System board, memory and thermal solution
Looking under the hood of
the AOpen MiniPC MP945-VX; parts are well laid out given the small space. The
only fan in the entire system is embedded in one heatsink which cools both CPU
and chipset. The system is refreshingly free of wires. Since all the data I/O
goes through one card edge connector the system designers were able to do away
with most of the data and power cables typically found in a PC. Those data
cables clog up airflow, and make squeezing all this technology into a small
Air intake vents can be
seen along the entire edge of the chassis, where cool air
moves over internal components before the fan exhausts it from the enclosed case.
the AOpen MiniPC MP945-VX, a small 50mm squirrel cage fan draws in air
from around the chassis, blows it over the Core Duo T2400 processor and
Intel 945GM northbridge heatsink and out to the rear by way of a special duct (not shown).
The fan is quiet, and the computer is quiet as a result.
compound heatsink cools both CPU and Northbridge efficiently, and the single fan
operates very quietly. Thin strips of metal thermal interface material replace
silicon-based thermal compound which dry out over time. The proprietory copper
heatsink does not use a PWM fan, so there is no noise from it constantly
spinning up and then slowing down.
Seen here is the bottom
of the thermal solution as it is positioned over the processor (left) and
Intel 945GM chipset (right). Warm air is exhausted out
the rear vent plate, which looks large enough to be a PCI expansion slot, but
Core Duo T2400 socket M (478-pin) mobile processor. The Yonah
chip is physically different from its Core Duo desktop counterparts; it
more compact package, with pins. Conversely,
socket 479 Pentium M CPUs are not backwards compatible with this platform.
The AOpen MiniPC
MP945-VX supports socket M (478-pin) processors, it is not
compatible with desktop 478-pin processors (like the Pentium 4), or backwards compatible with mobile socket 479 either. Confused? Don't
remember that socket M (478-pin) Intel Core Solo mobile, or Core Duo Mobile processors
are what make this system tick. The CPU installs into this socket (labeled socket 478MT), and the small
screw is turned 90 degrees to lock the processor pins in place. Up next, a quick
look at some of the internal peripherals installed into the AOpen MiniPC
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