News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Signage PC has 7:1 audio output, too

Feb 2, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Blue Chip Technology announced an expandable, slimline PC designed for digital signage applications. The AMD-based Vario E3 includes dual video outputs (VGA and DVI-D/HDMI), 7:1 audio output, up to 16GB of RAM, plus optional PCI Express x16 and PCI 2.2 expansion cards, according to the company.

Blue Chip, based in Chester, U.K., says its Vario E3 was designed and built in Britain. The slimline PC is the latest in the company's line of hardware designed for digital signage, this time using AMD's 800G northbridge and a southbridge which, while not specified, could be the chipmaker's SB850 or the SB710.

Blue Chip's Vario E3

According to Blue Chip, the E3 (above) accepts AM3-socketed CPUs that can be AMD's Athlon 64FX, Athlon 64X2, Athlon 64, or Sempron. Maximum clock speeds weren't stated, but the PC can accept up to 16GB of 1066/800/667MHz DDR3 memory, the company says.

The E3's AMD Radeon HD 4250 graphics circuitry supports DirectX 10.1 and provides hardware decoding of H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2 video, as well as Blu-ray and HD-DVD content, says Blue Chip. The PC's VGA, DVI-I, and HDMI video outputs support dual displays with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 pixels, the company adds.

More unusually, the E3 also has six analog audio jacks. Featuring "jack sensing" technology, these collectively provide 7:1 surround sound without recourse to an external decoder, says Blue Chip.

The Vario E3 has room for a 3.5-inch SATA hard disk drive internally, while a slimline DVD-ROM drive and a CompactFlash slot are both listed as options. Also optional are a PCI Express x16 expansion slot and a PCI expansion slot, both said to permit a maximum card length of 6.88 inches (175mm).

Apart from the connectors already mentioned above, the E3 includes six USB 2.0 connectors on its rear panel, along with an Ethernet port. The system is compatible with Linux, Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard, and Windows XP Embedded, according to Blue Chip.

Features and specifications listed by Blue Chip for the Vario E3 include:

  • Processor — AM3 socket accepts Athlon 64FX, Athlon 64X2, Athlon 64, or Sempron
  • Chipset — 800G northbridge and unspecified southbridge (likely SB850 or SB710)
  • Memory — up to 16GB of DDR3 memory
  • Storage — 3.5-inch SATA 2 drive bay and optional CompactFlash slot
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x PCI slot (optional)
    • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot (optional)
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • VGA
    • DVI-I
    • HDMI
    • 6 x USB 2.0
    • PS/2 keyboard/mouse
    • 1 x serial
    • 6 x audio jacks (7:1 output)
  • Power — 115~230VAC; consumption n/s
  • Operating range — 32 to 122 deg. F (0 to 50 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 1U (44.45mm) high; rack-mountable
  • Weight — n/s

Further information

Blue Chip did not cite pricing or availability for the Vario E3, but the device appears to be available now. More information may be found on the Vario E3 product page.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.