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Icop updates itsy bitsy Linux desktop

Dec 3, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 34 views

DMP Electronics and subsidiary Icop Technology have announced a tiny, silent PC that may be the smallest full-featured Linux desktop yet. The eBox-4300 measures 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.4 inches, has a 500MHz x86-compatible Via processor, and supports up to 1GB of RAM.

(Click here for a larger view of the eBox-4300)

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If the eBox-4300 looks familiar, that's because it uses the same case as the company's earlier eBox-2300SX, based on a 300MHz Vortex86SX SoC from Taiwan-based DMP Microelectronics (parent company of Icop Technology). The eBox-2300SX, in turn, is an upgraded version of the eBox-2300 that Bangkok-based reseller Nohrtec recently recently touted as the least expensive available Linux system, at $85.

While retaining the eBox-2300[SX]'s size and weight (18 ounces), the eBox-4300 shifts up a gear, employing the 500MHz Eden ULV processor introduced by Via in August. The tiny box also uses Via's CX700M integrated northbridge/southbridge, a highly integrated part supporting mobile as well as sessile deployments.

According to Via, this processor and companion chip combo consumes a max of 4.5 watts. Understandably, then, the little eBox-4300 is able to operate without a fan. Its light weight also allows the system to be hung from the back of any monitor that sports VESA standard mounting holes, according to Icop.


eBox-4300 ports

The little PC's chipset integrates a VT1708 audio codec based on high-definition audio technology licensed from Intel. This is a big step up from the 8-bit mono audio in the eBox 2300, and should enable the device to serve as an ultimate Linux-based MP3 server platform.

The chipset also integrates Via's infamous UniChrome Pro II graphics core, offering acceleration for MPEG-2/-4 and 2D with open source Linux drivers from the OpenChrome project, and some support for 3D acceleration and WMV9 decoding with closed drivers.

The eBox-4300 comes with 512MB of DDR2 RAM onboard and is said to accept up to 1GB. A VGA supports resolutions up to 1920 x 1440 pixels.

While the eBox-4300 apparently does not have room for a hard drive internally, it does have an internally accessible EIDE (UltraDMA 133) connector. This, it seems likely to follow the eBox-2300[SX] tradition of offering either a pair of serial ports or room for a small hard drive. Storage could also be added via the system's three USB ports (two on the front, one on the rear), or its Type II/III CompactFlash slot.

Features and specifications listed by Icop for the eBox-4300 include:

  • Processor — Via Eden ULV processor clocked at 500MHz
  • Memory — 512MB of DDR2 RAM, expandable to 1GB
  • Display — Via UniChrome II, supporting resolutions up to 1920 x 1440 pixels
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100 Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8100B chipset)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x RS-232
    • VGA
    • 1 x PS/2 (supports keyboard and mouse with Y-adapter)
    • 1 x EIDE (UltraDMA 133)
    • Audio — mic in, line out
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x Type II/III CompactFlash slot
    • 1 x miniPCI socket

  • Dimensions — 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.4 inches

  • Weight — 18 ounces
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60 deg. C (32 to 140 deg. F)

According to Icop, the eBox-4300 will be available in January. Operating system support was cited as being for Windows XP Embedded and “XP-oriented platforms,” although the device should also support Linux fine, being based on commodity PC components. Pricing was not disclosed.

Another slightly smaller (5 x 3.4 x 1.5) and slightly more powerful system (the same chip clocked at 1GHz) is the PicoPC1 and PicoPC2, recently announced by Sharp and Tappin Technology and based on Via Pico-ITX boards.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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