VIA Shows Off Its Tiny Computers
Over at VIA's booth at Computex this week, we saw how VIA is innovating with their range of low cost, low power x86 processors which have dominated the ITX computing market for a while. Although their processors have never been up to challenge the performance and technological innovation of Intel and AMD's processors, VIA has diligently (although slowly) improved their processors for low power applications especially when used in confined or air-flow constrained spaces.
One of the more talked about devices shown at VIA this week was their US$49 Android PC. Based on the WonderMedia ARM 11 SoC processor (an ARM Cortex-A8 core), the board comes with 512MB of DDR3 memory, a 2GB NAND Flash, four USB 2.0 ports, one microSD port, a Fast Ethernet port, a VGA port and an HDMI port. The board is based on the new neo-ITX form factor which measures only 17cm x 8.5cm. What's great about this board is its low power consumption which is rated only 13.5W under full load. Although it may not be much of a workhorse, it may be a rather good companion for playback of media as its hardware is tweaked to accelerate media. Although it comes with Android OS 2.3 (Gingerbread), it's still a good deal considering the price you have to pay. VIA is planning to ship them in July 2012 and you can check for pre-order status at the independent apc.io site.
On the x86 front, VIA displayed the world's smallest dual-core single board computer (the VIA EPIA-P900) which was recently launched in the middle of last month. The board comes in the pico-ITX form factor and features a VIA Eden X2 1GHz processor and the VIA VX900H MSP chipset. The board can operate fanless and measures only 10cm x 7.2cm. It's not really something built for some of today's demanding applications or used for complex computing purposes, so it is only suitable for very specific applications such as embedded systems.