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Mini-ITX motherboard supports 4GB RAM

Sep 18, 2007 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Via Technologies is sampling the latest in its Epia series of mini-ITX motherboards, this time targeting developers of digital signage, network attached storage (NAS), and point-of-sale (POS) systems. The Via Epia SN supports an “unprecedented” 4GB of RAM and provides a PCI-Express port, the company says.

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According to Via, the Epia SN is its first motherboard to use the CN896 chipset it introduced in February. This chipset provides the Epia SN with both 2D and 3D graphics acceleration, along with 16-lane PCI Express capability.

On the Epia SN, the CN896 is connected to a Via VT8251 southbridge chip using the company's V-link interface, Via says. The VT8251, in turn, provides the motherboard with its ability to support four serial ATA II devices in multiple native RAID configurations.

Via's Epia SN mini-ITX motherboard
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Naturally, the Epia SN also employs Via's own, x86-compatible C7-D processor. Running at 1.8 GHz, this “provides a performance boost of up to 30 percent over previous Epia mainboards,” according to the company.

The Epia SN is also available in 1.5 and 1 GHz configurations, the slower of which is rated as being compatible with passive cooling with just a heatsink — no heat pipes required. In every case, Via's PowerSaver feature is said to automatically lower the processor's frequency and voltage depending on work load, reducing CPU power consumption by up to 40 percent.

Via says advanced security is offered through the Via Padlock Security Engine integrated directly into the C7 processor. An onboard Infineon SLB9635TT 1.2 (Trusted Platform Module) is also available.

Bottom view of Epia SN, showing CompactFlash socket
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Key features and specifications listed by Via include:
  • Processor — Via C7 NanoBGA2, clocked at 1.8, 1.5, or 1.0 GHz
  • Chipset — Via CN896 northbridge, VT8251 southbridge
  • System memory — 2 DDR2 400/533/667 DIMM socket, supporting up to 4 GB RAM
  • Video — integrated VIA Chrome9HC integrated graphics, featuring 2D/3D and video acceleration
  • Audio — Via VT1708A high definition audio codec
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x 16-lane PCI-E slot
    • 1 x 32-Bit Mini PCI slot
    • 1 x CompactFlash Type I slot (on bottom of board)
  • Networking:
    • 1 x 10/100 Ethernet
    • 1 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet

    • optional 802.11b/g wireless module
  • Onboard I/O:
    • 4 x SATA II connectors
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • LVDS/TTL/DVI module connector (requires add-on card)
    • serial port (COM2)
    • LPC connector
    • CIR (switchable for keyboard or mouse)
    • SMBUS
    • digital I/O
    • S/PDIF out
    • front-panel mic in, line out

  • Rear panel I/O:
    • PS/2 keyboard and mouse
    • serial port
    • VGA port
    • 2 x LAN connectors (RJ-45)
    • audio jacks for mic in, line in, line out

  • Dimensions — 6.7 x 6.7 inches (170 x 170 mm)

  • Power — ATX power connector; typical requirements not specified

Via says it is sampling the Epia SN now, and that production volumes are expected in October. The company's website offers Windows 2000, XP, and Vista driver downloads, but the board is likely to be compatible Windows XP Embedded, Linux, and other x86 operating systems as well.

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