Asus N4L-VM DH Core Duo Motherboard

Article Index

Cooling, Power Consumption, Overclocking

The bundled aluminum alloy cooler from Asus (which is quite small in comparison to the motherboard, as you can see below) is surprisingly effective at keeping the Intel Core Duo processor cool. At 2.0 GHz, our Core Duo CPU was kept at around 96ï¾°F with the fan running at full speed. By default, the motherboard's Q-Fan functions (thermal sensing and fan throttling) are disabled, so the fan runs at a brisk 3000 RPM by default. At this speed, the fan is audible, but certainly isn't what we would consider to be loud.  When Q-Fan is enabled, the fan speeds dropped to about 800 RPM, and at this point basically became inaudible. Not surprisingly though, our CPU temperatures rose with the decreased amount of airflow going through the cooler. Our temperatures rose to 108ï¾°F maximum, which is still far lower than Athlon64 X2 / Pentium-D based systems run at normally.

Power Consumption And Vital Stats
Mobile Chip Sips Power

 

The entire platform is extremely light when it comes to power consumption. When we tested the platform using the onboard Intel GMA950 video (no dedicated graphics card), our configuration (Core Duo T2500, 2 GB of RAM, Raptor 74GB hard drive), the system used only 68 Watts at idle. Of course, when idling, the Core Duo's Enhanced Speedstep functionality will kick in and clock the CPU down to 1.0 GHz in order to conserve energy. Still, when we kicked up the system to full load, the system still only was using 89 Watts of power. This platform is ridiculously efficient. Throwing in a GeForce 7900 GTX 512 MB graphics card and an Audigy card bumped up our power consumption levels to about 150W under full load. Forget 400W and 500W power supplies. With a Core Duo based system, you can get away with 250W power supplies and still have plenty of room for expansion.

 

Overclocking Tools
Left wanting more...

The BIOS of the Asus N4L-VM DH is surprisingly bare, considering Asus's motherboards are typically filled to the brim with tweaking and overclocking features. The board supports front side bus speed alterations, allowing for minor overclocking options. However, Asus forgot (or purposefully left out) the ability to modify CPU vCore, so overclockers will certainly be disappointed, as this greatly limits the overclocking potential of this platform. Heavy overclockers should look at AOpen's new 975X based Core Duo board as an option instead. The N4L-VM DH does, however, allow you to modify DDR2 voltages, and does provide the ability to manually control DDR2 timings. However, using these techniques, we were only able to get our Core Duo 2.0 GHz chip up to around 2.3 GHz. Hopefully Asus can add vCore support in a future BIOS update, but at this point, it's not a great board for tweakers.

 

Tags:  Asus, Core, Motherboard, duo, board, AR, VM

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