Earlier this year, Intel released the Little Valley microATX motherboard. This Little Valley (D201GLY) motherboard is the first Intel model to use the microATX form factor. Intel, being one of the most well-known and trusted names in processors and computer hardware, quickly caught the attention of everyone in the micro computing industry with this release. The price tag however, does not boast the high numbers you might expect from Intel.
For a mere $70, the Little Valley offers an embedded 1.33 GHz Celeron processor and a 533 MHz front side bus. Many other Mini-ITX motherboards on the market feature comparable and even slower speeds, and have still proven worthy of employment in industrial solutions. The reason for their success: many Mini-ITX solutions are built for low-power consumption, affordability, and compact design. High-end powerful processors are expensive and often unnecessary for the task at hand.
Is the price too good to be true? Well, yes. There is a reason that Intel can sell this product at such a low price. The Little Valley’s expandability features are very basic. Aside from the rear I/O, one ATA 133 IDE channel, one PCI slot, and four USB 2.0 ports are all that is available off the board. Despite the lack of SATA ports, PCI express, or even a second IDE channel, the Little Valley will still provide a capable and dependable system.
The difference between microATX (uATX) and Mini-ITX form factors is minimal: less than 2 millimeters in width and length. Being so similar, the Little Valley still fits into most Mini-ITX enclosures. The only cases that you would have trouble squeezing the Little Valley into are the lower profile cases. The CPU cooler on this board is a little taller than most, and will actually prevent the lid from closing in some cases. Don’t let this stop you from getting that case you’ve had your eyes on. The CPU cooler that comes installed from Intel can easily be replaced with a shorter one that will still provide plenty of cooling.
In addition to stripping the board down to the basics, Intel decided to incorporate a chipset from SiS instead of their own. This helps drive the final price of the board down, which is one of the most appealing factors of the product. While an Intel chipset would obviously prove more powerful and appealing, the SiS662 is suitable for the jobs that the Little Valley is intended for.