Intel has finally started its move away form Netburst, and we must say it's about time. While reasonable when it was up against the Athlon XP range of processors, AMD64 has changed the performance figures, and Intel's vain attempts to squeeze every last drop of performance out of an architecture that shows more when clocked higher than additional feature sets has begun to show its weaknesses.
Its now the dawn of the "Core" era for Intel with Core Duo and Core Solo for notebook and Core2 Duo and Core2 Extreme (formerly known as Conroe) for the desktops due to launch very soon - Netburst has been gives its final marching orders.
With the Core series of processors from Intel, we are now beginning to witness the full on flood for Digital Home or what Intel calls its "ViiV" package. ViiV is actually a collection of technologies, just like Centrino was. For ViiV certification, a motherboard manufacturer must use a certain combination of CPU support and chipset and network features. These include the following requirements:
1 - Dual Core support: Either a Pentium-D, Pentium Extreme Edition or Core Duo CPU
2 - Intel Chipset with DH Technology: Either an Intel I945, I955X, I975X Northbridge Chipset and either the ICH7-DH or the ICH7-MDH
3 - Networking Support: Either a Intel Pro100 or Intel Pro1000 Series Network controller
These three features make up the ViiV requirements.
Today we are taking a look at our first ViiV based motherboard from ASUS, the N4L-VM DH, and we will take a look at its features and then compare it to an Intel Netburst based system just to see how well these new technologies can handle the burden of the digital home era.
We like the idea of Intel using lower power consumption mobile parts on a desktop motherboard. It's our first Mobile on Desktop motherboard to hit our labs, so let's get started!