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Tiny DIY PC gets smaller, more powerful

Apr 20, 2010 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 30 views

Via announced a tiny PC for do-it-yourselfers, available in a barebones configuration with room for a 2.5-inch hard disk drive. The Linux-ready Artigo A1100 has a 1.3GHz Via Nano processor, accepts 2GB of RAM, sports HDMI and VGA video outputs, and has five USB ports, the company says.

Via's first Artigo kit, based on a pico-ITX motherboard, shipped in 2007. That device measured 5.9 x 4.3 x 1.8 inches, had a 1GHz Via C7 processor, and was priced at $300 in a barebones configuration.


Via's Artigo A1100
(Click to enlarge)

The company's latest Artigo (above) is even smaller, measuring 5.7 x 3.9 x 2.0 inches. What's more, it's faster, with 64-bit processing, and costs even less: Via says that without RAM or storage onboard, the Artigo A1100 costs just $243.

Understandably touted as "the smallest full-featured PC kit available today," the Artigo A1100 again uses one of Via's pico-ITX main boards, which measure just 3.9 x 2.8 inches. The company doesn't say which board has been employed, but from the system specs, we're pretty sure it's the Epia-P820 that was announced in January.


Via's Epia-P820
(Click to enlarge)

The Epia-P820, pictured above, sports Via's 1.2GHz Nano U2500. As a consequence, the board is compatible with the 64-bit architectures used by Intel and AMD, with SSE3 media processing instructions, and with Intel's VTX architecture for VMs (virtual machines), according to Via.

The Epia-P820 also employs Via's VX855 core-logic chip, which combines northbridge and southbridge functionality, uses just 2.3 Watts, and measures only 27 x 27mm. According to Via, the DirectX 9.0-compatible chip permits decoding of H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, and VC-1 video, while using only 40 percent of a host CPU's resources.

Via VX-855 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Thanks to the above components, the Artigo A1100 supports up to 2GB of DDR2 memory, and provides a 44-pin IDE connector and a SATA port that respectively support an optional flash DOM (disk on module) or 2.5-inch hard disk drive. As the images below show, the device has HDMI and VGA video outputs, four USB 2.0 host ports and one USB 2.0 device port, a gigabit Ethernet port, and audio I/O.

According to Via, the Artigo A1100 is powered via 12VDC from an external AC adapter. An SD card reader and a 802.11b/g wireless networking module are optional at extra cost, the company adds.


Via's Artigo A1100
(Click either image to enlarge)

Features and specifications released by Via for the Artigo A1100 include:

  • Processor — Via Nano U2500 clocked at 1.2GHz
  • Chipset — Via VX855 northbridge/southbridge
  • Memory — Up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM
  • Storage — IDE and SATA interfaces support 2.5-inch hard disk drive or flash DOM
  • Expansion — SD slot (optional)
  • Networking:
    • LAN — gigabit Ethernet
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g (optional
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 host
    • 1 x USB 2.0 client
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x VGA
    • Audio — mic in, line in, line out
  • Power — 12VDC via 100~240VAC adapter
  • Dimensions — 5.7 x 3.9 x 2.0 inches (146 x 99 x 52mm)
  • Weight, without hard disk drive — 1.32 pounds (0.6kg)


A video of the Artigo A1100
Source: Via Technologies
(click to play)

Further information

According to Via Technologies, the Artigo A1100 is available now for $243, and the device is said to support Linux along with all the usual flavors of Windows. More information may be found on the company's website, here.



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



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