Computers have adapted to every aspect of our lives, and almost everything we do is computerized in one way or another. The connection between consumer electronics devices and the PC has been advertised for a long time, but it took much longer than expected to actually reach a mainstream market.
One of the most recent examples of PCs that leave the image of the big beige box is the HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer), which is essentially a computer designed to manage entertainment in the living room. Before the HTPC, televisions, hi-fi systems, video recorders, games consoles, DVD players and various other home entertainment devices acted alone. The HTPC should not only be able to simplify things but also improve the experience with enormous amounts of memory, versatility and a lot of performance. The biggest challenge for the HTPC is then to blend in with the rest of your home entertainment devices.
The form factor for an HTPC is somewhat worrying, since a standard ATX system will obviously be quite large. many times larger than even the largest stand-alone DVD players. For those building an affordable HTPC, the microATX format makes the most sense because motherboards are cheap and can support Intel or AMD processors. However, there are still smaller, less conventional motherboard formats. Enter the Mini-ITX form factor, which measures only 17 x 17 cm (compared to 24 x 24 from microATX). This format was created by VIA Technologies in 2001 and was developed for passive cooling using chipset architectures with low power consumption.
Almost 6 years later, the Mini-ITX failed to crack the mainstream market for several good reasons … The vast majority of Mini-ITX motherboards are VIA boards with their own chipsets and processors. While these mini-ITX systems use very little power and produce very little heat, they are also incredibly slow by today's system standards. In addition, special mini-ITX cases are usually quite expensive because the manufacturers do not ship any significant quantities of them. In short, the Mini-ITX is small, but usually overpriced, slow, and the availability of certain parts is also quite poor.
The VIA EPIA-EN15000G with an embedded 1.5 GHz VIA-C7 NanoBGA2 processor is currently the crème de la crème in the mini-ITX world. This combination of board and processor costs about $ 240. The card supports six USB 2.0 ports, two SATA150 ports, and a single 10/100 LAN controller. All in all, the EPIA-EN15000G is pretty well equipped for a motherboard that leaves a tiny footprint of 17 x 17 cm. However, given the limited capabilities of this option, I would personally miss it.
But my dream of owning a powerful mini ITX computer is still alive thanks to the motherboard manufacturer Albatron. They took a 17 cm x 17 cm piece of circuit board and put a socket 754 connector on it, four SATA300 connectors, support for eight USB 2.0 connectors, two LAN controllers including a Gigabit LAN connector and many other important functions . By using the Nvidia GeForce 6150 chipset, the Albatron KI51PV-754 supports VGA and DVI output. Unfortunately there are some obvious limitations to the KI51PV-754, such as: B. Support for processor, memory and additional graphics cards. In addition, the KI51PV-754 is also very expensive and costs an incredible $ 310.
Let's find out if the KI51PV-754 can solve these problems …