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Via spins three PCs from modular motherboard

Jul 26, 2010 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Via announced three “device development kits” incorporating a previously announced Em-ITX motherboard and related expansion modules. The AMOS-5110, AMOS-5210, and AMOS-5430 are complete PCs that respectively focus on digital signage, factory automation, and GPS functionality, according to the company.

As Via frankly acknowledges, the AMOS-5110 (below), AMOS-5210, and AMOS-5430 are essentially chassis kits designed to house a previously released motherboard and three different expansion modules. That being the case, the best way to understand the products is to review their ingredients.

Via's AMOS-5110

At the heart of all three products is the EITX-3000 motherboard (below right), which supports Via's Nano or Eden CPUs. First released in March 2009, this was Via's first (and, we think, remains the only) use of the Em-ITX format, billed as an "open industry standard."

A key advantage of the 6.7 x 4.7-inch Em-ITX format was said to be its form factor's rectangular shape, providing dual "coastlines." This provides 19 percent more room for real-world connectors than if a square had been utilized, Via says. Another touted benefit is Em-ITX's "Em-IO" expansion bus, capable of supporting optional add-on modules.

Last April, Via followed up by releasing three such modules, the EMIO-3110, EMIO-3210, and EMIO-3430. As shown at right, they snap onto the EITX-3000's expansion connector and stack horizontally on top of the main board. Since Em-IO does not include any pass-throughs, however, only one module may be installed at a time, or so it would appear.

Now, Via has wrapped the EITX-3000 into three different packages, bundled with either the EMIO-3110, EMIO-3210, or EMIO-3430. The resulting AMOS-5110, AMOS-5210, and AMOS-5430 come in tough, heatsink-equipped housings that appear to provide fanless operation, though we didn't see the latter explicitly promised.


Via describes its EMIO-3110 module, pictured below, as an "instant digital signage solution." The add-on includes an S3 4300E GPU (graphics processing unit), 256MB of DDR3 memory, two HDMI ports, two DVI ports, a VGA output, and an optional TV output, the company says.

Via's EMIO-3110
(Click to enlarge)

According to Via, when the EMIO-3110 is employed with the EITX-3000, the latter's VGA port also remains usable. Therefore, the solution provides support for up to six displays, four of which can be showing different content, the company says.

Via says the EMIO-3110 provides hardware acceleration for H.264/AVC, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, AVS, and VC1, though no information was provided about maximum resolutions or frame rates for video. Still images may be up to 2048 x 1536 pixels, while the module supports DirectX 10.1 and also offers a microphone input and line output, the company adds.

The EITX-3000 and EMIO-3110 are wrapped up in a case measuring 9.15 x 4.96 x 2.88 inches (232.6 x 126 x 73.2mm) to create the AMOS-5110 (pictured earlier in our story). According to Via, the top part of the chassis, which may be omitted, can hold either one or two 2.5-inch SATA hard disk drives, while the device also has a Type I/II CompactFlash slot mounted on its main board.

The AMOS-5110 has an impressive total of eight video outputs, spread over its front and rear panels, as depicted below. The PC's front panel also has cutouts for YPbPr component video outputs, which may be activated via an accessory cable when the system is equipped with only one hard disk drive, Via says.

Via's Amos-5110
(Click to enlarge)

The front panel (above left) of the AMOS-5110 includes a DC power input (7 ~ 36Volts), a VGA port, two USB 2.0 ports, four serial ports (two RS232, two RS232/422/485), and a GPIO port, says Via. The rear panel (above right), meanwhile, serves up another VGA port, two DVI ports, and two LVDS ports. We didn't see any specs on supported resolutions but presume that, as per the claims made earlier for the EMIO-5110, only four displays may be active at once.

AMOS-5110 product page

AMOS-5110 data sheet [PDF link]

The AMOS-3110's rear panel also includes two gigabit Ethernet ports, a microphone input, and a speaker output, according to Via. Operating range is said to be from 32 to 113 deg. F (0 to 45 deg. C) when the system is equipped with a hard disk drive, or -4 to 113 deg. F (-20 to 45 deg. C) with CompactFlash storage only.


Via's EMIO-3210 module, pictured below, is said to target factory automation and customer service kiosks. It includes a Fintek F81865 I/O controller, adding eight different ports to the EITX-3000.

Via's EMIO-3210
(Click to enlarge)

The EMIO-3210 has two 25-pin parallel ports, Via noting that LPT1 is supported by a F81865 that's already present on the EITX-3000, while LPT2 is supported by the secondary F81865 the module adds. The module also has six RS232/422/485 ports, spread over its north and south coastlines, Via says.

To create the complete AMOS-5210 PC, Via wrapped the EMIO-3210 and the EITX-3000 in a case measuring 13.01 x 4.91 x 2.13 inches (330.6 x 124.8 x 54.2mm). The device holds a 2.5-inch hard disk drive internally and yet again exposes the Type I/II CompactFlash slot that's present on the motherboard, according to the company.

The AMOS-5210 has a prodigious ten serial ports, two RS232 and eight RS232/422/485, Via says. Also featured are two 25-pin parallel ports, two LVDS video outputs, a VGA output, a GPIO port, and two gigabit Ethernet ports, according to the company.

Via's AMOS-5210
(Click to enlarge)

The front panel (above left) of the AMOS-5210 includes a DC power input (7 ~ 36Volts), audio jacks (mic in and line out), seven of the serial ports, the GPIO port, and two USB ports. The rear panel (above right), meanwhile, serves up the VGA port and two LVDS ports, two gigabit Ethernet ports, the two parallel ports, and three more serial ports, Via says.

AMOS-5210 product page

AMOS-5210 data sheet [PDF link]

Once again, operating range is said to be from 32 to 113 deg. F (0 to 45 deg. C) when the system is equipped with a hard disk drive, or -4 to 113 deg. F (-20 to 45 deg. C) with only CompactFlash storage.


Via says its EMIO-3430 module, pictured below, is designed to add a PC card slot, GPS receiver, Bluetooth, and wireless networking to Em-ITX devices. With a Ricoh RSC803 PC card controller and slot as standard, the module is ready to accept either 32-bit CardBus or 16-bit PCMCIA cards, according to the company.

Via's EMIO-3430
(Click to enlarge)

GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi do not come with the module, but Via says it has paved the way for them by providing a UART controller (for GPS) and a four-port USB 2.0 controller (for WiFi and Bluetooth), plus sockets for the relevant devices. The add-ons, all of which may be installed simultaneously, are:

  • The EMIO-1530, which supplies 802.11b/g wireless networking
  • The EMIO-1531, which supplies Bluetooth via a Qcom QBT400UB core
  • The EMIO-1532, which provides GPS via a Leadtek GPS receiver that employs the SiRF starIII chipset

According to Via, the EMIO-3430 also includes 3.5mm jacks for a microphone input, a line input, and a speaker output. The EITX-3000 itself already provided audio I/O, but only via pin headers, the company says.

Via wrapped the EITX-4000 and EMIO-3430 in a case measuring 9.15 x 4.96 x 2.88 inches (232.6 x 126 x 73.2mm) to create the complete AMOS-5430. The device, equipped with both wireless LAN and GPS antennas, is ready to accept the wireless options mentioned above, and it also accepts one or two 2.5-inch hard disk drives, according to Via.

Via says that if the AMOS-5430 is only equipped with one hard disk drive — a CompactFlash slot is also present — it can accept an optional cable kit that provides two mini-DIN connectors for USB ports. The device's front panel (below left) features two USB ports in any case, plus a DC input (7 ~ 36 Volts), audio I/O (speaker out, line in, mic in), and four serial ports (two RS232, two RS232/422/485).

Via's AMOS-5430
(Click to enlarge)

The AMOS-5430's rear panel (above right) has a VGA output, two LVDS ports, and two gigabit Ethernet ports. It also has a cutout that provides access to the PC card slot that was added by the EMIO-5430.

AMOS-5430 product page

AMOS-5430 data sheet [PDF link]

Once more, operating range is said to be from 32 to 113 deg. F (0 to 45 deg. C) when the system is equipped with a hard disk drive, or -4 to 113 deg. F (-20 to 45 deg. C) with only CompactFlash storage.

Further information

Via's AMOS-5110, AMOS-5210, and AMOS-5430 appear to be available now, though pricing was not stated. The devices should run most x86 operating systems, but Via says preconfigured Windows XP Embedded SP3 images are available.

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