Intel’s Alder Lake-N chips are inexpensive, low-power processors that expand the 12th-gen Intel processor lineup into the territory previously occupied by Atom-based Celeron and Pentium chips.
A number of PC makers have launched laptops, tablets, and mini PCs with Alder Lake-N chips since Intel launched the processor family earlier this year. Now Maxtang has introduced the first Alder Lake-N motherboards for folks that want to build their own PCs around the chips.
The Maxtang ALN-10 is a mini ITX board that measures 170 x 170mm (6.7″ x 6.7″) and features support for up to 32GB of single-channel DDR4 memory (there’s only one SODIMM slot), M.2 connectors that can be used for SATA storage and/or wireless cards, a PCIe 4X connector, support for a SATA hard drive or SSD, and plenty of ports including:
- 2 x 2.5 Gbe Ethernet
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x LVDS/eDP
- 2 x USB 3.2 Type-A
- 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
- 1 x 3.5mm audio out
- 1 x 3.5mm mic input
There’s also a USB 2.0 port positioned to allow you to add a dongle inside a computer case and internal COM ports and GPIO headers.
Maxtang says the board will support most Alder Lake-N chips, although the company notes that if you want a passively cooled computer you may want to opt for a 7-watt or cooler chip, as a fan is recommended for models with 12W or 15W processors.
Here’s the compete line of chips that Maxtang says the ALN-10 supports:
|Chip||Cores||Threads||Base / Boost freq||L3 Cache||GPU||Power|
|Core i3-N305||8||8||Up to 3.8 GHz||6MB||Intel UHD (32EU / up to 1.25 GHz)||15W|
|Intel Processor N97||4||4||Up to 3.6 GHz||6MB||Intel UHD (24EU / up to 1.2 GHz||12W|
|Core i3-N300||8||8||Up to 3.8 GHz||6MB||Intel UHD (32EU / up to 1.25 GHz)||7W|
|Intel Processor N200||4||4||Up to 3.7 GHz||6MB||Intel UHD (32EU / up to 750 MHz)||6W|
|Intel Processor N100||4||4||Up to 3.4 GHz||6MB||Intel UHD (24EU / up to 750 MHz)||6W|
|Intel Processor N50||2||2||Up to 3.4 GHz||6MB||Intel UHD (16EU / up to 750 MHz)||6W|
The only mainstream Alder Lake-N chip that’s not in that list is the 15-watt, 4-core Intel Processor N95.
Keep in mind that these chips were made for laptops and mini PCs, so they aren’t socketed. That means that the chips are soldered to the motherboard and aren’t designed to be removed or replaced.
There’s no word on when the Maxtang ALN-10 boards will be available for purchase or how much they’ll cost.
Top views: fanless heatsink.
Side view: fan heatsink
As the article and the linked manufacturer’s page say: There are different versions with different CPUs. 7w and below → fanless, 12w and above → fan
How is this motherboard able to support 32GB of RAM when all these processors support up to 16GB? Would these processors be able to access 32GB directly? Or will they have to use something like physical address extension (PAE)?
What Intel supports, and what actually works, are often entirely different things. Especially with RAM.
I’ve had at least three of their MB/CPU combos where larger memory modules just worked.
Me too. Have a Gemini Lake right here with 4 times the supported RAM.
The previous generation of Atoms were all officially limited to 8GB but did 32GB perfectly fine. Also since ADL-N is derived from the “full” ADLs but with halved memory controller and only one memory channel, and the other ADLs with dual channel all officially support 64GB of RAM, it’s not far fetched to assume the ADL-N can indeed run on 32GB as well.
Now this is something interesting! If only there was a hint about availability or an indication about prices…