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The board
Even with a relatively modest number of onboard peripherals, the KI51PV is pretty packed.


That's to be expected from a board that only measures 17 cm square. For comparison, full-size ATX boards can measure up to 30.5 cm tall and 24.4 cm wide, while Micro ATX measures 24.4 cm square. To put the KI51PV's size into perspective, here's how it compares to a standard audio CD case.


As far as motherboards go, the KI51PV is really, really small.


Much of the board's real estate is monopolized by a 754-pin socket and its accompanying heatsink retention bracket. The socket is worth the space, though; it allows the board to work with a wide range of relatively affordable Sempron and Athlon 64 desktop chips, as well as 754-pin Turion 64 mobile processors.

Unfortunately, AMD doesn't offer 754-pin chips with dual processor cores. Albatron says it's working on Socket AM2 and LGA775 Mini-ITX boards that should support dual-core CPUs, but they're not ready yet. Socket 754 also limits the KI51PV to a single memory channel, but the board doesn't really have room for a second DIMM slot anyhow.


Heck, the board barely has room for a single memory module. There's very little clearance between the CPU socket and DIMM slot, and only a basic AMD reference heatsink would fit alongside our taller Corsair DIMM.


Clearance is also tight between the socket and the board's chipset cooler. Albatron should be applauded for using a passive chipset cooling solution here, but it does limit the number of compatible CPU coolers. Heatsinks that fan out from the retention bracket by even a few centimeters risk conflicting with the chipset cooler or DIMM slot.


The KI51PV is even picky when it comes to IDE cables; the board's IDE ports have a full 40 pins, making them incompatible with ribbon cables that block off one pin. That's not a huge problem, but 39 pins seems to be the new standard for IDE, so it's a little annoying.

Fortunately, there are no issues with the board's Serial ATA ports. All four are neatly organized near one corner of the board, making binding and routing multiple cables a snap.


Below the Serial ATA ports we find the KI51PV's sole expansion option: a standard PCI port. That doesn't give users much in the way of graphics upgrade options, but given the dearth of PCI Express peripherals, it makes more sense than a PCIe slot. Gaming is probably at the low end of the priority list for Mini-ITX systems, and a standard PCI slot can easily accommodate a decent audio card or TV tuner.


Despite its lack of expansion slots, the KI51PV doesn't skimp on ports. The board has both VGA and DVI outputs, four USB ports, and a trio of analog audio ports. Headers for an additional four USB ports are also available on the board, and Albatron offers an optional audio bracket with digital S/PDIF audio ports. The bracket costs an extra $10, though; it should really be included at no extra charge.


At least Albatron includes an extra video output. The KI51PV's I/O shield comes with an S-Video output that plugs right into the board.