There’s a growing number of tiny PCs on the market, including models like the Intel Compute Stick that are small enough to close your fist around and larger, more powerful models including Intel NUC-sized computers with Celeron, Pentium, or Core series processors.

Now Intel is introducing a new platform for tiny PCs… and it has one feature that the Compute Stick and NUC lack: a socket that lets you choose your own CPU or upgrade to a new processor down the road.

Intel’s been showing off a prototype of the new board since the start of the year. Now it has a name: 5×5.


Wondering how Intel came up with the name? Well, the board measures 5.5″ x 5.8″ inches… so that probably has something to do with it.

While the board is a bit bigger than an NUC motherboard (which measures about 4″ x 4″, it’s smaller than a Mini-ITX board, which measures about 6.7″ x 6.7″.

The 5×5 board supports LGA-based processors including Intel Celeron to Intel Core i7 series chips. The company says it can support processors with up to 65 watt TDP.

Other features include Ethernet and wireless networking, 2 SODIMM slots for memory and support for M.2 storage or 2.5 inch SATA drives. Like the Intel NUC, it’s likely that we’ll see 5×5 systems in different sizes: models with 2.5 inch drives will need to be a little taller than versions that use M.2 solid state storage.

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24 replies on “Intel 5×5: Smallest PC board with upgradeable CPU socket”

  1. Nothing about what socket they support. I’m guessing 1150. Kinda limits the upgrade path.

    1. Their announcement earlier this year said 1150, but I think it will end up being 1151. Socket 1150 will be dead by the time this comes to market. That is, unless Intel is planning to keep the lower TDP Haswell and Broadwell CPUs around.

  2. those broadwell I7’s (the 5775c i think) would fit inside that TDP limitwould it not?

      1. I mean, good idea or not, there are people that put 5960X’s ($1000 CPU’s) in MiniITX Rigs like the N-Case M1, a bigger, but not muc bigger system.

  3. intel got left behind on mobile. if they’re not careful they could end up getting eclipsed on the NUC side. Although now it seems its cheaper to buy a starter laptop than it is to buy a computer + monitor.

    1. Who do you propose will eclipse Intel in the NUC market? AMD is not in a position to do so, their products are miles behind Intel, in terms of TDP, size, and performance.

      AMD had their shot, about a year ago they had laptop APU chips that had a slight edge on Intel’s laptop CPU + IGPUs. But they didn’t strike when they should have. Now Intel’s latest IGPUs are leading.

      1. AMD is a sinking ship, it’s time for someone else like Intel or Microsoft to buy out AMD.

        1. Both of those could risk antitrust investigations with such a move, and MS already have trust issues with OEMs after launching the Surface range.

        2. AMD has a poison pill. If they are bought, they lose the license to make x86. They will never be bought because of that.

        1. Unless Google suddenly goes 180 and start prepping Android for desktop use (or greatly expand the offline capabilities of ChromeOS), not likely.

        2. ARM is certainly a competitor to Intel, but not in the Mini PC market.

          Sure, you can run Ubuntu. What are you going to run inside Ubuntu? Hope you find some software for your ARM powered PC.

          1. You can do amazing things with linux on arm. While i agree most people at home need windows, if you are willing to learn linux there really isnt much you cant do. Im typing this right now in firefox on a cheap arm rasperry pi 2.

          2. I don’t mean to sound so negative about it, because I am a Linux and ARM fan to some degree, but there nothing amazing about running Firefox in Linux on an ARM.

            I was amazed in 1999, when my Sega Dreamcast ran a web browser.

            I don’t see the need to buy an ARM device to run Linux. You can spend $80 on an Intel Z3735f powered Mini PC. It has a TDP of 2.2w. I understand a Rasp Pi is far cheaper, but this is a complete system. Some people spend that amount on everything they need for a Rasp Pi.

            I don’t want to say there isn’t a place for ARM, because there is, but I see no benefit to using one for a desktop PC. Energy-wise, compatability-wise, size-wise

    2. Left behind isn’t a fair statement. They weren’t in the race from the beginning only entered 3 years ago.

  4. The somewhat interesting thing to me here is DC power. However it’s talking about 35W and 65W processor so I’ll still need a fan for that. My interests are in silent boxes. So for me I’m not sure this does a lot for me.

    1. They seem to be aiming for the use of larger (and therefore slower and quieter) case fans rather than a CPU cooler fan.

      1. I suppose. My interest has gone to completely silent. Just built a j1900 system with DC power because it could be done all passive easily, even though it is slightly slower than many mainstream desktop parts. Am considering a second one based on n3000 braswell family.
        So that’s just where my head is at. I see a DC jack and I start thinking about removing all moving parts.

          1. It’s interesting but I wouldn’t buy it without seeing some testing on it. That seems a fair bit of wattage to try and run fanless. Maybe it works great with the aluminum case. Maybe it’s just something you can put together and sell but it cooks itself to death pretty readily.

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