Inside the Box
ASUS has designed a new series of boxes for its Value/HTPC line. This is a new breed from ASUS supporting AMD Live! as well as being RoHS (or part of the new "Green" manufacturing process). On the front is very little info on the board apart from the model number.
The back gives a bit more info on the boards features as well as a drawing of the board itself - it's nice to be able to see what you're getting before you buy it.
Documentation and software are pretty simple from ASUS this time around. The M2NPV-VM is set for the Digital Home and the value sector, so cutting down on costs is a must. There is your standard user manual with quite a bit of helpful info inside. Software wise you get a single CD with drivers for XP, XP MCE and XP64.
The ASUS cable bundle for the boards IDE/SATA setup is quite nice. While the board does support extra SATA ports, you only get 2 SATA DATA cables and 1 SATA power splitter supporting 2 drives. A single FDD and 2 HDD ribbon cable set are also included. The I/O shield is a new design also as this board differs from ASUS's normal layouts.
To the expansion bundle and for a budget board, ASUS has done pretty well here. First off what we really liked was the inclusion of this TV out expansion board. This baby has S-Video Out, RCA out and Component out ports and once connected with a ribbon cable to the boards TV out header, you can hook it up to any TV out there.
A single PCI Rider bracket cover with a Firewire port makes up the last of the additional expansion features and in all we are quite happy with this setup.