VIA EPIA M10000
Small is better, that's what VIA would have you believe. Think of VIA and you'll inevitably think of the Taiwanese motherboard chipset maker. That's true to a certain extent, as a large proportion of VIA's earnings stem from the production of chipsets. Of late, though, VIA have been concentrating on expanding their core duties. Even simple diversification can lead to a better accounting bottom line.
One of VIA's least known ventures is into the Mini-ITX world. The Mini-ITX form factor measures a scant 17cm x 17cm. Motherboard designers are then tasked to build a fully functional board into that limited sized factor. Add to this the need for a CPU, some sort of integrated graphics and a wealth of features, and you'll quickly see why it's a complicated and intricate affair. VIA also market a range of physical layers and controllers, so manufacturing a Mini-ITX integrated motherboard seems like a perfect opportunity for them to pool their talents.
Thus the EPIA range of Mini-ITX systems was born. We reviewed one such EPIA here at Hexus. The 9000 series stood out as a low-cost, highly featured integrated platform. There's a new EPIA on the block, one that specifies a faster host processor than ever before. Does it have what it take to make it a winner on all counts ?. Let's find out as we go on the review cruise.