OVER THE PAST year, enthusiasts have gone wild for small-form-factor PCs that squeeze high-performance hardware into pint-sized cases. In January, Shuttle's SN41G2 captured the attention of enthusiasts everywhere by packing NVIDIA's potent nForce2 chipset into little more than a breadbox, but the SN41G2's diminutive form factor severely limited the system's upgrade potential and expansion capabilities.
For small-form-factor (SFF) systems, a trade-off between size and expansion and upgrade potential is inevitable, but jumping from a full-size ATX platform to a tiny cube may be too drastic a move for some. Luckily, a sort of middle ground exists: Micro ATX. The Micro ATX standard has actually been around for years, but motherboards have typically been targeted at OEM systems, and they typically haven't been based on high-performance chipsets. Now, it appears that Micro ATX motherboard manufacturers have found NVIDIA's nForce2 chipset too tempting to resist.
Today, we're looking at Albatron's KM18G Pro, a Micro ATX motherboard based on NVIDIA's nForce2 chipset. The KM18G Pro comes decked out with integrated audio, Ethernet, and even video via the nForce2 IGP. Does it have enough power and expandability to bridge the gap between full-tower ATX systems and tiny SFF PCs for performance and feature-hungry enthusiasts? Read on to find out.