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.
|Corsair's Graphite Series 380T case reviewed||12|
|Friday night topic: why the fear of autonomous machines?||45|
|Corsair's new DDR4 modules are rated for 3300 MT/s||16|
|Deal of the week: A 240GB SSD for only $80||4|
|Asus' X99 Deluxe motherboard reviewed||10|
|Intel's Core i7-5960X processor reviewed||100|
|Steam's in-home streaming accelerated by GeForce GPUs||22|
|Apple sets date for expected iPhone 6 reveal||21|
|Now we can lose our data 8TB at a time.||+42|