AOpen i915GMm-HFS – Pentium M motherboard Review - AOpen i915GMm-HFS Review

The i915GMm-HFS supports a further four USB 2.0 ports as well as two FireWire ports, but as with the i855GMEm-LFS AOpen doesn’t supply any brackets for these extra headers. As you might have noticed, I haven’t mentioned any “legacy” ports so far. They are still there if you need them, but some of them are easier to use than others. There is a PS/2 header, but AOpen only supplies a keyboard adapter for this, so you can’t use a PS/2 mouse. You get two different types of blanking plates with the PS/2 port, one full size and one half height, so you can use the PS/2 port in low profile cases. A floppy drive header is also present, but this is a laptop style connector, so it can’t be used with standard cables. However, AOpen provides a floppy drive cable, so there’s no need to panic. A parallel port header and two serial port headers are also nestling at the bottom of the board, but you won’t find any cables for these in the box. Again the parallel port header uses much smaller pins than normal, so you might have a hard time finding the right cable here.

Some other peculiarities of the i915GMm-HFS are four sets of jumpers around the x16 PCI Express slots. These are termination jumpers for the onboard graphics so that the DVI and component video out work properly. You have to remove these jumpers if you want to use a PCI Express graphics card. A further two jumpers are located next to the CPU socket and if you’re using an older 400MHz bus processor, then you have to change these to adjust the bus speed, as the board operates at 533MHz bus by default.

The CPU cooler is part of the package, although installation could be easier. It’s made up of three parts, a rear plate, the heatsink and the fan assembly. The problem is that the spring loaded screws drive into the back plate, which in turn has a set of four nuts fitted to it. Where the problem arises is when you realise that these nuts are loose and can move inside the holes made for them in the plate. This makes it rather difficult to screw it all together and I would’ve much preferred to have the nuts welded to the back plate. The fan is attached to a piece of aluminium that has to be screwed onto the heatsink to complete the setup.

The motherboard chipset is passively cooled by a rather oversized heatsink. Having tested this board with the fastest Pentium M processor currently available, a 2.13GHz 770 part, I was expecting the CPU cooler to get quite hot, since it’s quite small. However, it never even got lukewarm, which goes to show why the Pentium M has been such a successful notebook part. You can add fans if you wish by using one of the two spare fan headers, but the point of this board is low noise.

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