In a press release today VIA announced a new Mini-ITX board called the EPIA-M720. The EPIA-M720 is a significant upgrade from VIA previous offering the EPIA-LN. The EPIA-LN only supported a single gigabyte of DDR2 memory and had an integrated VIA UniChrome Pro AGP graphics solution. VIA’s Unichrome Pro AGP graphics were also used on PM-800 chipset, which was designed for Intel’s Pentium 4. Needless to say the upgrade to UniChrome9 HD graphics part is very welcome. It’s a DX9 part that supports video decoding for quite a few different standards.
In addition to the improvement in the graphics department the EPIA-M720 also supports up to 4 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM. As far as networking and storage goes there’s no InfiniBand or SATA III, but VIA has kindly provided a gigabit Ethernet port, a pair of SATA II ports, and two legacy COM ports. Rounding out the feature set we have an HDMI port for display, standard audio connectivity, and an array of USB 2.0 ports. One of the neater features is that this whole board is a fanless design.
The VIA 1.0GHz C7 that’s at the heart of this board is a well-known processor. It’s based on VIA’s Esther core, and uses what VIA calls the CoolStream architecture. It’s manufactured on a dated, but still rather novel, 90nm SOI process from IBM. Hopefully in the next iteration of this product line VIA will be able to up the core count.
All in all VIA just announced a neat little Mini-ITX board that fills it’s niche quite well by offering a feature set that you might expect to find on a much larger board.S|A
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