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Mini-ITX board targets digital signage apps

Via Technologies has introduced a new mini-motherboard built in its signature mini-ITX form-factor. The "Epia LT" is based on the company's 1.5GHz or fanless 1GHz C7 processor and highly-integrated CX700 chipset, provides dual-Ethernet and dual-LVDS flat panel outputs, and is available with a TV-out video option.

According to Via, the Epia LT targets POS (point-of-sale) and digital signage applications. In addition to its high performance-per-watt x86-compatible C7 processor (Via says the board's maximum power consumption is 20 watts), the board integrates a rich set of peripheral interfaces. These include dual LAN ports (one 100Mbps; one either GigE or 100Mbps), dual LVDS flat panel support, VGA video, four COM ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and more. "Project-based customers" are eligible to order a special version of the board that adds a TV video output capability, based on substituting a CX700M2 for the standard CX700 part, Via said.

According to Via, the CX700's built-in graphics are based on the company's mature 128-bit UniChrome Pro IGP core, which offers stable 2D performance under Linux using open-source drivers. The UniChrome core also provides 3D and MPEG-2 acceleration, when driven by binaries released by Via for the kernels included in many major Linux distributions.

Touted features and specs of the Epia LT include:
  • Processor -- Via C7; choice of 1.5GHz or fanless 1.0GHz clock rate
  • Chipset -- Via CX700; option of CX700M2 for TV-out video (for "project-based customers")
  • Memory -- DIMM socket for up to 1GB DDR2 533 memory
  • Video:
    • integrated Via UniChrome Pro II 3D/2D AGP graphics with MPEG-2 video decoding acceleration
    • VGA monitor interface
    • 24-bit LVDS flat panel interface
    • TV-out (manufacturing option)
  • Audio:
    • Via VT1708A HD audio codec
    • line in/out connectors
  • 1 x IDE -- UltraDMA 133/100/66/33
  • 2 x SATA
  • 2 x Ethernet LAN:
    • 1 x 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
    • choice of 10/100 Mbps or Gigabit Ethernet (mfg. option)
  • Other I/O ports:
    • 6 x USB 2.0
    • PS2 keyboard/mouse ports
    • 4 x serial
    • parallel printer port
    • digital I/O
    • CIR (consumer IR) port
  • Expansion -- 1 x PCI slot
In addition to Linux, the Epia ET targets Windows XP, Windows CE, and Windows XP Embedded, Via said.

Daniel Wu, assistant VP of Via's Platform Solutions Division, stated, "While designed primarily for key embedded applications such as high end point of sales and digital signage systems, the power of the VIA UniChrome Pro II integrated graphics readily enables the LT-Series boards to be utilized for a wide range of networked multimedia applications."


The Epia LT boards are available now in limited quantities for "project based customers," with full production scheduled for July, Via said. Pricing was not disclosed.