Remember the QuadCore CPU Via introduced last spring? We've been waiting for the chip to pop up in actual products, and now it has. Via's new EPIA-M900 and EPIA-M910 Mini-ITX boards are available with the quad-core CPU. The chip runs at "1.2+ GHz", which is Via's way of saying it has a 1.2GHz base clock speed with a 1.46GHz turbo peak. Riding shotgun on both boards is Via's VX900 chipset, whose integrated GPU boasts a ChromotionHD 2.0 video engine primed to accelerate 1080p video playback.
The EPIA-M900 is the more conventional of the two offerings, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve. In addition to a PCI Express x16 slot (with only eight lanes of bandwidth), the M900 features an old-school PCI slot. It also sports a pair of DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, Gigabit Ethernet, and an HDMI output. The port cluster is pretty spartan otherwise; Via hasn't included USB 3.0 in the mix, and there are only four gen-two ports at the rear.
Next-gen USB connectivity is missing from the EPIA-M910, as well, but it's designed more for industrial applications. This model features full-sized DIMM slots in addition to PCI and PCIe expansion slots. The expansion slots are in-line with each other, but they're designed to be used with a riser card that puts the slots in a more traditional parallel arrangement. Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are provided, and the board can be expanded to offer up to a dozen COM ports using add-in cards. Please, contain your excitement.
There was a time when EPIA boards were attractive options for diminutive home-theater PCs, but neither of these new releases looks like a good fit for the home. Via has resorted to active cooling on both models, which means there's a tiny little fan destined to develop an annoying whine over time. The QuadCore CPU's 27.5W thermal envelope probably makes passive cooling difficult.
|1. Ryszard - $503||2. punkUser - $502||3. the - $306|
|4. SomeOtherGeek - $300||5. Ryu Connor - $250||6. doubtful500 - $200|
|7. Anonymous Gerbil - $150||8. cygnus1 - $126||9. danny e. - $125|
|10. SecretSquirrel - $125|
|Star Wars Battlefront trailer will leave your jaw on the desk||102|
|This week produced a bumper crop of security holes, patches||10|
|Two men have real-life flame war over iOS, Android||30|
|Report: DOJ may oppose Comcast's Time Warner acquisition||28|
|Deal of the week: A terabyte-class SSD for $300, plus more||29|
|This is my favorite fanless NUC chassis so far||28|
|AMD posts $180 million loss, shutters SeaMicro business||220|
|Razer's BlackWidow Chroma spawns a tenkeyless variant||18|
|You should probably watch the new Star Wars trailer||144|