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back to article VIA takes tiny mobo spec to second generation

VIA has launched the second generation of its Mini-ITX micro motherboard form-factor. Mini-ITX 2.0 retains the 17 x 17cm size of its predecessor, but now mandates a chipset capable of hosting a PCI Express x16 slot for a graphics card. The chipset should have sufficient integrated graphical horsepower to handle DirectX 9 …

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What!, no DVI port?

Come on, no DVI port as standard?, no right minded person these days will put a new PC together with out opting to at least upgrade there screen. I Mean digital flat panel screens are very common and cheap atm. (he says Writing this on his very cheap 22" Samsung wide-screen).

Not to mention that most DVI things come with the VGA dongle anyway for you old farts who like to run your Ethernet on thin-net and your sever farms on thick-net.

A cap of 2Gb's of ram seems a bit low too. But that's the power user coming out in me.

What spec of PCIe is it, I or II?, as I am interested in this for ye ald SFF Gaming machine.

Mind u, not with the home grown Nano stuff, not enough grunt from that CPU for games. Still I live in hope of my A5 sized gaming monster PC.

-Ano

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Wot, no 1394

...Or a floppy connector. I still want one ;o)

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comments...

I imagine that the VGA only is so that they could slap a cheaper onboard video chip on there, then convince you to put a real video card in the PCIe slot.

The 2gb memory cap fits the system capabilities pretty well - anything that needs more than 2gb is going to need a seriously nicer cpu (And if this is anything like their older kit that I own, much fewer IO bottlenecks.)

I've always really loved the mini-itx deal. Should be especially nice now that laptop harddrives and flash are so cheap too. Though I'd look for one with an onboard CF and mini pci slot... But that's just me.

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Now we're starting to get somewhere...

This is more in line with what I had in mind when I originally set out to build an home entertainment PC. But (and there always is a but) it needs an extra PCI slot for that dual TV tuner card...

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Anonymous Coward

too big - too many unnecessary ports

17x17 cm is no longer "mini", it's huuuuuuge, way too big.

Also, a very large number of small boards are actually used to build appliances. For those applications, there should be a version of the board which doesn't have any of the ports only needed for desktop applications. Generally, for an appliance all you need is one or two ethernet ports, one USB and one serial (for attaching a console), nothing else is needed. A mini-PCI slot would also help.

The market of smaller boards is crowded already, hundreds of different designs out there, by contrast in the market for cut down embedded boards there are only a handful. Time for manufacturers to serve this market.

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Go

Something like this is already on the market...

MSI's Fuzzy GM965 fits that bill, and it's in production and on the market right now. (in fact, I'm typing on a machine running on one...)

http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=Fuzzy_GM965&class=ipc

They also have a line for AMD, but with no PCI Express slots.

It is nice to see that Via is specifying it as part of a spec, though- It was an interesting time finding mini-itx boards that didn't cost an arm, leg, and half a buttock that did was I wanted.

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Happy

Great news. Now...CPU?

I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want I want ..... *(^o^)*

Ok that said I hope the board offers more of their faster CPU's. I've read at times they've sold faster CPUs to corporate partners than the ones sold in the mass market boards. I wouldn't compromise the low watt lead offerings they have on them but their faster CPUs(if still lower in watts than others) would serve well to be offered on the mass boards as well.

Thank you VIA for the Video slot. That's the single most thing I've been in need of on that form factor. I hope it's addition pays off.

BTW. I would like to see a low watt "multi-core" VIA CPU and a Mini-ITX 2.0.

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What, no e-SATA?

Why set a top limit at all on memory at all? Let the chipset and RAM guys worry about how much memory you can cram into two DIMM slots.

P-ATA seems like a waste of money too - if you've only got two drive bays you might as well fit them both with SATA devices. P-ATA may be an option for optical drives but it's seriously old hat.

I for one think Micro-ITX is a great form factor, but it almost seems as if VIA doesn't take it as seriously as the "big rigs" like ATX.

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Happy

Um - did I misread?

"VIA's spec calls for a VGA port on the board, with HDMI delivered by the add-in card. What, no DisplayPort? HD sound is part of the spec too, with a trio of audio connectors for multi-channel output."

So it gets HDMI via an addon card - HDMI = DVI + audio, so we've got DVI covered.

"The board should provide two 3Gb/s SATA drives ports and a parallel ATA connector, plus Gigabit Ethernet and at least four USB 2.0 ports. The mobo should allow up to 2GB of DDR 2 memory to be installed."

Should allow up to 2GB, may allow more - this isn't a top limit, looks like a bottom limit to me - Must provide up to 2GB...

Sound like nice boards, let's hope they run decent fanless CPUS in there...

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Linux

Home server

For any home user who wants a small server, but doesn't want to use much power, this looks good. onboard Gigabit Ethernet and multiple SATA ports make it "Via"ble. Dedicated to serving a few files and Email for a family doesn't need a fast CPU, even doing software RAID. How's the Linux support?

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Anonymous Coward

Too big for a home server

There are far better boards out there for building DIY appliances, for example the Soekris and PCengines boards. They are smaller and extremely low power. No unnecessary stuff like video etc, thus less space, less power consumption. The newest boards have the AMD Geode LX800, which runs at 500 MHz but is roughly equivalent to a Pentium III clocked at 800 MHz and consumes less than 5W peak. That's the kind of thing you want for an appliance. The VIA boards are OK for desktops and kiosk terminals, but for servers they are not that great.

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Happy

Wot, no onboard coffee machine

Call this a Board!!!!

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Too Big?

Then you want to get yourself a Via PicoITX board ... perhaps like the one in Via's ARTiGO PC: 1GHz CPU, integrated SXGA graphics, 1GB RAM, 4 x USB, 1 x IDE, HD Audio, 100mbps network, VGA/DVI out (serial optional).

I'd argue that 4 x USB is the absolute minimum - less than that and you'll run into issues connecting keyboards, mice, cameras, GPS, controllers, robots, etc.

See "Assembling an Artigo Pico-ITX device" (http://www.bitcrazed.com/2008/05/26/AssemblingAnArtigoPicoITXDevice.aspx) for more details and photos.

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