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Processors meant for laptops usually need less cooling (so they're less noisy) and are much more energy-efficient, while providing computational power on demand.

I think of building a home server, but I'd like to minimize its noise and hunger for power. Atom processors are too weak for my purposes (I'd like to run some number-crunching things once in a while, and I don't mind if that server gets more noisy in that time). Is it possible to use mobile processors in a typical desktop mobos?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'd recommend against it. If energy efficiency is what you're after, you can keep an eye out for particular CPU features. An Intel chipset I was looking at adjusts its power draw based on current load. This is becoming somewhat common in server CPUs (though I haven't really looked for it in comsumer hardware).

What you typically get in a laptop CPU is something that costs more per GHz because it's got more engineering behind it to keep it small, quiet, and cool. I wouldn't want to pay extra for the small size unless I were going to benefit from it.

In terms of noise, you can pay a little more for a quieter CPU cooling system and chassis fans. Any local computer enthusiast store (not the big chains, typically) should have staff who can point you in the right direction.

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It is possible, but you have to find a vendor that will sell you the CPU/mobo combo pack since many laptop CPUs come soldered on. I know this isn't necessarily the case with newer motherboards, but it is still not easy to find a motherboard to support a laptop CPU without being in a combo. On the Newegg site, this is the only motherboard I found for Intel mobile processors.

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Atom processors are too weak for my purposes

the dual core Atom N330 is certainly fit for "some number-crunching things" and yet very power-efficient, check Zotac's range of mini-ITX boards with nVidia Ion graphics.

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According to, n330 is 2-4x slower than my 3 year old laptop (C2D T7300). The results seem to be consistent across different benchmarking programs. I assumed to get at least the performance of this laptop. – liori Jan 9 '10 at 13:58
remove the battery of the old laptop and use it as server than, but don't expect any miracles regarding power consumption because the C2D is hungry, if you want some powerhouse running 24/7 prepare for a high appliances bill, but i'm telling ya, the money you spend there you will save in no time if you buy a Fit-PC2 with only 8w power consumption at full cpu load. use this one as your home server and fire up your 'number cruncher' when you need it. – Molly7244 Jan 9 '10 at 16:25

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