Print 22 comment(s) - last by herrdoktor330.. on Sep 19 at 12:00 AM

VIA EPIA SN, without the heatsink and fans installed  (Source: VIA)

VIA EPIA SN backside with mini PCI   (Source: VIA)
New VIA EPIA SN18000G claims a 30-percent performance boost over previous models

VIA today launched its fastest motherboard to fit within a mini-ITX footprint – the EPIA SN18000G. The new VIA EPIA SN18000G features the first-ever C7 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz. Previous VIA EPIA models topped out at 1.5 GHz. VIA claims up to a 30-percent performance boost over previous EPIA models. Additionally, VIA offers lower-clocked EPIA SN models at 1.5 GHz and 1.0 GHz. The EPIA SN10000EG features passive cooling.

VIA pairs the EPIA SN series with its latest CN896 IGP chipset, a first for a mini-ITX motherboard. The VIA CN896 IGP features a DirectX 9 compliant Chrome9 HC graphics core with hardware MPEG-2 acceleration. The EPIA SN series allows users to expand graphics capabilities with a single PCIe x16 slot.

Other notable features of the VIA EPIA SN series include two DIMM slots with support for up to 4GB of DDR2-667, four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports, one IDE port, a Compact Flash connector and dual Ethernet. VIA targets the EPIA SN series for network attached storage, digital signage and point-of-sale uses.

“With the VIA EPIA SN-series we have listened to our customers and delivered a number of key technology firsts to the Mini-ITX form factor,” said Daniel Wu, Assistant Vice President, VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. “I am proud to say that VIA has again raised the bar to develop a Vista-ready mainboard that meets the ever-increasing demands of the embedded industry.”

Expect the VIA EPIA SN series to enter mass production next month, with channel availability in November.

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Sweet gaming rig
By ajfink on 9/17/2007 4:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
Drop an 8800GTX into the PCI-E slot and this would make one bangin' LAN box.

Just kidding, but it would be a sight to see.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By KingofL337 on 9/17/2007 4:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
PCI-E 16x - NICE!!!!
Real graphics!

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By Kuroyama on 9/17/2007 4:46:45 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, it would be an odd sight to see, as the video card would be rather longer than the mini-ITX motherboard.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By Anh Huynh on 9/17/2007 4:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention consume about 10x more power.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By murphyslabrat on 9/17/2007 5:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, be severly bottlenecked by the CPU; and were talking hobbled-flash...then again, I guess he could still hop really fast.

The real reason is probably so you can drop an HD 2400 in, use a quiet HDD, a seagate power-supply, and have a cheap, small, quiet HTPC.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By ajfink on 9/17/2007 5:22:44 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I said it was a joke :)

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By yuchai on 9/17/2007 5:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
Except then there are no more free slots for a TV tuner.

I think this might be great as a file server though - with it's Gbe Ethernet support and 4 SATA ports. The power savings can be especially significant with a 24/7 machine.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By Treckin on 9/17/2007 6:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
you could use the usb all in wonder...

My first thought was that this would make a fabulous HTPC...
Passive cooling on the proc...

If you wanted to drop the scrill, I'd trow 3 of the new 500 gb SSDs from BitMicro in there. (granted that would run you like 4000 dollars for the entire thing at that point).

Still, even at that oprice, Im nore sure you could find another fanless design which had 1.5 TB of silent storage. Except the ram, this thing shouldnt make a peep! :P

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By afkrotch on 9/17/2007 6:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
I like companies like VIA. While their procs aren't the greatest, they aim at a very nice little market. If I was going for an HTPC or Carputer, VIA would be where it's at.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By MGSsancho on 9/18/2007 5:08:32 AM , Rating: 2
we see via as delivering to a "nice small market" but their systems for in DVRs from sat/cable companies (i opened up my moxi from charter), so drill processors in mining companies (my uncles company), to many embedded devices. who knows, those self check out systems at cvs lowes and home depot (they us visual basic). see these mobos more as reference designs then see modded versions of them on consumer electronics.

but either way, I agree I love via for what they do. all the linux support, their dedication to delivering what we want in a small power envelope. *sobs*

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By FrankM on 9/17/2007 7:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think you don't know what you are talking about.
I highly doubt that 3 of the 416GB SSDs would be $4000, I would go so far as to guess that that money wouldn't buy you even a single one of them.
With quiet and less heat-generating notebook 2.5" drives, it is possible to put them in a sound-absorbing box, resulting in near-silent storage at a fraction of the price.
Also, the RAM shouldn't make a peep, either.

I'm afraid VIA will again price these high enough not to be worth buying over uATX systems, unless you really want the Mini-ITX format; but even then, there are some other choices like the to-be-released AM2&690G Mini-ITX board from Albatron.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By carl0ski on 9/17/2007 8:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
all too expensive for me

my Cheapo Plan

1 Buy this Board and a Case
2 Install Linux on a USB flash Drive
3 Store DATA on standard Noisy SATA Harddrrives in another room using Long USB Cable or SAN device

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By lucyfek on 9/17/2007 11:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
use compact flash card - at the bottom it seems to have a connector for one, but anyway, since processor is actively cooled, a laptop hdd won't make big difference (unless you'll rig some custom heatsink)

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By herrdoktor330 on 9/18/2007 12:17:37 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't want this particular processor in charge of any media transcoding projects. As far as media playback, sure. But this thing would take too long in transcoding DVRed media into something else. Plus, I don't know if we've gotten to making TV tuners for PCI-E. The next ATI AiW solution might be the ticket on that one. I'm also shocked this model doesn't have an s-video or composite out on the mobo. I thought that was almost standard for VIA. But, if you want to work the other video card angle you have that option, which I think is a step forward for these folks.

In my opinion, this is a nice box to give to your mom as an "all in one" integrated solution they can leave on all the time and feel OK with it because of light power consumption. As I've said before, I'm really starting to like VIA products. This is a sign they're listening to consumer demands while still delivering a very "green" product. Now... all they need to do is deliver a mini-ATX formfactor with 1 PCI-E and 2 or 3 PCI slots for wireless, a nice soundcard, and maybe a TV tuner (assuming you don't transcode with it).

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By mindless1 on 9/18/2007 10:24:44 AM , Rating: 2
It's not good for media playback either, unless you're only running moderate or lower resolution MPEG2. Maybe the IGP can accelerate higher resolution now than in past generations, but does one really want to build a HTPC that can only do MPEG2, today? WMV, Divx, H.264, et al. are more popular than ever and this computer platform just can't handle them at reasonable resolutions if it really is merely up to 30% faster, and when it isn't passively cooled in the higher performing models, what was the point going with a Via processor?

Once again Via has completely missed the point, they'd again tried to make a small cheap processor and pitched it at an application that now has even higher requirements with so many people looking at upgrading or replacing their HTPC with one capable of HD and digital video output.

As for a fileserver or NAS, "maybe". I bought into that idea with a past SFF platform via chipset plus via CPU and PCI RAID, GbE, and found it corrupted data quite repeatedly, constantly. I'd copy the same 1GB file to the server and get a different checksum every time, it was laugable that such a problem existed and was far worse than the rate of corruption with the old 686 southbridge issue Via faced a few years ago. You'd think after that they would have made special effort to ensure the problem never happened again, but unfortunately not.

In my mind that leaves this new platform for signage, except only inside, it's not appropriate for outside use due to the electrolytic capacitors. Since signage would be smaller with a SBC, and since singage doesn't typically require this all-in-one type of board more like a shrunken PC feature set, it's not even optimal for that either.

It's just 5 years too late for this. 5 years ago you could underclock a Pentium III and run it passively, or with a modest thermal load at regular speed and the only negative might've been boards weren't this small yet, but they were a mere inch or two larger so even the size reduction is a fairly small % when talking about the size of the whole system.

At least they put the compact flash card slot on it, but IMO it is sorely lacking a feature, an integral PSU subcircuit so the whole board plus a connected drive could run entirely from a (roughly) 12V input. At least then it would have better applications as a car PC, or for signage.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By herrdoktor330 on 9/19/2007 12:00:24 AM , Rating: 2
Duly noted, mindless1. Last time I checked this thing benchmarked somewhere around a Pentium III, so I don't doubt that you're making a vaild point. And I do agree that the IGP is going to be lackluster for hardcore media use no matter how you dice it. But if you used a video card that would off-load that video processing to the card itself (like the new DX10 midrange cards), it might help this thing hold water. But to be honest, this isn't my personal first choice for something I would use as an HTPC. But I'm sure someone could make some use out of it as a pice personal computer depending on system overhead, or how low their expectations are. I was thinking this would be a nice option for the power consumption conscienous out there. For example, my wife would love one of these things. But all she does is burns CDs, uses MySpaceFaceBook, and watches standard definition video files on Ubuntu Linux. I'm sure a setup like this could sucessfully do all of that, since I've done similar computer use with less (Divx playback on K6-2 400 w/ 128mb PC100 ram on Win98SE).

But your checksum experience is interesting though. I was interested in testing it out myself to see what the results would be like. I would like to see if they're still having that problem today. What chipset/processor platorm were you using then? Were you utilizing the GbE? Was it the "Luke" platform? I'm very curious because I thought about buying one of their older model boards to use as an energy efficient linux file server (which is kind of laughable for the amount of HDs I'd like to pack into it). But if you were utilizing the GbE on a board like the Luke, I'm not sure that little processor could take the kind of overhead GbE puts on the CPU. Maybe that was the cause of the corruption? I'd be interested to find out more if you take the time to post.

Either way, thank you for making an excellent point.

RE: Sweet gaming rig
By Dactyl on 9/17/2007 7:25:49 PM , Rating: 4
Drop an 8800GTX into the PCI-E slot

I think you meant to say, attach a mini-ITX motherboard onto your 8800GTX.

clock for clock comparisons?
By plimogs on 9/18/2007 9:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
I've got to leave for work like 20 minutes ago, or I'd be hitting up google for my own answer, but in the meantime...

Does anyone have any links to clock for clock comparisons with "roughly" equivalent products from AMD/Intel? I'm just wondering how VIA's 1.8GHz stack up.

RE: clock for clock comparisons?
By erwos on 9/18/2007 10:06:02 AM , Rating: 2
The C7-M operates at about a 50% clock disadvantage to a Core Solo in 3D applications. That is to say, a 1.8hz C7-M is more like a 900mhz Core Solo.

That said, it won't matter for productivity nearly as much.

RE: clock for clock comparisons?
By Joz on 9/18/2007 3:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but it operates about 5% better then a Pentium M in IPC, but looses out only in gaming and encoding/decoding.

Also its hardware based encryption and other GOODIES via managed to A-Wing into it make it an incredibly low wattage cpu that can take out the Semrpon, Celeron M, Pentium M.

<3 VIA for ever!!!!!

By Xerio on 9/17/2007 7:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
I would be interested in how Vista ran on this thing with a decent video card and 4GB RAM attached. I now Vista is not the OS of choice right now, but it was a thought that popped into my head. If you could get decent DX10 performance out of this thing, it would make a sweet little Car PC that you could even do a little gaming on...

Just a random thought.

RE: Vista?
By theapparition on 9/18/2007 9:55:01 AM , Rating: 2
You'd need a graphics card add in, because the on-board graphics are DX9 only.

When you add a card, it turns this small form factor into a larger "square" for factor, meaning, the card adds 4" of height, so this is no longer so compact and most car applications go right out the window. I'd like to see this same model with a right-angle PCI-E connector. Now with a flat computer, you can do much more.

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