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The A8N-VM CSM has two IDE connectors and four SATA connectors, so there should be more then plenty on offer here. The SATA drives can be set up in a RAID 0, 1, 0+1 or 5 configuration. With four memory slots the A8N-VM CSM supports up to 4GB of DDR memory. Further expansion comes in the form of a x16 PCI Express slot for graphics cards and a x1 slot for other PCI Express peripherals and two PCI slots for anything else.
The GeForce 6150 is passively cooled by a small heatsink, so this is also a good option for anyone that’s looking for a low noise solution. Considering it size the layout of the A8N-VM CSM is fairly tidy and the power connectors are towards the top of the board. The only slight downside depending on the type of case you use would be that there is only one spare fan header.
If you’re concerned about the performance then let me put your concerns to rest as the A8N-VM CSM performs just as well as nForce 4 SLI boards in SYSMark 2004SE, even with the integrated graphics being used. With an overall score of 217 this is just as fast as the A8N-SLI Premium, which is really impressive as integrated graphics solutions tend to be penalised in SYSMark. The PCMark 2005 scores are on pair with a decent notebook with integrated graphics, although memory and hard drive scores are of course a lot higher.
As I mentioned earlier, this is not a gaming platform by any means as the 3D capabilities are rather basic. Running the default 3DMark 03 tests the overall score was a mere 1538 points. Compare this to 2930 points for a GeForce 6200TC with 32MB – 128MB Turbo Cache of memory and you get the idea. 3DMark 05 fared even worse with the meagre score of 721 points compared to 1169 for the 6200TC.
Although this is all rather disappointing it’s easy to see where the 6150 name was derived from as it’s slower than a 6200. However, as long as you’re aware of the chipsets limitations there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider this board, as it does what it is supposed to do quite well.
Considering that it only costs £61.69 it’s hard to find any major faults with the A8N-VM CSM, although bundling the TV-out and S/PDIF brackets would’ve made it complete. Still, you can’t have it all and hopefully Asus will stock the accessories for those interested.
The Asus A8N-VM CSM is an entry-level platform which, save for some lacklustre 3D results, offers good performance in a silent and compact package. However, it’s lack of TV-out and digital out mean it’s not quite a one-stop-shop for a media centre system.