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VIA EPIA SN
The new EPIA SN packs PCIe x16 and mini-PCI into a single mini-ITX motherboard

VIA is showcasing a wall of new EPIA mini-ITX motherboards. The latest EPIA SN packs plenty of expansion capabilities with a DirectX 9 graphics core. VIA equips the EPIA SN with the latest CN896 IGP chipset with C7 processors.

The CN896 IGP chipset packs an integrated VIA Chrome9 HC graphics core, delivers DirectX 9 compatibility and hardware MPEG2 decoding acceleration. Despite the DirectX 9 compatibility, the VIA Chrome9 HC is not Windows Vista Premium ready, which means no Aero glass interface for EPIA SN systems.

VIA allows a variety of expansion options with the EPIA SN, including PCIe and mini-PCI. The EPIA SN features one PCIe x16 slot for expansion, a perfect spot for a UVD equipped ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro. Additionally, the EPIA SN features one mini-PCI slot for other peripherals such as wireless LAN and TV tuners.

The EPIA SN also has four SATA 3.0Gbps ports and two memory slots. The EPIA SN can accommodate up to two DDR2-667 memory modules. VIA supports up to 4GB of total system memory with the EPIA SN.

Expect the EPIA SN to begin sampling next month, albeit in limited numbers.


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No need for x16 on mini-ITX
By Goty on 6/5/2007 6:56:30 PM , Rating: 1
It might just be me, but what use could someone have for a x16 slot in a mini-ITX system? Basically the only peripheral one would use in a x16 slot would be video, and mini-ITX systems (especially those from VIA) aren't exactly powerhouses (i.e. integrated graphics should do well enough).

I guess the only thing I could possibly think of would be building a mini-ITX HTPC with a low-end video card for assistance in HD video decoding.




By elpresidente2075 on 6/5/2007 8:24:00 PM , Rating: 4
It probably has something to do with the fact that regular PCI is being phased out, and more and more add-on cards will be using PCIe. That, and the fact that any x1, x4, x8, or x16 card will work in the slot, seems to make this slot make more sense.


RE: No need for x16 on mini-ITX
By defter on 6/6/2007 4:19:18 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to do HD video decoding, then using a x16 video card (GF8500/HD 2400) with this kind of system makes sense.


RE: No need for x16 on mini-ITX
By Flunk on 6/6/2007 9:49:03 AM , Rating: 2
It's quite simple, for HTPC systems an EPIA's CPU is not powerful enough to decompress HD video. with the addition of a low-end graphics board with integrated MPEG 4, AVC, etc decodeing would make the difference between a useful system and comeplete waste.

Also, for integrated (CE) uses PCI-E is more useful than PCI. With all the bandwitch you can preitty much add anything you like (custom cards, fibre channel, whatever you need)


RE: No need for x16 on mini-ITX
By EatSpam on 6/6/2007 10:39:30 AM , Rating: 2
I'm thinking a nice, low powered NAS. Stick a 3ware or Areca SATA RAID card in the slot, run Linux, use Samba, AoE, or IET or use something like OpenFiler. Quick, cheap storage.

Hopefully, it has Gigabit Ethernet...


RE: No need for x16 on mini-ITX
By Dactyl on 6/7/2007 2:40:02 AM , Rating: 2
What's the point of putting a graphics card in a mini-ITX system if the card is going to be twice as long as the motherboard?


RE: No need for x16 on mini-ITX
By Kazuo on 6/27/2007 5:53:49 PM , Rating: 2
PCIe x16 in the mini-ITX form factor is tasty for manufacturers of embedded PCs, since the PCIe x16 gives you a lot of flexibility and bandwidth in a small amount of space (it's not much bigger than a regular PCI slot...)


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