For years now, VIA has made small-form-factor platforms that require only minimal, passive cooling to operate. But what happens with no cooling at all? That's the subject of a contest at VIA's web portal VIA Arena. One of the company's staffers took the cooler off a Pico-ITX EPIA PX5000EG system yesterday, and the system is still going—there's a live stream running to prove it.
The object of the contest is to have onlookers try to guess how long the machine will survive without its heatsink on. VIA says the competition will last a maximum of two weeks, after which "we'll take a hair dryer to it, turn the heating up in the room, anything to make it crash . . . if it lasts that long in the first place." If you need a little help guessing, the EPIA PX5000EG packs a 500MHz VIA Eden ULV processor and VX700 chipset, and it's playing back MPEG-4 video in a loop.
VIA isn't taking any more entries—the signup period only ran from May 14 to May 21. Still, whoever wins the competition will walk away with an ARTiGO builder kit, a tiny Pico-ITX barebones PC that includes a 1GHz VIA C7 CPU, a VIA VX700 chipset with integrated graphics, 100Mbps Ethernet, HD audio, and four USB ports. The winner will be able to customize the system with his or her choice of DDR2 memory and 2.5" IDE storage.