Intel H55 Tom CoveHere's the Intel H55 desktop board that'll be sold through a few etailers. Known as the DH55TC (Tom Cove), it supports all desktop Clarkdale chips.
The layout is simple enough for a mATX board, thanks to the lack of an IGP-housing northbridge. The diminutive H55 chipset is housed under a passively-cooled heatsink, and its main function is to facilitate the routing of various peripherals.
Plenty of space around the socket means that it's easy to position a cooler.
Intel provides four DIMM slots that hook up to the memory-controller on the GPU side of the chip's package. DDR3-1,333 support is standard, but the Tom Cove board doesn't support overclocking.
There's a single PCIe x16 port designed for add-in graphics cards. Unfortunately, Intel won't support switchable graphics on the desktop, so there's no chance of flicking off the power-hungry Radeon or GeForce and activating onboard video. We reckon this is an opportunity missed. Further, there's no possibility of using hybrid graphics, either.
Outputs are the strong suit for H5x and Clarkdale. There's the usual gaggle of DVI (single-link), VGA, and HDMI.
We expect the board to retail for around £70. The budget CPU will be around £80, making the subsystem reasonably, if not startlingly, cheap.