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Via-based mini-ITX board packs I/O, supports LCDs, runs Linux

Apr 29, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive

iBase Technology is shipping a Via-based mini-ITX board that supports Linux. The MB720 uses the same chipset used in newer Via mini-ITX boards, and is available with an LVDS module supporting 4:3 and 16:9 LCD displays. It targets industrial, gaming, medical, digital entertainment and other applications requiring stable and long lifecycle platforms.

(Click for larger view of MB720)

The MB720 appears to be based on the same chipset found in the newest mini-ITX boards from Via. It is available with either the C3 or Eden (embedded) x86-compatible processor from Via, clocked at 1GHz. It uses the CN400 northbridge, found in the newest Via boards, and the VT 8237, which supports 5.1-capable AC97 audio.

The CN400 includes Via's UniChrome Pro IGP graphics core, which can be supported under Linux by kernel and xfree86/X.org video drivers recently contributed to the open source community by Via (the drivers rely on a binary-only library).

The MB720 is optionally available with the ID380 18/24-bit dual-channel LVDS module, which supports VGA (640×480), SVGA (800×600), or XGA (1024X768) LCD modules. The ID380 can also support 16:9 LCDs at 1280×768 resolution. iBase says other required resolutions can be supported, but would require iBase “taking some time” to do BIOS modifications.


The “F” option adds a gigabit Ethernet port

Additional I/O includes a PCI slot and a mini-PCI slot, two Serial ATA channels, two Firewire (IEEE1394) ports, six USB 2.0 ports, one 10/100Mbps LAN port, TV out port, watchdog timer, and four COM ports. Additionally, an MB720F version is available, which adds a gigabit Ethernet port.

Availability

The MB720 and MB720F are available now through a number of global distributors. In the US, Technoland stocks the boards, priced at $308 and $360, respectively, in single quantities. Technoland says it does not stock LVDS modules, but can order the ID380 (“probably for about 40 or 50 dollars,” a company spokesperson said).


 
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