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Albatron Mini-ITX KI690-AM2 Reviewed

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket AM2/AM2+ in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 11, 2007 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Albatron

The Motherboard



Normally we start off with our package and contents, but due to the early nature of the board we didn't get a retail package. The board was simply shipped to us in a white box.


The Mini-ITX standard allows for only one size and variant, a 17x17cm 6-layer PCB. The deep blue colour Albatron have gone with makes it look quite attractive, though it's hard to see much in the way of spare PCB space considering what's packed on the board.


While being such a small board, the layout is extremely clean and efficient. A 24-pin ATX power connector and the 4-pin aux power connector is located on the right hand side of the board along with the single IDE port. This takes up the full length of the right side of the board.


The chipset that has been implored to power this baby is the AMD 690G, AMD's first chipset to come from the joint ATI/AMD venture. Designed to take full advantage of the AMD K8 chipset along with its integrated X1250 Radeon graphics core, it's proven to be an extremely powerful contender. It manages to outperform the GeForce 6150 based boards on the market.



The CPU socket and retention mechanism takes up a lot of space on the board, since it's a K8 it requires a large area for the heatsink. For power regulation a 3-phase voltage system manages to keep the CPU fed with plenty of power. Being AM2 based, the CPU supports a dual channel DDR-II memory configuration. In order to save space while giving you dual channel memory support, Albatron have opted the way of notebook technology by using smaller SO-DIMM memory slots. Two 200-pin SO-DIMM slots are included to give DDR-II-533/667 support. While the CPU does support up to 800MHz memory, there are no DDR-II-800 SO-DIMMs on the market as of yet, so yout going to have to deal with slightly reduced memory bandwidth on this board.



The rear I/O ports are extremely dense, packing in as much as possible. First off there are no PS/2 ports on the board, similar to that of the VIA C7 board we reviewed. In fact, there are no legacy ports at all. There are 3 RCA ports, blue, red and green. These control the Component-out TV setup if your television supports this form of input.


Two video output ports are included, both a traditional 9-pin VGA port and also DVI. If you're going to connect it to a PC you can have dual monitor support; go Albatron and ATI! For the digital media center, a HDMI port is included. This is a must have these days for the digital setup.


RCA and Toslink ports are included for digital audio. So if your home audio system has these inputs, you're set. Lastly are the USB ports, firewire and stereo audio ports, all quite normal there.



Now we move down to the expansion ports and the additional chipsets that are used. Only a single PCI slot is provided for additional expansion. A VIA firewire PCI chip gives the single firewire port. A Marvell PCI-Express x1 LAN chip gives you Gigabit ethernet connectivity, since the SB600 has no ethernet capabilities it requires an external ethernet chip.


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