Final ThoughtsWhen it came time to show off the Albatron KI51PV-754 Mini-ITX, there was very little in terms of performance. While this is the most feature packed Mini-ITX product we have seen to-date, spending $310 on Socket 754 motherboard might be hard for most to justify. The idea behind the KI51PV-754 is brilliant and the fact that this 17cm x 17cm motherboard features many modern technologies, such as SATAII, is impressive. However, the primary concern I have is of course the out of date processor socket.
The EPoX 8GF6100-M was used for comparison to determine how well the Albatron KI51PV-754 performed against a larger more standard microATX motherboard. The KI51PV-754 was slightly slower than the bigger microATX motherboard suggesting that the Mini-ITX design does sacrifice a small amount of performance. Nevertheless, the Albatron motherboard still did very well when coupled with the Sempron 2800+ processor. Although the GeForce 6150 integrated graphics was in no danger of breaking any speed records it did allow for playable gaming performance in UT2004 and Far Cry at low resolutions.
The KI51PV-754 could have been the ultimate motherboard had it been called the "KI51PV-AM2." Considering how cheap AM2 processors are at the moment it would have been ideal to support this platform. This would have made processors easier to find, possibly cheaper, and of course the performance far better.
Currently the only 754-pin processors available are the low-cost Sempron and the mobile-oriented Turion64, which which limits your options somewhat. Given the KI51PV-754 costs $310 we find it difficult to justify pairing this board with a $70 AMD Sempron 3400+ processor. The AMD Turion64 MT34 offers more performance, but at around $160 you are paying a fair price premium for this mobile processor given that for the same price an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ can be purchased.
Another gripe I found is that the KI51PV-754 features just a single expansion slot and while this motherboard is in no way indented for gaming, why include an old PCI slot? Personally, I would have much preferred a PCI Express 16x slot. If anything, this unique motherboard could be a sign of great things to come from Albatron, but for now I will sit, wait and hope for an AM2 version. At the end of the day the KI51PV-754 is an unique product designed for a more exclusive market than your typical motherboard and hence the higher price.
Therefore, the next best solution was a $150 head unit with MP3 support which was a pretty cool little device almost 5 years ago. At the time I decided the MP3 head unit was a smart option and that I could do without the ability to watch movies while on the go. Today I see even less need for a car computer as head units today are so powerful. For around the same amount it would cost to setup a decent in car computer, a DVD player with LCD screens and MP3 support can be purchased. Furthermore, basic head units now allow for USB devices meaning flash drives and USB hard drives can be used making it even easier and faster to get music into your car.