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Mini-ITX board targets 64-bit industrial apps

Jun 29, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Via announced a Mini-ITX board with 1GHz or 1.3GHz versions of its embedded-oriented Nano E-Series 3000 processor. The Via Epia-M840 offers support for dual LVDS displays, up to 4GB of DDR2 memory, dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and a PCI Express x4 expansion slot, the company says.

The Epia-M840 is aimed at embedded device designs in the industrial and factory management arenas, Via says. Examples include "applications that integrate remote network access, network management and other advanced application management scenarios," the company adds.

Via Epia-M840

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As its name implies, the Epia-M840 is a relative of several recently released, Nano-equipped Mini-ITX boards from Via, such as the Epia-M800 announced last December and the Epia-M830 announced in May. Like these boards, it employs Via's VX800 northbridge/southbridge, which is cited for its DirectX9 integrated graphics and HD audio. And, like the Epia-M830, the M-840 uses new embedded-optimized, 64-bit Nano E-Series processors, which offer virtualization capabilities and extended longevity support.

Epia-M840 detail

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The E-Series is technically similar to the Nano 3000 series announced in November, which added support for Intel's SSE4 instruction set extensions, rather than the previous SSE3 set used with the standard Nano or Intel Atom. As a result of these enhancements, the Nano E-Series can deliver up to 20 percent greater performance than previous Nanos, while using up to 20 percent less power, claims Via.

Epia-M840 from the top
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According to Via, the Epia-M840 can run fanlessly with a 1.2GHz processor, or can step up to a 1.3GHz model (which the company's data sheet oddly cites as "running at 1.6GHz"). The VX800 chip, meanwhile, offers video acceleration for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, and VC-1 video formats, plus a VMR capable HD video processor, says Via.

Epia-M840 ports

The Epia-M840 is said to accept twice the memory of the Epia-M830, thanks to two DIMM sockets that hold up to 4GB. The board also offers dual gigabit Ethernet ports instead of its predecessor's one, plus twice as many serial ports — two on its coastline (above) and six via pin headers.

The board's real-world I/O also includes a VGA output, a PS/2 connector, four USB 2.0 ports, and three audio jacks (mic in, line out, line in), according to Via. Headers provide two 24-bit LVDS outputs, two additional USB ports, eight digital I/Os, and an S/PDIF digital audio output, Via adds.

Epia-M840 block diagram

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Storage is catered for via an IDE connector, dual SATA connectors, and a Type I CompactFlash slot, according to Via. We did not see mention of any wireless networking option, but the Epia-M840 is said to include a PCI Express x4 expansion slot. Also cited are a watchdog timer and wake-on-LAN functionality.

Features and specifications listed by Via for the Epia-M840 include:

  • Processor — Via Nano E-Series clocked at 1.2GHz (fanless) or 1.3GHz
  • Chipset — Via VX800
  • Memory — up to 4GB of 533/667MHz DDR2 RAM
  • Expansion — 1 x PCI Express x4, CompactFlash Type I
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet (rear panel)
  • Other I/O:
    • Rear panel:
      • 1 x PS/2
      • 1 x VGA
      • 2 x RS232 (selectable 5V/12V power)
      • 4 x USB 2.0
      • audio — mic in, line in, line out
    • Onboard headers:
      • 2 x USB 2.0
      • 1 x front audio
      • 1 x PS/2
      • 6 x RS232 (selectable 5V/12V power)
      • 1 x LPT
      • 2 x digital I/O (GPI x 8 and GPO x 8)
      • 1 x SIR (IrDA 1.0)
      • 1 x LPC
      • 1 x SMBUS
      • 1 x S/PDIF
      • 1 x 24-LVDS
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 140 deg. F (0 to 60 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 6.7 x 6.7 inches (17 x 17cm); Mini-ITX
  • Operating system — Linux, Windows CE, Windows XP/XPe

Stated Daniel Wu, VP of Via's embedded platform division, "The Via Epia-M840 exemplifies our commitment to bringing the latest technologies to key embedded market segments. By listening carefully to our customers we've been able to create a product that ticks all the boxes required to build the very latest intelligent industrial devices."


Via did not cite pricing or availability for the Epia-M840. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

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