The ASUS M2NPV-VM satisfied all our basic requirements for a solid Digital Home/HTPC based motherboard.
The big plus for us was the inclusion of the DVI-I and the CRT port so even without having a separate graphics card, you have the ability to run dual monitors or hook the computer up to a HDTV through the DVI port. The thing missing, which would have made the board perfect, is a HDMI port. Sure, more and more graphics cards are now being released with a HDMI port but it would have been nice to see one included on the board itself.
The inclusion of the TV out module supporting S-Video, Composite as well as component video modes also was a sweet deal - if your TV doesn't have a DVI port, it is sure to have one of the three TV standards on it.
Added to this is the fact that the GeForce 6150's onboard graphics controller can be enabled at the same time a PCI Express graphics card is installed to give multiple monitor support. This is really a nice addition as some large TV's coming out have the need to run two DVI ports to get the screen image up and working nicely. Added to this, GeForce 6150 supports DirectX 9 with Shader Model 3.0 which means it will work just fine with the fancy Aero interface in the upcoming Windows Vista OS.
While overclocking was extremely limited and the onboard graphics system isn't going to break any records for gaming, we did find that running DVD's and DIVX movies off it were smooth and resulted in no lag for the PC. The board lacks any method of digital audio output and it would have been much nicer to see digital optical output but that's lacking unless you want to buy a third-party sound card.
Our overall impression is a good one and we hope to see more Digital Home boards surface taking advantage of not only AMD but Intel Core architecture soon.
Integrated graphics cuts down on costs
Supports Aero interface in Windows Vista
Passive cooling for quiet operation
Ability to use both onboard and external graphics at same time
Plenty of options for visual output
4 SATA ports with RAID
Lacks digital audio output
Extremely limited overclocking
No HDMI port
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Rating - 8 out of 10
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