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VIA's Pico-ITX board gets smaller, and slower

by Parm Mann on 15 May 2008, 10:24

Tags: EPIA PX10000G Pico-ITX board, VIA Technologies (TPE:2388)

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The new world's smallest board

We decided to put VIA's super-small EPIA PX10000G Pico-ITX board through its paces earlier this year, and though we appreciate that the board is aimed at the embedded market, we found the onboard 1GHz VIA C7 CPU to be, well, garbage.

Now, VIA is taking things one step further. Its new, and even smaller Pico-ITX board, the EPIA PX5000EG, features a 500MHz VIA Eden ULV processor with a maximum power draw of just one watt. There's no longer a need for a fan, and unlike the PX10000G, the PX5000EG is cooled by only a heatsink.

We're still a little amused by just how small these boards really are, this one measures a minuscule 10cm x 7.1cm. We've got to wonder though, if the 1GHz C7 CPU on the PX10000G struggled to cope, this 500MHz ultra-low-voltage processor is sure to whimper at most tasks.

Still, VIA is targeting the board solely at embedded automation and industrial control devices, for whom such a tiny board with extremely low power consumption might prove to be useful.

So confident is VIA as to the board's stability, it's taken the time to run a little competition. As part of the 'Naked Pico Challenge', VIA will be running a PX5000EG system at full load with no cooling whatsoever, yes, that means no heatsink, either. All you have to do is guess how long the board will survive, giving your estimation in days, hours, minutes and seconds. The competition ends on Wednesday May 21st, and if you fancy your chances of winning the grand prize, a VIA ARTiGO Builder Kit, head on over to the official competition page.

Daniel Wu, Vice President, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, said:

"The introduction of the VIA EPIA PX5000EG elevates the VIA EPIA range of innovative embedded solutions to new heights of thermal and energy efficiency in an extremely miniaturised form factor. The VIA EPIA Pico-ITX form-factor continues to evolve, addressing the embedded industry's needs for greater efficiency and miniaturisation."

Keeping in mind that Intel's 800MHz Atom processor, the Z500, features a TDP of 0.65W, we think VIA needs to bump up its CPU performance before we start to think seriously about its Pico-ITX offerings.

Official press release: VIA Unveils the World's Lowest Power x86 Processor on the World's Smallest Board

Useful links
HEXUS.net - HEXUS.reviews :: VIA Pico-ITX - not quite the perfect form-factor
Naked Pico Challenge - competition page

HEXUS Forums :: 4 Comments

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Finally, a board worthy of my new gaming rig:/
That processor looks massive (obviously the die aside) until you notice the VGA and RJ45 ports. I want a phone with this or an Atom in it. :P
That processor looks massive (obviously the die aside) until you notice the VGA and RJ45 ports. I want a phone with this or an Atom in it. :P
I think the package you are looking at is the chipset (northbridge/southbridge) in one silicon chip. The CPU is actually the smaller package on the left. In normal operation both would share the same heatsink which would cover most of the board.
Thats pretty impressive.
If they were a reasonable price I could think of quite a few projects these could be used for :)