Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tired of that big bulky computer? Buy one the size of your wallet!

Via details credit-card-size motherboard

Taiwan's Via Technologies Inc. on Thursday released details of its upcoming Pico-ITX motherboard, which is roughly the same size as a credit card and opens the door to very small PC designs.

Measuring just 10 centimeters (cm) by 7.2 cm -- or about 4 in. by 3 in. -- the Pico-ITX is designed for Via's C-7 and Eden microprocessor families. It uses chip sets like Via's VX700, which packs the memory controller, integrated graphics and I/O hub into a single chip instead of two. The motherboard has a single memory slot that can hold up to 1GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) memory.

Via hasn't announced precisely when the new boards will be available but said it plans to release its first Pico-ITX product "shortly."

In the meantime, Via has published a detailed overview of the motherboard's specifications (download PDF), hoping to win device makers over to the new motherboard form factor.

Via is the third-largest supplier of x86 processors, trailing far behind Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. But the Taiwanese chip company has blazed a trail to PCs that are smaller and consume less power than anything seen before.

Five years ago, Via began shipping the first Mini-ITX motherboards, designed for embedded applications, which caught on with enthusiasts interested in making smaller PCs. Measuring 17 cm by 17 cm, or roughly 6.5 in. square, the Mini-ITX is significantly larger than the Pico-ITX.

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