In the last two years, we've seen a major push for home theater PC's by big names in the computer industry. Intel is pushing their ViiV initiative for HTPC market, AMD is pushing their competing AMD Live! program, and of course, Microsoft got in the game with their Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system. While the product we're looking at today is only directly associated with one of these programs (ViiV), what this all shows is that these billion dollar companies realize the value of getting a foothold in the home theater PC market. As content is increasingly going digital, home theater PC's are becoming more and more viable as a product for the everyday household. We're not kidding ourselves, HTPC's are still a niche market at this point, but there have been major improvements over the last few years for potential HTPC buyers in terms of product choice, quality, and performance.
In regards to motherboards, a lot of manufacturers like to boast that the feature set of their new products can be used for home theater systems, but very few motherboards are built with this function as the primary focus. Most home theater PC systems are built with standard desktop motherboards, with a feature or two being emphasized as good for HTPC operation. It's still extremely rare to see a motherboard designed specifically for HTPC's, as this is a far riskier market to delve into compared to the standard desktop market.
The newly re-born and re-energized Abit is never one to fear risk, however, and they've produced a board which may very well be the best motherboard to date for home theater PC's. The board we're talking about is the new Abit IL-90MV, which works in conjunction with Intel's Core Duo / Core 2 Duo mobile processors to deliver excellent home theater performance with a feature set directly targeted at this market. The board offers low noise, low power, low-heat, tons of audio/video output options, and a Micro-ATX form factor to boot. Best of all, Abit has delivered this board at a surprisingly reasonable price point.
IL-90MV Box - Top
IL-90MV Box - Bottom
Designed for Intel Core Duo, Core 2 Duo processors with 667 / 533 MHz FSB
Supports Intel Hyper-Threading / XD-bit / EM64T Technology
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology
Supports 2 Ports IEEE 1394a at 100/200/400 Mb/s transfer rate
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