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Review: Can EQS's RS690IKM-AB6S best VIA's ITX-sized motherboards?

by James Thorburn on 25 October 2007, 13:11

Tags: RS690IKM-AB6S, AMD (NYSE:AMD), VIA Technologies (TPE:2388), EQS

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaj6f

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Introduction

 

VIA has carved itself a pretty nice little niche with its ITX form-factor motherboards and the EPIA products based around them.

The trick of producing low-performance processors and motherboards and selling them for a hefty price premium is certainly one you want to pull off, you just need the right gimmick - for further evidence consider the Nintendo Wii.

But VIA most probably isn't sitting around looking smug these days - there's too much competition.

For the last six years, the EPIA range's position has been mostly uncontested - the occasional, very expensive, Pentium M or Athlon XP board notwithstanding. Now, though, Intel has its D201GLY, complete with a chipset from VIA's main rivals SiS, and it's being pitched at a vastly lower price than VIA's offerings.

However, the D201GLY's SiS Mirage 1 IGP has one huge downside - it's unable to run Vista's Aero Glass interface. And it's not even a case of lacking the power to reach the required WEI score of 2.0 - the board lacks any kind of support for the Direct3D 9 API.

What's more, while the onboard 1.33GHz Celeron 215 processor may be able to beat out VIA's offerings, it's still somewhat lacking in raw power. Great for reaching the next billion, perhaps, but not so good for those looking for a small, powerful system.

So if you're looking to build a more powerful ITX form-factor, or simply prefer your processors from the greener side of the silicon fence, what are the options? Well as luck would have it, there's the EQS RS690IKM-AB6S and, as you'll see over the next few pages, it's ITX-sized, based on the 690G chipset and features socket AM2...