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Mini-ITX board targets HD signage, POS apps

May 17, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Via Technologies announced a Mini-ITX board that features a 1.2GHz Via Nano E-Series processor and is aimed at signage and point of service (POS) applications. The Via Epia-M860 Mini-ITX board supports up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, and offers PCI, PCI Express, and Mini PCI Express expansion, as well as gigabit Ethernet, HDMI SATA, serial, and USB 2.0 connectivity.

The Via Epia-M860 is designed for demanding digital signage, media terminals, infotainment devices, and online streaming video, says Via Technologies. In addition, the board is said to be the first Epia board that supports Windows Embedded POSReady 7, presumably because it features two powered RS232 ports for POS peripherals.

Via Epia-M860
(Click to enlarge)

The 6.7 x 6.7-inch Mini-ITX board is similar to last year's multimedia-focused Via Epia-M850 (and to a lesser degree the industrial-focused Via Epia-M840). All three boards share the same embedded-optimized, 64-bit Nano E-Series processors, which offer virtualization capabilities and extended longevity support.

Epia-M860 detail

(Click to enlarge)

Like the Epia-M850, the new Epia-M860 adopts the HD video-ready Via VX900 core logic chip. Touted for its ability to provide 1080p video playback "without incurring a heavy CPU load," the VX900 offers hardware acceleration for H.264 video. The 31 x 31mm device also accelerates MPEG-4/AVC, MPEG-2, VC-1, WMV-HD, AVS, Blu-ray, and "advanced browser streamed video technologies," all at "true HD" resolutions, the company adds.

More Epia-M860 detail
(Click to enlarge)

The Epia-M860 offers only half the memory support of the Epia-M850, supporting up to 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 RAM, and it is missing some of the earlier model's I/O connections. However, it offers more expansion opportunities, with PCI, PCI Express (PCIe) x1, and Mini PCIe x4 connections available onboard.

Epia-M860 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Rear panel I/O includes a gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI port, a VGA port, four USB 2.0 ports, says Via. There's also a real-world serial port, and line-out and mic-in jacks, says the company.

Onboard connectors include dual SATA connections, two voltage-selectable (5V/12V) RS-232 pin headers, and dual USB pin-headers. There's also an SMBus header and digital I/O including GPI and GPO options, says the company.

Epia-M860 side view (left) and built-up version
(Click on either to enlarge)

Features and specifications listed by Via for the Epia-M860 include:

  • Processor — Via Nano E-Series clocked at 1.2GHz (fanless)
  • Chipset — Via VX900
  • Memory — up to 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 RAM
  • Expansion:
    • Mini-PCI Express x4 (with USB)
    • PCI Express x4 (with PCI)
    • PCI (with PCI Express x1)
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet (rear panel)
  • Other I/O:
    • Rear panel:
      • VGA
      • RS-232 (selectable 5V/12V power)
      • 4 x USB 2.0
      • audio — mic in, line out
      • HDMI
    • Onboard headers:
      • 3 x USB 2.0
      • front audio
      • PS/2
      • 3 x RS232 (selectable 5V/12V power)
      • SMBus
      • front panel pin header
      • 2 x SATA power
      • ATX power
      • sys and CPU fan connectors
  • 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 7, Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows Embedded Standard/Compact, Windows XP, Windows POSReady 7

Epia-M860 from above

(Click to enlarge)

Stated Epan Wu, Head of the Via Embedded Platform Division, Via Technologies, "This highly adaptable platform gives developers the foundation to create the next generation of interactive POS devices."


Samples of the Via Epia-M860 are available now, says Via Technologies. More information may be found at Via's Epia_M860 page.

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