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“Mini-server” kit runs Linux

Dec 9, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 24 views

Via announced a “mini-server kit” that targets home media storage. Touted as being the same height as a CD, the Linux-compatible Artigo A2000 includes two 3.5-inch bays for hard drives, a bootable CompactFlash slot, gigabit Ethernet, three USB ports, and a wireless LAN option, says Via.

(Click here for a larger view of Via's Artigo A2000)

Via's Epia N700
(Click for further information)

The new Artigo A2000 shares branding with Via's previously released, Windows-only Artigo A1000 mini-PC, but does not employ that device's tiny, Linux-compatible Epia PX10000 pico-ITX main board. Instead, the new home server is said to use a “custom” nano-ITX main board, “optimized for stability in an always-on server,” such as network-attached storage (NAS) servers. The board may be an offshoot of the Epia N700 (right) Via released in August.

Like the Epia N700, the Artigo A2000 comes with Via's 1.5GHz C7 processor, and supports up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM via a single SODIMM socket. Also employed on both products is Via's VX800, a 33 x 33m chip that integrates northbridge and southbridge functionality.

Since it is intended primarily as a server, the Artigo A2000 could well be run headlessly. Thanks to inclusion of the VX800, however, the device gets Via's Chrome9 2D/3D graphics engine with DirectX 9 compatibility, plus hardware acceleration of MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC1 and DiVX video playback.

Via's Artigo A2000
(Click either image to enlarge)

Ports on the A2000, as shown above right, include not only VGA and gigabit Ethernet, but also three USB ports, plus audio I/O. An 802.11b/g wireless LAN module is optionally available, and supported by the antenna hole seen above.

The A2000's raison d'etre, of course, is storage. Here, the device stands out by providing room for two 3.5-inch SATA II hard disk drives, within an overall footprint of 10.2 x 5.3 x 4.5 inches. Via says the drives — intended to be selected and installed separately by a purchaser — offer up to 1.5TB of storage apiece, and transfer rates up to 3Gbps.

The A2000 is supplied with a “System Management Tool” that can alert a user remotely when disk space falls below a pre-specified percentage, according to Via. The device is also capable of shutting itself down automatically after downloads, and of creating encrypted virtual drives using the “StrongBox” application, which employs the C7's on-die hardware acceleration of key cryptographic operations, says the company.

While the Artigo A2000 is claimed to “comfortably run Windows Vista,” it also caters for installation of Windows XP Embedded. A bootable, Type I CompactFlash slot, “located discreetly beneath the motherboard,” permits secure installation of this slimmed down operating system, according to Via.

Features and specifications listed by Via for the Artigo A2000 include:

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