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One of the most important thing to me for a CPU is a good mix between speed and heat. For example five years ago I bought a Core 2 Duo 6300 (max TDP 65W): I put a big heatsink on the CPU, no fans (I do hate moving parts and noise) and it worked like a charm and very silently for five years (and it still work but five years later I wouldn't mind a faster CPU and a faster memory controller and more memory).

I consider a max TDP of 130W unacceptable (like some high-end Core i7 have), for several reasons.

So I was wondering: can I build a desktop and put a Core i7 CPU meant to be used in laptop in it? For example I was thinking about the Core i7 740QM (max TDP 45W [!]).

Are these compatible with desktop Core i7 motherboards? (for example on NewEgg it says that the "CPU socket type" for the Core i7 740QM is PGA988, I've not too sure about what this is)

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1  
The socket number refers to the shape of the CPU pin layout. You can be pretty sure that if two socket numbers are different, they are not compatible. Quite often the number in the socket name denotes the number of pins on the CPU. –  Jay_Booney Jan 9 '11 at 19:23
    
And PGA most likely stands for Programmable Gate Array. –  oKtosiTe Jan 9 '11 at 21:18
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@oKto: In the context of packages it stands for Pin Grid Array –  Nick T Jan 10 '11 at 2:39
    
@Nick T: Indeed. I stand corrected. –  oKtosiTe Jan 10 '11 at 16:35
    
PGA stands for Pin Grid Array –  Keltari Jan 23 '13 at 1:32

3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

You cannot put a notebook CPU in a desktop motherboard. If you want a notebook CPU in your desktop, you basically need to put notebook components in a desk case. There are some companies that do that, but it costs a lot.

What you can probably do is buy a low-end desktop CPU that will have a low TDP. These, however, are likely to have relatively poor performance.

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+1. Unfortunately, it's true. I remember that Asus for example used to provide laptop->desktop adapters for some motherboards, but I'm pretty certain that they don't do that for i7 series. –  AndrejaKo Jan 9 '11 at 19:20
    
+1 And also i will cost much more (price/performance) buying for example Mobile Core i7 740QM instead of Desktop's Core i7 950 which in 3-4 faster than 740QM. –  Anotomix Jan 9 '11 at 20:52
    
There are low power desktop CPUs. And if you underclock and undervolt them, the power drops even more. For example, the i5-3335s has a 65W maximum power dissipation, and you can make it use less if you want. –  David Schwartz Mar 27 '13 at 16:37

Depending on what your skills are you could retrofit a laptop motherboard into a desktop case.

An easier solution: Some mini ITX boards have socket 988

http://www.commell.com.tw/News/News/News_20100920_LV-67F.htm

http://www.globalspec.com/datasheets/2571/AdvantechIndustrialAutomation/C4B25A4F-7E4E-403B-9009-AF3E8BB89A41

http://jetwaycomputer.com/NF98.html

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Mobile CPU sockets don't fit desktop motherbooards (in specification sheets they have a different socket type).

The newest "Sandy Bridge" chips that Intel are about to release (tomorrow) have a TDP of 95 W and the latest benchmarks show that they are very fast indeed with a good performance/watt. They even have half-decent on-board graphics so you don't "need" a discrete GPU unless you want to play games or edit videos.

The new processors are good value for money and you could get away with a very quiet cooler. Titan Fenrir, Thermaltake Frio or something from Noctua spring to mind, with fans set to low speed.

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that's interesting but I was after an i7 for I'm very interested in the on-board memory controller that the i7 have for sure (I'm not sure the i5 have it). –  Weezy Jan 12 '11 at 20:59
    
An i5 has the on-board memory controller. AMD started it with their opterons. Intel followed a few years later. First with their nehalem i7 (9x0 series), but later with all other i5/i3/i7's. –  Hennes Jul 9 '12 at 16:45

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