Dubbed the 5×5, the new motherboard doesn’t quite live up to its name, measuring 5.5 inches by 5.8.
Nevertheless, it’s still smaller than the 6.69-by-6.69 mini-ITX and a bit larger than the 4-by-4 NUC board. Unlike the NUC, which ships with chips soldered to the motherboard, the 5×5 includes an LGA socket to house an Intel Core processor of your choice, with support for 35W or 65W thermal designs. The board also works with both M.2 or traditional 2.5-inch SATA interface SSDs.
The 5×5 offers two channels for SODIMM memory, like the smaller NUC, but it lacks a PCIe slot, meaning discrete graphics cards are out. For that, you’d have to look to a mini-ITX build.
The basic idea with the 5×5 is to provide a motherboard with an upgradeable LGA socket that stays under the ultra-compact volume benchmark of one liter. That may not be the case if it’s loaded with a 65W processor and a 2.5-inch SATA drive, but a 5×5-based PC is still going to be far smaller than a mini-ITX system—with potentially much more bite than a NUC.
The impact on you at home: Anyone looking to build a home theater PC that’s still compact, yet more powerful than the NUC should be able to put the 5×5 to good use. With the right processor—say, the new 65W Broadwell Core i7-5775C chip with integrated graphics that outshine even AMD’s vaunted APUs—even basic 3D gaming should be possible with less-strenuous titles. Information about pricing or a release date for 5×5 boards are not available.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.