View Full Version : VIA unveils minuscule Pico-ITXe motherboard

Dalo Harkin
31-10-2008, 12:44 PM
EPIA-P710 has an area of just 72cm², and features DirectX 9 graphics, HD audio and stackable I/O expansion boards
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If you thought that VIA’s modder-friendly 170 x 170mm Mini-ITX motherboards were small, then prepare for a ‘wow’ moment, as VIA’s new Pico-ITXe EPIA-P710 motherboard is a quarter of the size.

VIA has just unveiled the board at the Embedded System Conference (http://www.cmp-egevents.com/web/escb) (ESC) in Boston, and it measures just 10 x 7.2cm, making for a total area of just 72cm², compared with 289cm² on a standard Mini-ITX board. There’s not a lot to it, though, which is because it forms just the skeleton of a system.

On the board, you’ll find two main chips; a 1GHz VIA C7 CPU and a VIA VX800 chipset, which features an S3 Chrome9 IGP that supports DirectX 9, as well as hardware MPEG-2/4 and WMV9 acceleration. The chipset also has a VIA Vinyl HD audio codec, with appropriate pin-outs on the board, and the board features a single EIDE channel and S-ATA connector, plus a 1Gb/sec Ethernet chip.

Otherwise, the board is a pretty sp**** affair, and there’s a reason for that, which is that it has a modular plug-in architecture, which VIA calls SUMIT (stackable unified module interconnect technology). The idea is that you can stack expansion boards on top of the board to provide the I/O features that you want. These include boards to add a 4x PCI-E slot and up to two 1x PCI-E slots, as well as three USB 2 ports.

Much like VIA’s Mini-ITX motherboards, the new Pico-ITXe motherboard standard is targeted at the embedded computing market, but the highly flexible modular system could make for some interesting modding projects if you could get your hands on one, particularly as it supports Windows XP as standard. Restricting the need for horizontal space, and giving you the ability to stack the boards, this could result in PCs of all different shapes and sizes. VIA will ship the EPIA P-710 in December this year.

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