Intel Prepping 5×5 Mini PC with LGA Socket
Samuel Wan / 1 year ago
Users have long been chiming for a smaller form factor smaller than the current mini-ITX. Intel does have the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) and other vendors have their solutions. Most of these are quite limited in upgradeability and tend to have few if any expansion slots, limiting functionality. In response to this Intel is launching an all new form factor, dubbed “5×5”.
Revealed at IDF, the 5×5 will measure 140mm x 148mm, which is 5.5”×5.8”, making the 5×5 more of a 6×6 really. Being 30% smaller than mini-ITX, the 5×5 will also feature a fixed CPU position and more importantly, support LGA CPUs. Intel is planning to support i3, i5 and i7 CPUs right from the start with integrated graphics. The 5×5 will have uniform CPU and board mounting holes and will support CPUs from 35 to 65W TDP. The platform can probably go lower, but Intel probably doesn’t have plans for a sub 35W LGA chip.
Despite being more flexible than the NUC, discrete graphics won’t be supported as the z-height is targeting 39mm. There is a lot of other I/O though with 2 SO-DIMM slots, a M.2 SSD connector, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card port, a SATA port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 HDMI outputs and Gigabit Ethernet. While the boards will likely be sold standalone, Intel is hoping the chassis and the board will match up, providing a good combo for placing the heatsinks and 2.5″ drives.
Intel has not released any information yet about the expected launch for 5×5, but it probably isn’t far off. While integrated graphics can be limiting, a Skylake LGA chip with GT4 graphics and 128MB of eDRAM will make for a pretty strong small factor gaming rig. If Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 are supported in the future, external graphics might also be possible. Hopefully, Intel can get buy-in from motherboard makers. It will also be interesting to see if AMD will try to get into the game by offering their own 5×5 boards with APUs.