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VIA EPIA-M: a new generation of Mini-ITX multimedia platforms

Today VIA Technologies officially announced the new-generation Mini-ITX solution — VIA EPIA-M motherboard. Itís based on VIA Apollo CLE266 chipset and is positioned as the foundation home multimedia solutions. VIA EPIA M-Series Mini-ITX has 170x170mm dimensions, is optimized for the current digital video and audio apps, is compatible with Microsoft Windows and Linux. The board is supplied with built-in VIA Eden ESP processor for non-fan low-noise systems or with built-in VIA C3 E processor for higher performance digital multimedia solutions.

Our readers already had the chance to get to know about the previous Mini-ITX solution — VIA EPIA, described in VIA Eden review. Pity, but sometimes this Mini-ITX generation was not enough. Using the new VIA Apollo CLE266 chipset with integrated MPEG-2 encoder, new integrated 2D/3D graphics core, DDR266 SDRAM support, ATA/133, and 5.1-channel AC´97 codec (VIA VT1616) is called to provide enough performance for the most popular multimedia apps. Besides, the board supports IEEE 1394 and USB 2.0, S-Video and RCA TV-Out (NTSC & PAL), 10/100 Ethernet LAN. The integrated LVDS transceiver enables to connect LCD monitors and the PCI slot Ė add-in cards. VIA EPIA M is compatible with all Mini-ITX cases along with FlexATX and MicroATX.

Naturally the actual performance will become clear after the testing, described in one of our close reviews. VIA EPIA M Mini-ITX boards are already available through VPSD. The suggested retail price of VIA EPIA M9000 (933MHz VIA C3 EBGA) and EPIA ME6000 (600MHz VIA EDEN ESP6000 EBGA) is below $150.

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