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Mini-ITX board targets multi-function kiosks

May 4, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

Via is shipping a Mini-ITX board with 1GHz or 1.3GHz versions of its embedded-oriented Nano E-Series processor. The Via Epia-M830 offers a VX800 northbridge/southbridge, up to 2GB of DDR2 memory, plus real-world ports including gigabit Ethernet, USB, and serial, the company says.

The Epia-M830 is targeted at emerging kiosk and POS (point-of-sale) systems, says Via. Potential applications include cashless purchasing and self service infrastructures in supermarkets and gas stations, as well as advanced POI (point of interest), lotto, and gaming machines, says the company.

Via Epia-M830

(Click to enlarge)

The Epia-M830 is closely related to the Epia-M800 Mini-ITX board announced in December. Like the Epia-M800, the Epia-M830 runs on a Via Nano processor and Via VX800 chipset, which is cited for its DirectX9 integrated graphics and HD audio.

Epia-M830 detail

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The chief difference is that the Epia-M830 is available with the new embedded-optimized, 64-bit Nano E-Series processors, which offer virtualization capabilities and extended longevity support. 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-M830, front and back
(Click on either to enlarge)

The Epia-M830 can use either a fanless-ready 1GHz CPU or a 1.3GHz model. The VX800 chip, meanwhile, supports up to 2GB of DDR2 memory, and offers video acceleration for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, and VC-1 video formats, plus a VMR capable HD video processor, says Via.

Epia-M830 ports

The Epia-M830 offers only one gigabit Ethernet port instead of its predecessor's two, but it supports twice as many COM ports (four) in order to meet the needs of the latest multi-function kiosks. Real-world I/O includes the gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port, and a serial port, selectable to 5v/12v, says Via.

An additional USB port and three more serial ports are offered via pin headers, says the company. While the Epia-M830 omits some industrial-focused I/O found on the Epia-M800, such as SPI and IrDA, and it lacks its predecessor's DVI port, it offers additional peripherals including LPT, LPC, and FIR headers (see spec list below).

Epia-M830 block diagram

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A PCI-Express (PCIe) x4 slot and a Mini-PCIe socket are available for expansion, and storage is handled via dual SATA connectors and an IDE connector, says Via. In addition, an LVDS connector is supplied for a 24-bit, dual-channel LVDS panel, with an option for a 240-bit dual-channel connector.

The Via Epia-M830 is said to be available in both active and passive cooling configurations. Via also offers a number of expansion modules, as listed in the graphic below, including a WiFi USB module, a DC-DC power board, and additional sets of serial ports.

Epia-M830 accessories

(Click to enlarge)

Features and specifications listed by Via for the Epia M800 include:

  • Processor — Via Nano E-Series clocked at 1GHz (fanless) or 1.2GHz
  • Chipset — Via VX800
  • Memory — up to 2GB of 533/667MHz DDR2 RAM
  • Expansion — 1 x PCIe (x4); 1 x Mini-PCIe
  • Networking — 1 x gigabit Ethernet (rear panel)
  • Other I/O:
    • Rear panel:
      • 1 x serial
      • 4 x USB 2.0
      • Audio — line out, mic in
      • 1 x VGA
    • Onboard headers:
      • 1 x USB 2.0
      • 3 x serial
      • 2 x SATA
      • 1 x IDE
      • Audio header for front-panel headphone out, mic in, or amplifier module
      • S/PDIF output
      • Digital input/output, including GPI and GPO options
      • PS/2 keyboard/mouse interface
      • 1 x LPT
      • 1 x LPC
      • 1 x SMBUS
      • 1 x FIR
      • 1 x front-panel pin header
      • 2 x fan connectors
      • 1 x 18-bit TTL, reserved 1 x LVDS for 24-bit, dual-channel panel
  • Operating temperature — 32 to 122 deg. F (0 to 50 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, Via Embedded Platform Division, Via Technologies, "The VIA EPIA-M830 board represents a mile-stone in kiosk device design, packing a wealth of kiosk-oriented features and enhancements into a high performance, 64-bit platform. This highly focused platform arms developers with the tools to build the next phase of interactive kiosks."


The Via Epia-M830 is available now "to project customers," says Via, which did not list pricing. More information may be found here.

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