Albatron KM18G Pro V2.0 nForce2 IGP Motherboard Review
It's funny that while the SFF fad
is in style not many manufacturers have a micro ATX nForce2 motherboard in their
lineup. Albatron do, and have just released their KM18G Pro V2.0 nForce2 IGP based motherboard which could easily become the backbone of a home theatre
PC. Of course just because the motherboard is small in size does
not mean it will not be just as good for everyday computing... or does it? Only the
benchmarks will tell us where the KM18G Pro V2.0 really stands, so let's get
With a retail price of $170 CDN
($105 US) the Albatron
KM18G Pro v2.0 is a little on
the pricey side, but then again smaller sized components have always costed more. The
KM18G Pro v2.0 supports current 200/266/333 MHz FSB based AthlonXP processors and can
be used with a maximum of 3GB of PC1600/2100/2700/3200 DDR RAM.
Because of the relative small size, the only "frills" of
the motherboard are its 10/100 LAN, integrated video & TV-out, and 5.1 audio.
So what makes a small micro-ATX motherboard such as this worth checking out? Well, while I still like my computers big, loud and powerful, I
understand that not everyone wants or needs that. My sister for instance uses her PC mainly
to write essays for school and surf the internet. She could have easily
gone with something that's less expandable then her current Asus A7V333, and that takes up
My dad would
have freaked if I plunked down a mid or full tower ATX
case next to his HDTV instead of the micro-case he currently uses. Smaller computers definitely have their
positive sides! So let's take a look at what we're going to
be reviewing today...
Albatron KM18G Pro is a pretty small motherboard with the dimensions of 244 x
244mm. It seems like Albatron likes the blue coloured PCB's as most of their
motherboards and videocards use it. Despite not having a lot of room to work
with the Albatron engineers did a pretty decent job with the layout of the KM18G
The floppy/IDE connectors are in the the ideal location to the
right of the DIMM slots. Because most smaller ATX/Micro ATX cases are quite
cramped and because the nForce2 Northbridge gets quite hot, Albatron
took it upon themselves to use an active cooler.
Pro is well labelled and so you'll know exactly what
a header/jumper does by simply looking on the PCB.
Albatron made things
easy on the end user by placing all the headers (USB 2.0, Com2,
IrDA, etc) at the bottom of the motherboard. This way they will not interfere with
the other installed PCI/AGP peripherals.
The AGP lock that Albatron chooses to employ is much stronger then
the average clip type lock and your AGP videocard will certainly not come of of
the slot once it's installed.
To be honest there isn't much to
complain about with the KM18G Pro motherboard once you realize it's intended
purpose. Even though there's not much room, I would have liked to see Albatron
sneak in one or two Serial ATA ports since it's obvious that Serial ATA is the
way of the future.