Check out this Intel Comet Lake motherboard that's smaller than your hard drive

Aaeon GENE-CML5 Single Board Computer
(Image credit: Aaeon)

You would normally need very big and baggy pants if you had aspirations of fitting a Comet Lake PC inside your pocket, but not so with Aaeon's GENE-CML5, a sub-compact, single board computer (SBC) that supports a small range of socketed Intel 10th Gen Core CPUs.

Of course, the idea isn't to carry around a PC in your pocket or palm. You could build a tiny and powerful system with x86 computing chops around this thing, for whatever project you have in mind that requires something with more grunt than a Raspberry Pi or similar Arm-based SBC. Perhaps a diminutive Windows or Linux desktop replacement for basic computing chores, or lightweight server duties, or even a low-power gaming PC for less demanding titles.

Compared to a typical Raspberry Pi, the GENE-CML5 (via LinuxGizmos) is just a little bit bigger, measuring 5.75 inches long by 4 inches wide (146mm x 101.7mm). Therein lies half the appeal. It's primarily intended for embedded applications—Aaeon, a division of Asus, manufacturers a range of SBCs for industrial and embedded platforms—but, being rooted in x86 with support for some relatively powerful CPUs means there are other opportunities for something like this, which is the other half of what makes this interesting.

Aaeon is offering multiple SKUs based on Intel's Q470, Q470E, H420E, chipsets. The boards support a handful of Comet Lake processors, the highest one being a Core i7 10700TE, an 8-core/16-thread chip with a 2GHz base clock, 4.4GHz max turbo clock, 16MB of L3 cache, and a 35W TDP. Sadly, there's no support for a 10-core Comet Lake CPU.

Board walk

(Image credit: MSI)

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It also sports Intel's UHD Graphics 630 (GT2), which is good enough for playing games like Overwatch, League of Legends, and other lightweight titles.

You can install up to 64GB of DDR4-2933 SO-DIMM memory in this board. And for storage, there is an M.2 slot (on the back of the board) that offers up PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth for a fast SSD, as well as a pair of SATA 6Gbps slots.

Other features include USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 connectivity, dual GbE LAN ports, DisplayPort and VGA outputs, onboard HD audio, and a UEFI BIOS. There's also a header to accommodate four USB 2.0 ports.

There's no mention of pricing, though for anyone interested, Aaeon makes it easy to request a quote.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).