. Furthermore, boost clocks of Alder Lake-H CPUs are certainly what enthusiast want from a desktop PC, so it is unlikely that Maxsun will adopt Alder Lake-P silicon for this design. 

Maxsun may not be a household name, but this Chinese maker of motherboards, graphics cards, SSDs, and even memory modules tends to develop rather interesting products that can be acquired at AliExpress (opens in new tab) worldwide. Whether or not Maxsun's Meterstone Alder Lake H45 will be available from international retailers is something that remains to be seen, but at least products from the company are technically available outside of China.

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.