Albatron shows off impressive Mini-ITX and MXM
Albatron is one Taiwanese company which we have started to work more closely with recently. They changed their focus from regular mainstream motherboards to other interesting products. Their main focus for CeBIT will be their range of new mini-ITX motherboards as well as nVidia MXM products.
(I've never seen a receptionist move so quickly before!)
We met up with Sam and Candice who spent some time with us telling us about these new products. The first on the list is their KI690-AM2 motherboard which measures in at a tiny 17cm x 17cm and uses the regular mini-ITX form factor. It is based on AMD's new 690G chipset with support for all Socket AM2 processors. The only drawback might be that the motherboard uses DDR-2 SO-DIMM memory instead of regular 240-pin DDR-2 memory but if you're looking at building a real small PC, it shouldn't be much of an issue for you.
Besides the size of the motherboard, one of the most notably features is the onboard HDMI port as well as component video, DVI and VGA along with optical in and out and even digital coaxial and regular audio ports.
While it's not going to be a powerhouse of a motherboard, with the huge array of onboard connectors and considering its small size, it's going to be useful for a whole range of different systems and usage models.
It's amazing to see how much they've managed to squeeze onto such a small motherboard!
We were a little lucky to also see an nVidia MXM module finally in a working product. MXM was launched by nVidia way back in 2004 and it was all hyped up to be the next big technology for graphics upgradability in notebooks but it never seemed to get off the ground.
Albatron showed us one of their very own MXM modules based on the GeForce 7600GO GPU with 256MB of DDR-3 memory. Sure, it won't be any good for games like Crysis and UT2007 but it's still quite a decent upgrade from most onboard VGA solutions.
The MXM module we saw come out of a certain home theater PC and it's good to see that the module is actually starting to be used. Because of its small size and slot characteristics similar to notebook memory (installed flat rather than standing up straight), it allows for smaller systems which are still able to pack relatively good 3D performance.