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Via Launches New Line of Mini-ITX Boards 197

An anonymous reader writes "LinuxDevices has the skinny on Via's next-generation Epia EN mini-ITX boards, which feature its relatively new C7 processors based on the Esther C5J core. The boards will be able to run passively cooled at 1.2GHz, and will clock up to 2GHz, with 800MHz FSBs." From the article: "They target thin clients, car PCs, robotics, medical equipment, kiosks, and server appliances."
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Via Launches New Line of Mini-ITX Boards

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  • I've got a ME6000 board that isn't reliable unless there's some air flowing over the heatsink. This was supposedly passively cooled, but I had to add a little fan blowing right at the heatsink to get the temperatures down from 60C to about 38C.

    It even overheated when it wasn't in the box.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "It even overheated when it wasn't in the box."

      Wow! Did it burst into flames on the store shelf?
    • I can agree. I have an VIA EPIA PD-Series, with Eden processor. It frequently hangs so I have to turn it off and on again. I don't trust VIA on this - I will mount a processor fan on it but that pretty much gets rid of the point of getting a fanless processor to begin with.
      • That's bad, especially if you consider that most chips are (AFAIK) ok until they reach about 95C. I had an Eden 533 which got really hot, but it never had any real problems (except its abysmal sound, networking, and graphics chip...).

        Well, I sure hope these new beasts are at least reasonable in performance, in price (up to recently the old Eden boards never really fell in price, while other CPUs ramped up speed and lowered power consumption), and of course in temperature.
        • Eh, well, mobile chips have a Tmax of about 95-100C, but most desktop chips generally are toast at 65-75C. I would imagine passively-cooled chips like the Eden probably are in the former category as fanless units tend to run hotter than actively-cooled parts.

          My 2.2GHz P4-M can get up to 100C and idles at 65C at 1.2GHz, while my 2.2GHz Athlon 64 4200+ can get up to only 65-70C and idles at about 26-27C (a couple of degrees above room temp.)
      • by Bradee-oh! ( 459922 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:59PM (#14911652)
        I run a PD as my firewall/router/server. I suffered frequent hang problems and replaced the cheap power supply I was using with a known-good, better quality supply and haven't had a problem. This is running passively cooled. I've also had a few other Epia boards in the past. My experience says they are very picky on their voltages, but overheating likely isn't the problem.
    • 60C isn't particularly hot for a modern CPU. My XP 1800+ gets that hot - with active cooling. The system should still run stable at those temperatures...
      • Sounds like someone needs to google 'thermal paste'.

          My Athlon64 3200 idles at 32C/89F. Then again, it's watercooled, but even with the old heatsink it never got very hot.
      • If that's an accurate reading, something is wrong. You can run stable at those temps, but you should NOT be seeing those on a standard XP 1800+...45C is about as hot as those chips should get, with reasonable air cooling.

        • I have found that 60C is pretty normal for the Athlon XP line of processors, especially if you have the stock retail cooler or one like it. They run pretty hot, and have to dissipate about 60-75W. In a warm room, my old Athlon XP 2000 (1.75V) used to idle at about 65-70C. In a cool room, about 55-65C. And that was with a dual fan power supply, the stock cooler, a side case fan directly above the CPU, and two other case fans keeping the rig cool. It ran stable, and I found (by experimenting) that it wou
          • Yeah, those Palomino core chips run quite hot. Mine is running at 1733MHz (that's 2100 in hype numbering) and idles at 55C, during big compiles gets around 63. Recently (perhaps from the case being jostled?) the thermal paste got pushed off the area of the die and the thing began to idle at 78C.

            I wish it were easy to underclock the CPU, because I really need nowhere near that much CPU and would definitely prefer lower temperatures. Unfortunately you have to physically unlock it, which carries a bit too h
        • We might just have a different definition of what constitutes reasonable cooling. ;) If my CPU did not heat up to more than 60C under load, I'd reduce cooling to make the whole system more silent. Having it running at 30C as some do is sort of a waste in my eyes; it's very unlikely that one of my components (with the possible exception of HDs) will die from thermal stress before it's obsolete. That said, there still might be something wrong, maybe the thermal paste I used was too old or maybe the heat sink
    • by r00t ( 33219 )
      Choose a heat sink with a thick base and widely spaced fins that all run the same direction. The fins should be about 1/4 inch apart. Do not orient the fins or CPU horizontally. Air should be able to rise (hot air rises) through the fins from bottom to top without being blocked by components above or below. As always, a massive copper heatsink is best.

      Guide the air. There should be a smooth tube running from the bottom of the PC to the top of the PC, with the heat sink embedded in the middle. The heat sink
      • I will second that. I look after 20-30+ EPIA systems. Mostly M, but some V, MII, TC, SP - so nearly all varieties are represented. I use them for all odds-n-sods servers (DNS, News, SMTP, firewalls, VPN using the Via AES accel, archiving, alerts, even some slower file services). The only times I had thermal problems with them was when there was obstruction from cables.
  • by luckytroll ( 68214 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:23PM (#14911354) Homepage
    This is a great platform, if you dont mind the slower speed of the C3/7 processors - but the thing that I have been a little miffed about is the unsupportability to run VMware - hopefully the C7 may fix this.

    • by daniel23 ( 605413 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:28PM (#14912562)
      Hm, my Lan server is an Epia C3-800, running SuSE 8.2 (still). It runs VMware-2.0.4 and in it another SuSE which handles the (mostly harmless, unless I link my pr0n collection) http, ftp, ssh I get here. Both host and guest OS had their uptime wrap around last summer, so I'd argue it is an not entirely unstable setup.

      Oh yes, and it doesnt overheat, either, in spite of me taking all the included fans out. It has a Morex Cubid 2677 case standing on its left side, thus having convection cooling.

    • For small systems that don't need a lot of power I like the form factor, low power usage, and low heat (and fan noise) of the Via proessors. They're great for shoving into a small space or for use where you just don't want noise.

      I wish they could work with Nvidia to come up with a built-in GPU that had enough kick to play decent 3D games on. My 6800 card is almost as big as, and certainly louder, than my mini-itx mobos and is definately bigger than the nano-itx boards I'm waiting for. I really want a powerf
  • Cool but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Life700MB ( 930032 )

    Looks like a very cool home server, but it lacks a second network card, like the MacMini.

    Superb hosting [] 20GB Storage, 1_TB_ bandwidth, ssh, $7.95
    • Well, if you don't need a PCI card, you can probably use the PCI slot (I hope they have one!) for another networking card (unlike the Mac mini I'm sitting at).

      I ran an Eden 533 for a while, and did just that...
    • Re:Cool but... (Score:3, Informative)

      by marcelC ( 592689 )
      The previous C3 "nehemiah" line of epia boards had a model with 2 ethernet ports on it. These should come out for this model as well.
    • via do the epia CL and PD lines which have two ethernet adaptors (and a pci slot too). Its quite possible they will do something similar for this series.

      and all epias have a pci slot (two with a riser card) which you can use to get more ports though you have to choose your case correctly.
    • Besides choosing another VIA EPIA model that does have two network interfaces, or using the PCI slot for a NIC, there's a somewhat neat software solution. You can actually NAT with a single NIC if you assign two IP addressess, and use a switch. It's probably not as secure as proper NAT, because you cannot separate the networks on an Ethernet level. On the other hand, local addresses like are not routable, and thus not practically visible to the outside Internet.
    • For server alone, a second card isn't so necessary, the mini even has gigabit. If you are using the computer as a firewall, then that is a different story, I thought miniITX boards were available with PCI slots and even had riser cards to accept as many as three cards. I think it would be better to use some old decommissioned computer than buy new computer parts for a firewall and low intensity server.
      • Well, it all depends on what kind of server. Consumer-grade routers can be had for $50 and their ~200MHz CPUs handle routing a WAN connection to 4 100Mbit Ethernet NICs and generally wireless too with little problem. Gigabit units are about $150-200 and generally have 8 or more GbE LAN NICs and their hardware isn't that much more powerful than the 100Mbit routers' are. I'd get a router or switch instead of a Epia unit if all you're going to do is use it as a router. Or use that old decomissioned computer to
    • My M10000-based m0n0wall has a 4-port PCI ethernet card in it -- instant built-in hub in the same box as the firewall. :) But I grant you this: an additional ethernet port on the motherboard could be used for a DMZ.
  • PVR (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LordSnooty ( 853791 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:29PM (#14911398)
    And of course they target living-room PVR devices, but with the brouhaha over broadcast flags, maybe it's understandable that they want to keep it quiet. Do it the easy way with Knoppmyth []
  • by urban_gorilla ( 691918 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:37PM (#14911475) Journal
    no thanks. thats the whole point.
  • Hardware Specs (Score:4, Informative)

    by slick_rick ( 193080 ) * <rwrslashdot AT rowell DOT info> on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:41PM (#14911513) Homepage Journal
    I would have bought an EPIA years ago if VIA would open up the specs a bit more. Google around about people getting linux going on these. It is an easy thing to do, as long as you don't want to have everything on the board work (like the SVideo out, the onboard MPEG2 decoder, etc) . It can work from what I understand, just not something I wanted to spend a week trying.

    So is the new line any better? If so I'd buy as I'm in the market for 2 or 3 machines like this. Question is, does VIA even care about the Linux user? Until now the answer has been no.
    • Yeah. It'd also be nice if you could find more than one mini-itx case on the planet that didn't look like pure ass.
    • VIA released source (Score:5, Informative)

      by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:08PM (#14912463) Homepage Journal
      VIA released source for all the hardware on the M10000. It's gradually being cleaned up and integrated into Linux. For example, 2.6 currently supports the hardware RNG and hardware accelerated X11, and the MPEG hardware is supported in mplayer. Sensors work, ethernet works, Firewire and USB work, all with open source drivers. They do a much better job than most other vendors at supporting Linux.

      (If you know of a motherboard with SATA that'll take a CPU that can be passively cooled and has open source drivers for everything, I'd like to hear about it, as I plan to build a bigger server this year.)
    • Bollocks.

      I have Debian running on 30+ of them. All varieties from V onwards. In fact it has been the primary small server platform for all of my projects for 2+ years now.

      Ubuntu and Knoppix also run fine.

      I have heard about some problems with RHEL on the lowe end C3 which is not surprising because AFAIK RHEL nowdays by default comes with a 686 kernel which requires SSE. All you need to do is force it to use a 586 or lower kernel (if it ships with one). It should be OK with C7 and all higher end C3s (nehemia
  • Now that Linksys is abandoning Linux completely there aren't many SOHO routers for hackers out there anymore. My electric bill here in the northeast USA is running almost $150 a month this winter - and it's been warm. Can't wait for air-conditioner season. But I digress... Passive cooling = no fan, right? If these things are quiet AND efficient they might really have something there, although 2 GHz for a router seems excessive. Maybe not once you add in network storage, a web server, a Radius server a
    • For SOHO, do you *really* need 2ghz for web server, router, storage, etc?

      1.2ghz ought to be fine for that, which is what they claim it will run while being passively cooled.

      Minus the vpn tunnels, I ran a web/mail/storage/router/firewall server, under linux, on a P3550mhz. I'm sure the VPN tunnels wouldn't require THAT much CPU time...

    • If these things are quiet AND efficient they might really have something there, although 2 GHz for a router seems excessive.

      Exactly correct: 2G is excessive for a router. However, if it can be passively cooled at 2G (well, the article states passively cooled at 1.2G), then it should be very cool when it is underclocked to run at a speed adequate to handle router-specific tasks. Just because the power is there doesn't mean you need to utilize it all; underclocking* is great in situations where cooling is
    • There are *plenty* of "SOHO" routers for hackers. Linksys were always jut the "crappy but well marketed" ones. Lots of Netgear and ZyXel routers are plenty hackable, run linux, use the same processors as the linksys routers, have more features, and are signifigantly cheaper.

      Release yourself from the grip of the Linksys fanboys.
    • by questionlp ( 58365 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:21PM (#14911828) Homepage
      It may not be a retail product, but you can always get a Soekris kit that has multiple Ethernet interfaces, 128 or 256MB of RAM and supports CF for additional storage for around $300 (net4801-50, 128MB version, with a total of 5 Ethernet interfaces). []

      It runs off of a 586-class processor and with all of the fixins, would only draw around 20-25W. Not bad for something that can run Linux or *BSD. I haven't messed with one yet, but they do look pretty good even for a small server that can provide: SSH, FTP, web, NTP, DNS, DHCP, etc. Heck, it may replace my Sun Blade 100 one of these days ;)
      • by TopSpin ( 753 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:58PM (#14912089) Journal
        that has multiple Ethernet interfaces

        I'd have bought several Epia boards by now if they had just put a useful number of Ethernet ports on board. Their 2-port boards look like one-offs and do not inspire. I want a board with 3 ports. If you're going to talk about "server appliance" you need 2+ network ports... Yet, from the photos I see here their latest stuff has

        wait for it

        1 port.


      • I'd also recommend the PC Engines WRAP [] line. I have one in a 6"x6"x1" box, and it boots happily from a compact flash card. It has two mini-PCI slots, one of which has an 802.11a/b/g card (antenna mounted on the case, four antennae supported) and the other will gain a crypto accelerator at some point.
    • You don't need a 2Ghz part for a router. My C3 1.2Ghz part runs Gentoo Linux [yes, I build stuff on the thing] and it handles traffic just fine. It can ipchains NAT traffic at full modem speed [which admitedly at 700Kbyte/sec isn't that fast].

      The newer 2Ghz parts may give you more oomph but for a router/nat/dhcp/bind box they're not required.

    • Linksys bailed on linux in the standard WRT54G. They took it out and used all the good press the thing had to start selling a less capable machine as the same product. But now they make the WRT54GL, which is the exact same as the old WRT54G.
  • Not too exciting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) * <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:44PM (#14911539) Homepage Journal
    From the looks of it, they're just releasing a chip that is 40% less of a dog than the existing chip. Still not that great. It is a bit more power efficent than a Pentium-M, but you really pay for that in the performance. Not a terribly exciting chip IMHO, but one that will probably find some use in set-top appliances and the like.
    • The chip has special inctructions for AES, SHA, RSA, and true (non-algorithmic) random number generation.

      You can do a round of AES crypto in 1 or 2 clock cycles. This chip does AES about 8x faster than the fastest Intel and AMD CPUs, and much much faster clock-for-clock.

      So if you run a web server or ssh server that gets bogged down by crypto, get this CPU.
  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:51PM (#14911588)
    VIA so far has ignored all begging owners of other MiniITX boards to release Windows drivers that can run 800x480 resolution. This is the native resolution of nearly all 7" wide-screen displays, very popular with Car PC builders.

    I sincerly hope VIA will listen this time and release a driver that fits the requests of all these CarPC project owners.

    Also, there's been a MiniITX board with 12V-only power input. Unfortunately the 12V must be within +/- 5%, making it again unsuitable for Car PC usage. Why can't they release a board with wide voltage input (7V - 28V), and if at all possible with a built-in shutdown controller??
    • Why can't they release a board with wide voltage input (7V - 28V)

      Probably because this would significantly increase the price of the parts, (being that they would need to be of much higher quality), and/or require them to incorporate a voltage-regulating power supply, which would (a) increase the size, and (b) increase the heat output. You can probably do the second part on your own, anyway...
    • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:28PM (#14911885)

      I know I'll get moderated as a troll again because I suggest using Linux over Windows, but

      Modeline "800x480" 40 800 864 928 1088 480 481 484 509 +hsync

      Will do the trick for X. No drivers necessary.

      • Besides being a troll, It's also my understanding that many of the apps car pc users enjoy aren't available in Linux nor are similar replacements. Specificly in the area of map applications that tie into GPS.
      • X Configuration. Yeah, those were the days.
        Setting Color, V-Frequency and Resolution to a non-sucking condition on Suse 6.4. Getting the newest NVidia drivers to run on Suse 7.2 only to watch Sax wreck havoc on the XF86Config. Sweating bulltets while trying to recover X into runable condition. Finding the right setting on Debian to run Loki's Tribes 2 in hardware mode.
        Nothing like hand-cofigging your XF86Config. All you miss is the dirt, heat and steam and having to shovel coals into a hatch below your PSU
    • has anyone tried manually setting that resoloution though editing the registry?

      and if so did it work?
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:53PM (#14911609)
    Via have been making small, cheap, low power cores for some time, whilse Intel and AMD moved to large, expensive high power one.

    Now there's a move to multi core designs and blade servers, and even the slowest x86 server is probably over powered for a server, you have to wonder if they could do an x86 version of Niagara []

    From here []

    "You can also see a quad-core C7, could be manufactured for the same cost as a single core P4 on 90 nm process."

    Now Niagara is 8 core and each core has four threads admittedly, but there's something to be said for a four way x86 chip for blades. The power consumption wouldn't be too bad either. But you can have four C7 cores per P4 core. If I were AMD for example, I'd be playing around with an x86 Niagara. 1390b277b98?hl=en& []

    Hmm, and I'd find (or invent) some new benchmarks too.
    • If I were AMD for example, I'd be playing around with an x86 Niagara.

      I think too many existing programs in the x86 world are still course grain multithreaded (at best) for AMD or Intel to make a go of 8 core x 4 smt for an architecture. Certainly for desktop processors, multicore is still of limited utility. Look at the number of games that are not multithreaded. The speed benefits on these games when running dual core are, as yet, limited.

      Even in the web area, there's at least as much of a push for blade s

    • Speaking of processors, whatever happened to the "C4?" Did they just skip that number? I certainly hope not, since I was looking forward to getting a laptop with a "C4 inside" sticker (fun for airports!).
  • Personally (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @06:53PM (#14911612) Homepage Journal
    I'm much more interested in what happens when you hold the processing power constant and drop the price, as the price performance ratio drops.

    I understand that it's not attractive for a company to look at lower margin items, but imagine if you could retail something like the original mini ITX boards in the price range of, say, $50 (it's currently about $110). Every garage inventor in the country would be creating new embedded computing applications.
    • Even if the boards are kept quite cheap, you have the problem of finding (cheap) appropriately sized cases. There just isn't the volume for these things, so the cost of a case is about 2x the cost of a generic mini-atx PC case. Of course you could build your own case... however, that requires a whole mess of tools and costs and time too.
      • by kfg ( 145172 )
        . . .you could build your own case... however, that requires a whole mess of tools and costs and time too.

        And who really wants to be an inventor if it means having to deal with a whole mess of tools and building shit, like . . .a box.

        Maybe they just don't make inventors and engineers like they used to, but we used to be able to handle making a tin box pretty good.

        • I don't think the price of the motherboards was keeping inventors from toying with embedded devices based on them. So I think we can assume he was talking about putting a hacked together product into moderate production. Sure, someone can build a tin box by hand, but is the time worth it when you are making a few hundred of the things yourself?
  • I love the silence (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Got 3 of these now, a Nehemia and 2 Edens (566 and 800MHz fanless). I use them for making music and editing sound.
    Even though they are not amazingly powerful I would never go back to some huge whirring pizza oven. No hard drives either, all boot from 4G IDE flash drives, one with a modified Dynebolic/Puppy linux crossbreed and the other I usually boot DSL (Damn small = fits on a 512M USB thumbdrive) Not a single moving part in the room! (unless you include me, and I don;t move much) All the sound files are
  • ah, more via pain (Score:5, Informative)

    by Blymie ( 231220 ) * on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:05PM (#14911704)
    I have had, and know so many Linux users that have had, problem with VIA chipsets. DMA issues, issues with lockups, VIA unwilling to communicate with Linux developers on resolving them.

    Most recently an Asus board I owned last year, locked up as solid as a monkey if any heavy DMA activity occured. Worse, after doing hours of Google searches, I managed to find info stating that Windows drivers disabled various chip functions, so that the chipset could run in a stable function.

    Apparently, from the slant of posts that I read, it was taken as fact that VIA often had issues with chipsets, and merely patched those issues with drivers. Typically, one buying a VIA board in Windows would end up with degradation of their chipset via drivers. Linux users were, however, not so lucky. VIA would ignore all pleas and requests about issues with their chipset, and the belief was that they did not want such issues with their chips to "make it to the press". Acknowledging that they had reduced chipset performance with drivers, would obviously not go over well. Chipsets are marketed to certain specs, and using drivers to "make it work", but not deliver those specs is clearly opening liability.

    After reading this, I looked at issues I'd had over the years with graphic cards causing hardware lockups, boxes that would randomly reboot and the like. In almost all cases it tended to be with system that contained VIA chipsets. Further, I also found posts from many Myth users, complaining about DMA issues with their mini-itx boards.

    VIA? I'd recommened everyone stay away.... I sure the heck do! Time isn't worth the $20 you save by walking away from an Intel or SiS chipset. Sure, these chipsets have issues, but Intel and SiS both seem a little more talkative with Linux developers.. and tend to produce a better product. VIA seems produce these flaws in almost _all_ of their chipsets.

    My experience, sure. You'll have to make up your own mind. All I know is that $20 in savings is peanuts over 20 hours of debugging.. when the debugging is a useless task.
    • Re:ah, more via pain (Score:3, Interesting)

      by proxima ( 165692 )
      VIA? I'd recommened everyone stay away.... I sure the heck do! Time isn't worth the $20 you save by walking away from an Intel or SiS chipset. Sure, these chipsets have issues, but Intel and SiS both seem a little more talkative with Linux developers.. and tend to produce a better product. VIA seems produce these flaws in almost _all_ of their chipsets.

      My experience, sure. You'll have to make up your own mind.

      Not that anecdotes are all that meaningful to others, but I've had relatively good luck with VIA ch
      • by Malor ( 3658 )
        The KT133 was terrible. You must not work your computers very hard. The KT133 was a disaster in all respects, and it gave the early Athlons an undeserved bad name. The CPUs were excellent, but the boards were complete shit, no matter who made them. A quick search on Google for KT133 problems shows NINETY THOUSAND hits.

        The KT266 and 333 were pretty good as Windows desktops. But I'm using one as a Linux server now, and it's... not great. I have to run it with APIC disabled. Turning on APIC (in recent 2.6
        • by proxima ( 165692 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:03PM (#14913029)
          The KT133 was terrible. [...] A quick search on Google for KT133 problems shows NINETY THOUSAND hits.

          The KT133 was immensely popular, as I recall. It's no surprise that lots of people report problems with it. On the other hand, I didn't say that the KT133 was particularly great, just that it was stable for me (while using it as an example of how the quality of the motherboard manufacturer seemed to matter a great deal). I leave beating the heck out of chipsets for review websites, which then form a decent basis of my purchases (at least since the KT400). Performance? It wasn't high on my priority list.

          I don't recall noticing huge performance differences in benchmarks of articles I read, but I could certainly be mistaken. I would still take a decent performance hit if it meant greater stability (which is why I stay far away from overclocking). I tend to buy the low end (but good quality) of what's available at that time, and upgrade more often (I think it provides more consistent relative performance at a good value).

          Overall, I'd jump at an Intel chipset, since Linux support is probably most consistently good there. But when the AMD options are just so much more appealing, you're left with VIA, SiS, and NVIDIA (roughly speaking), and I still have no compelling reason to move off of VIA.
    • No problems here with an Asus A8V Deluxe (Via K8T800 Pro chipset) or Epox 8K3A+ (KT333+8233A chipset). In contrast, some friends have had problems with various nForce chipsets.

      Your motherboard may vary.
    • Well, my M10000 has 181 days of uptime... and it's only that low because I powered it down to rearrange some cabling. It has never locked up.

      On the other hand, a friend went through hell with nForce.

      Also, you start off talking about VIA under Linux, then suddenly switch to talking about Asus under Windows as if that's relevant. Huh?
  • DVI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yet another coward ( 510 ) <> on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:10PM (#14911738)
    I am disappointed to see the persistence of VGA rather than DVI. According to the page, an LVDS/DVI module will be available. All the tiny LCDs should move to the digital world, too. It would make them a little smaller and cooler.
  • by palfrey ( 198640 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:14PM (#14911769) Homepage
    Given VIA's history of "rapid with press releases, incredibly slow with actual boards" (NanoITX anyone?), any bets on how long before we see available boards? I'm betting mid-2007 personally...
  • too slow to boot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tota ( 139982 ) on Monday March 13, 2006 @07:27PM (#14911881) Homepage
    I've toyed with these boards on more than one occasion for fun and profit, and the thing that really prevents you from using them in the embedded space is the amount of time it takes to boot the bloody thing.
    Around 30s at the best of times to get to a shell with init=/bin/bash and only a little less if you use the linux bios. Disappointing to say the least, no decent set-top box can take more than 5, maybe 10 seconds to start.
    Even using suspend to boot directly into a running system is not going to help since most of this time is going to be spent in the bios.

    Not to mention that some boards come with a compact flash, but you can't boot from it! What's the f... point?
    • Disappointing to say the least, no decent set-top box can take more than 5, maybe 10 seconds to start.

      Do you have a TiVo? Do you have any idea how long it takes to turn on a TiVo? Mine (a series 2 DirecTiVo) takes over one minute to boot. My brother's (a series 2 stand alone) takes about the same time.

      For something that will stay plugged in for long periods of time, boot time doesn't matter. Turn the thing on, load everything up, and when the user want to "turn it off" you let them put it in standby. Almo

    • Disappointing to say the least, no decent set-top box can take more than 5, maybe 10 seconds to start.

      Tell that to TiVo and DirecTV. My DirecTiVo takes well over a minute.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "They target thin clients.."

    What about those of us who aren't so thin? Have they had problems with the not so thin using their boards?
  • on the same website, though a bit old, an interview with the CEO, pretty interesting how they started building their humble line of CPUs amid the big-guy CPU wars: []

  • Price.
    function checkOutCheapAndSmallComp()
      if (newMiniITXLine.notablyCheaperThan(MacMini))
      return interesting = true;
      } else {
      return pointless = utterly;
    Since the MacMini all the small component, low power PC solutions have missed out. Only if MiniITX board and CPU+casing+powersupply+drive+ram+hdd is cheaper than the MacMini, only then will it stand a chance.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong