Feb 24 2012

News - VIA QuadCore EPIA-M900 Mini-ITX: Announced and Hands-On


VIA has announced a pair of new mini-ITX boards, the EPIA-M900 and EPIA-M910, aimed at digital signage and consumer media applications. The new boards can be outfitted with the VIA Nano X2 processor, but are also the first to support VIA's QuadCore processors. Both boards pair the processor with the VX900 chipset that we most recently saw VIA using on their Nano X2-powered VE-900 boards.

Remember the QuadCore CPU Via introduced last spring? We've been waiting for the chip to pop up in actual products, and now it has. Via's new EPIA-M900 and EPIA-M910 Mini-ITX boards are available with the quad-core CPU.

Tech Report

The VIA QuadCore comes in three different speed points. At the high-end is the L4800E running at a base clock speed of 1.46GHz, while at the low-end VIA offers the U4650E with a base clock speed of 1.0GHz. Sitting right in the middle is the L4700E which our friends at VR-Zone got to spend some time with on one of the new EPIA-M900 boards. There does seem to be promise here, but like most of VIA's recent offerings, I suspect the QuadCore processor and the new EPIA motherboards don't offer quite enough performance for most living room HTPCs.

The EPIA-M900 can also be equipped with an S3 graphics card as per the one we were demoed and this allows for up to four 1080p displays to be connected. The system could even handle four 1080p video streams simultaneously, although this did slow down the system to a crawl, but at least the videos appeared to play just fine without any stuttering.


Dec 17 2011

News - VIA Mainboards Support Android Starting with EITX-3002

Intel and Google got together a few months ago to announce that they were working together to optimize Android support for the x86 architecture, but Intel's plans were for releases to begin in 2012. In the meantime, VIA is announcing that they too are stepping up support for Android on x86 starting with the EITX-3002. The EITX-3002 is aimed at embedded systems, so we probably aren't going to see DIYers rushing to roll their own Android-based HTPCs, but it is an interesting first step. VIA is stating that all of their future mainboards will include Android support. Given Android's mobile roots and rich collection of media-centric apps, VIA's low-power systems could be a fine complement to the OS.

VIA EITX-3002 Mainboard

The mainboard is aimed at multiple embedded applications including in-car entertainment and digital signage. The processor on the board is a 1.2GHz Nano X2 or a 1GHz Eden X2. The small mainboard also has a VIA VX900H media system processor to support HD video up to 1080p resolution in multiple formats.


Dec 07 2011

News - VIA Writes the Book on Mini-ITX

VIA Technologies developed the Mini-ITX format 10 years ago and it quickly became the preferred platform for modders the world over. In celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the launch of the platform, VIA has self-published an e-book titled "Small is Beautiful: 10 Years of Mini-ITX" detailing the development of the platform and highlighting some of the best Mini-ITX mods of the last 10 years. Flipping through the virtual pages was a trip down memory lane. I was a huge fan of the Humidor PC and the Millennium Falcon PC, the latter of which was also the PC that introduced my kids to the concept of modding. My most rewarding computer build was my first Mini-ITX system that I built into the drawer space of a cabinet desk. I've never really done a whole lot of other modding, but every so often I get an itch to mod my primary HTPC into a "hiding in plain sight" system similar to some of the ones highlighted in VIA's e-book. Anyone have a fantastic Mini-ITX or HTPC mod to share?

It's hard to believe, but it's been a whole decade since VIA created the Mini-ITX form factor with the launch of its Mini-ITX VT6010. The rest is ongoing history, but what's really cool is how VIA is celebrating the occasion.


Nov 15 2011

News - VIA VE-900 Mini-ITX Motherboard Released

Intel isn't the only CPU manufacturer launching new platforms. VIA recently announced the VE-900 Mini-ITX motherboard geared toward low-powered media PCs. VIA doesn't get alot of attention these days, but they have been focused on small integrated systems for a while now. The Nano X2 processor and VX 900 media processor that team up on the VE-900 board probably wouldn't satisfy my expectations for the living room, but I could see the VE-900 fitting nicely into a bedroom HTPC build.

It's capable of playing back Full HD 1080p video and also supports high fidelity surround sound through the VIA VT1708S HD audio codec, which supports 24-bit stereo and up to 192kHz sample rates. There are two DIMM slots that support up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, two SATA ports, and a standard PCI slot.


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