Small format PCs continue to have much appeal for all types of users, but obviously have their limitations. So far the mini-ITX format had been featured in such machines, but Intel engineers themselves took sleeve the NUC to give a return to those perfect desktop PCs for the living room.
Now the firm is going a step further with the creation of “5×5”, a new motherboard format that actually does not measure exactly that: its dimensions are 5.5 x 5.8 inches (140 x 147 mm), but offers more versatility and power options that Intel NUC, and more content than the devices in format size mini-ITX.
One of the fundamental differences with the NUC is that these chips are soldered to the board, while the 5×5 motherboards will have a perfect LGA socket to use all types of buses of Intel with TDPs that can go from 35 to the 65W. In addition we can also connect SATA 2.5-inch drives and even storage devices in M.2 format as the increasingly more attractive SSDs that take advantage of that slot that offers the benefits of PCIe 3.0.
The area of these motherboards is 29% lower than the Mini-ITX, which measured 170 x 170 MM, and the ability to leverage modern Intel processors as the current Broadwell or the most promising Skylake give users of this type of system a new alternative. Now they are missing boxes to appear compatible with this format, of course. Intel so far has not offered details on pricing and availability of these motherboards.