Introducing the world’s smallest 8-core CPU motherboard

Introducing the world’s smallest 8-core CPU motherboard
Introducing the world’s smallest 8-core CPU motherboard
In recent weeks we have seen further confirmation of the spread of octa-core CPUs, thanks to the monthly Steam survey, and the first, encouraging field tests of the Comet Lake Refresh CPUs, which debuted on the market alongside the new family of Intel Rocket Lake processors. In the past few hours, another news affects the octa-core processor scene: Aaeon, a subsidiary of Asus and specialized in the creation of integrated and commercial systems, may have created the smallest motherboard with Comet Lake CPU support in the world. The company has posted a new single-board computer model from 8,9 cm which supports Intel’s Comet Lake processors.

The SBC is primarily designed for embedded applications. The Gene-CML5 subcompact motherboard made by Aaeon is based, depending on the SKU, on chipset Q470E/H420E/Q470 from Intel and is equipped with an LGA 1200 socket which can support various processors Comet Lake with two, four or eight cores and a TDP at 35W (so it is also compatible with a Core i7-10700TE clocked at 2.0 GHz ~ 4.40 GHz). The manufacturer has decided not to officially support 10-core CPUs, perhaps because the supplied cooling system may not properly handle the temperatures produced.

The motherboard is also equipped with two slots for DDR4-2933 memory, for up to 64GB; an M.2-2280 slot for a SSD with a PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA interface and also two SATA ports. The connectivity sector, on the other hand, is particularly rich: two GbE ports (managed by Intel controllers), three video outputs (one DisplayPort ++ with MST support, one D-Sub, one LVDS header), two USB 3. 2 Gen2 Type-A connectors, four USB 2.0 ports which use an onboard header, two internal RS-232/422/485 headers, an audio in / audio out jack header, and one PCIe 3.0 x4 via Flexible Printed Circuit interface (only on SKU Q470 / Q470E). Finally, since the Gen-CML5 motherboard is aimed at integrated and commercial applications, the motherboard is also equipped with a TPM module, a watchdog timer and other utilities.

Intel has designed its Comet Lake processors primarily for high-performance systems, we find these CPUs on desktops and notebooks for gaming as well, but the series has always included SKU-T for UCFF applications and low-power TE for integrated systems as well. Also noteworthy is the fact that Aaeon has not formally announced the new Gene-CML5, probably considered a motherboard and a niche solution. While the majority of commercial integrated solutions do not need to adopt octa-core CPUs, the new applications that are emerging could take advantage of the combination of performance offered by Intel’s Comet Lake CPUs and small size allowed by solutions such as Aaeon’s Gene-CML5.

With a little luck and some do-it-yourself dexterity, the Gene-CML5 could be used to build an ultra-compact desktop gaming PC. We’ll see if modders take this opportunity.

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