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DIY pico-ITX kit runs Linux

Dec 10, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 74 views

Via has discovered a cheap source of labor to build ultra-mini PCs based on its pico-ITX boards: its customers. Via's $300 Artigo pico-ITX kit provides do-it-yourselfers with a Via C7 1GHz-based pico-ITX motherboard, a case, and everything else they might need except storage, RAM, and Linux.

(Click for larger view of the Via Artigo pico-ITX kit)

The Via Epia PX10000 pico-ITX mainboard included in the kit is based on a Via C7 processor clocked at 1GHz. It also uses Via's VX700 Unified Digital Media IGP chipset. It supports Linux and other x86 OSes, although some binary drivers may be required under Linux for sound and/or full 3D graphics support.

Artigo front panel
(Click to enlarge)

The Via board offers a SODIMM socket for adding up to 1GB of RAM. IDE and SATA connectors enable the addition of a range of 2.5-inch hard drives. The board also includes 10/100 Ethernet, a VGA port, four USB ports, and audio connections. The kit is said to be equipped with a mounting tray and a variety of cables, including a power connector and an external adaptor.

How the Artigo fits together
(Click to enlarge)

Fully configured, the black-chassis system weighs 1.14 pounds and measures 5.9 x 4.3 x 1.8 inches. The video below, produced by, shows how to put the Artigo together with nothing more than a screwdriver.

Building the Artigo pico-ITX kit
(Click Play to view)

Inside the Artigo box
(Click to enlarge)

The following lists the key specs for the Artigo pico-ITX builder kit:

  • Processor - Via C7 1GHz chipset; Via VX700 Unified Digital Media IGP chipset
  • Memory support — 1 DDR2 533 SODIMM socket for up to 1GB RAM (not included)
  • Hard disk support — 1 UltraDMA 133/100/66 IDE Connector (2.0mm 44-pin Header) for 2.5-inch drive (not included)
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100Mbps RJ-45 LAN port
  • USB — 4 x USB 2.0 ports
  • Audio — 1 x mic-in jack; 1 x line-out jack
  • Display — 1 x VGA port
  • Ribbon Cables — 1 x power; 1 x ATA-66/100/133 IDE; 1 x PS/2; 1 x COM port; 1 x DVI
  • Power supply - 60 Watt power adapter; 1 x DC-to-DC power board
  • Power consumption — 15 Watts in idle (approx.); 20 Watts under full load (mainboard only).
  • Chassis — includes power cord and adaptor
  • Dimensions — 5.9 x 4.3 x 1.8 inches (15 x 11 x 4.5 cm)
  • Weight (average) — 1.14 lbs (520g)
  • OS support - Linux, Windows 2000 / XP, Windows CE, Windows XP Embedded

Artigo mainboard
(Click to enlarge)

Stated Daniel Wu, Assistant VP, Via Embedded Platform Division, “We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the launch of the pico-ITX boards from end-users and the embedded industry alike, so we are delighted to now make it easy for enthusiasts to build their own ultra small personal computer.”

More pico-ITX cases

Meanwhile, more choices are becoming available for housing the pico-ITX. Logic Supply, which claimed to have shipped the world's first pico-IXT case with its early November release of the fanless Serener GS-L08, has released a similar new version aimed at automotive and industrial applications.

Logic Supply's Xeno X07P1 pico-ITX case
The Xeno X07P1 pico-ITX appears to be a fan-cooled version of the GS-L08, adding a keyboard and mouse port. According to Logic Supply, it features built-in mounting flanges that utilize vibration reducing isolators, and offers a removable side plug for additional expansion.

Visual-Data Pico 1 case
In Germany, Visual-Data claims it has been shipping its VDG Pico 1 case for several months. Customers supply their own pico-ITX board for this “barebone” housing, which provides a chassis equipped with a connections for a 2.5-inch hard drive and four USB ports for 71 Euros ($104.50). The Pico 1A adds a power supply for 125 Euros ($184.00).

Finally, for something completely different, Visual-Data has its own YouTube video showing a mini-ITX board being immersed in a tank of water for five minutes. More information on the secret sauce coating the board is promised by February.


The Artigo pico-ITX builder kit is available in December from a variety of sources for $300. The Logic Supply and Visual-Data cases also appear to be shipping. More information on the Artigo is available here.

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