Performance Analysis and Conclusion
In many business productivity, content creation applications and gaming scenarios, an overclocked Pentium M on a 533MHz system bus with DDR440 memory, is the fastest architecture Intel has on the market right now. In scenarios where multi-threading is employed the Pentium M has an obvious disadvantage versus a full fledged Pentium 4 with its internal Hyperthreading parallel processing. In terms of gaming performance, a 2.4 or 2.5GHz Pentium M on the DFI 855GME-MGF motherboard is in many cases the fastest Pentium based architecture on the market currently, even challenging an Athlon 64 4000+ in many cases.
We were impressed to say the least with the performance of the DFI 855GME-MGF in concert with a overclocked Pentium M processor. The board remained completely stable throughout all of our testing, although it was a bit finicky at first on which type of DDR DRAM we installed, when overclocking beyond DDR333 levels. Regardless, this motherboard and processor combination is hard to beat, in terms of its cool and quiet performance. Although we tested with a GeForce 6800GT so we could utilize some reference benchmark numbers we had on hand for comparison, when we installed an ATi Radeon X800 XT in the graphics slot, the test system was nearly silent. All told the combination was a joy to work with and this setup would make for an excellent LAN gaming rig or Home Theater PC.
In the first part of '05 it is rumored that Intel will be introducing a 533MHz FSB Pentium M processor, which should really help further extend Dothan's overall performance profile. Now, what we would really like to see is a Pentium M motherboard from DFI or others that is built on Intel's upcoming "Alviso" chipset which is essentially an i915P mobile solution. A 533MHz system bus Pentium M, coupled with 533MHz DDR2 DRAM and a PCI Express graphics slot, would smoke up the benchmarks in a big way for sure. Additionally, the scores we've seen here give us hope for the next revision of Intel's Prescott core, that is rumored to run a 1066MHz system bus and have 2MB of on chip L2 cache, just like Dothan.
For now however, we're content knowing what cool, low power, quiet computing can be found in this combination of the Pentium M and DFI's new little gem of a Micro ATX motherboard. Just give us those extra higher core voltage settings in the 855GME-MGF's BIOS and we'll be smiling HH style. We're giving the DFI 855GME-MGF a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 8.5.