With Intel itself said to be adopting Mini-ITX for Atom desktop motherboards, VIA's diminutive form factor is getting quite a bit of attention lately. For the occasion, VIA has announced a new iteration of the Mini-ITX spec that mandates better performance and multimedia capabilities.
Key to Mini-ITX 2.0 is the requirement for a "high performance yet power efficient x86 processor." VIA names its Nano processor as an example, but Intel's Atom presumably meets this standard, too. On the multimedia side of things, Mini-ITX requires a PCI Express x16 slot, a DirectX 9-class integrated graphics processor, and six-channel high-definition audio. Companies who build Mini-ITX mobos will also need to include support for a "minimum" of 2GB of DDR2 RAM, 1 Gigabit Ethernet port, two 300MB/s Serial ATA ports, and one IDE port. Despite these requirements, Mini-ITX 2.0 retains the 17 x 17 cm (6.69" x 6.69") footprint of the original spec.
In other words, Mini-ITX 2.0 has the makings of a spec for small-form-factor PCs that could be good enough to keep most desktop users happy. With the advent of dual-core Atom and/or Nano processors down the line, Mini-ITX 2.0 might even be suitable for a tiny, low-power gaming PC.
Update: VIA has posted a video of a Mini-ITX 2.0 system with a Nano CPU and a GeForce 8600 GT graphics card running Crysis.
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