Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 10th Aug 2007 20:18 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Unless you are a big fan of small form-factor computing, you probably haven't been tracking the development of VIA's Pico-ITX motherboards. This form-factor was announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, but it has been almost impossible to get your hands on an ITX motherboard and the official U.S. release has yet to happen. A few samples have made their way to reviewers and developers, but because of their rarity coverage has been sparse."
Order by: Score:
Mini-ITX
by Timmmm on Fri 10th Aug 2007 21:16 UTC
Timmmm
Member since:
2006-07-25

I wish mini-itx and similar computers were used more often. You can get a 1GHz fanless computer with 512MB RAM and a 4GB flash disk (making it completely silent) for only £250. Instead companies seem to prefer rubbish cheap dell computers. This especially annoys me in places like libraries and internet cafés where the computers are left on all day, every day.

They would save so much electricity, money, space, and sanity (damn those fans!) if they used these instead of cheap desktop computers.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Mini-ITX
by Doc Pain on Fri 10th Aug 2007 23:33 UTC in reply to "Mini-ITX"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I wish mini-itx and similar computers were used more often. You can get a 1GHz fanless computer with 512MB RAM and a 4GB flash disk (making it completely silent) for only £250. Instead companies seem to prefer rubbish cheap dell computers. This especially annoys me in places like libraries and internet cafés where the computers are left on all day, every day."

When I studied at the university, our library had some Sun Rays and lots of crappy PCs which made much noise and impressed by a high failure rate, along with much maintenance time needed. Our local Karstadt uses expensive PCs as 3270 type terminals, such as our Sparda-Bank. Using real terminals or a small ITX system could save lots of money and maintenance time.

As I usually say: Use the right tool for every task. The device presented in the article could be a great solution for many home users, and of course for home entertainment systems as a cheap built in component (as an opposite to an attached PC). Furthermore, it could be integrated with other components (screen, DASD, opt. drives) such as Apple builds them, or Tandberg did in the old days...

"They would save so much electricity, money, space, and sanity (damn those fans!) if they used these instead of cheap desktop computers."

You're mentioning another valid point: energy costs. While silence may be seen as an individual value regarding comfort, energy costs will finally show up on the bill.

But people don't get it, as long as the decision carriers ("IT managers") do not have any clue about technology and how to use it properly. See: Right tool for every task. These stupid guys usually order a fright train in order to deliver a pack of matches... :-)

I really hope this kind of computer - you can even call it PC, or PC base device - will get more attention. As soon as you can convice people (read: end users) about the advantages these small "power devices", they will spread in home and office use.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Mini-ITX
by Michael on Fri 10th Aug 2007 23:42 UTC in reply to "Mini-ITX"
Michael Member since:
2005-07-01

Price does seem to be the sticking point. At mini-itx.com, it's around £300 (inc. VAT) for one of these with power and RAM only. Small/silent PSUs are quite pricey. With the like of the Asus Eee PC (~ £150 - £200 est.) around, people are willing to sacrifice mod-ability for price.

I thought about putting together a mini-itx system last time I upgraded my machine, but as my desk is already set-up for a big beige box, there seems little to gain. Not enough to justify the extra cost anyway. If I really want a small computer, I'll get a laptop.

These things should go great in the living room, but the consoles have that market sown-up right now.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mini-ITX
by Robocoastie on Sat 11th Aug 2007 18:04 UTC in reply to "Mini-ITX"
Robocoastie Member since:
2005-09-15

Well in their defense itx prices are 2-3x the price of a "normal" computer, that's why business' don't buy them. On top of that is that I've never seen a big box company actually sell complete itx computers, just components to build yourself. For a business like a 'net cafe to build them is a HUGE liability which their insurance company would likely refuse to cover (since there'd be no one to counter-sue). Then the typical small business is generally operating on credit and may need to run their equipment needs by their creditor for approval who likely is a pencil pusher rather than a techie and only knows Dell, Apple, or Gateway so the likelihood of getting those approved is slim to none.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Mini-ITX
by whartung on Sat 11th Aug 2007 19:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Mini-ITX"
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06

Yea, frankly the costs have always been offputting. You do pay a premium for the form factor. I've always thought about getting one of these things for the house, but the pricing always set me back.

And it's not so much the board pricing, the Mini-ITX boards aren't HORRIBLY priced, but the cases are stupidly priced as well. So the whole kit nickles and dimes you up until it's just not worth the cost for the form factor, IMHO.

Even Mac-Minis are competetive with these things, and there you get, well, a Mac!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Mini-ITX
by orfanum on Sun 12th Aug 2007 11:54 UTC in reply to "Mini-ITX"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

It's already happening in a way - silent, thin client systems are being introduced into student 'ilounges' and learning environments both becaue of noise and cost and on account of being able to exert greater central control over workstations - at least in UK HE. There's also a greater allocation for laptop hotdesks relative to fixed traditional desktops, which also has a similar effect regarding the lessening of noise and running costs for the central administration.

Reply Score: 1

Another review
by huwnet on Fri 10th Aug 2007 22:37 UTC
huwnet
Member since:
2006-11-12

Don't know if this has been featured on OSnews before but there is also a good review at mini-itx.com:

http://www.mini-itx.com/2007/06/02/via-epia-px-10000-pico-itx-revie...

Reply Score: 2

Via
by transputer_guy on Fri 10th Aug 2007 23:22 UTC
transputer_guy
Member since:
2005-07-08

VIA will be showing their stuff at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston coming up in September, this can be free for the exhibits only part. It usually gives me a chance to examine various VIA and other low power embedded solutions. Transmeta used to show up there too.

One thing I would really like to see again is a mini keyboard format of PC with a pico/nano board all in one slim box. Nice thing about these boards is that even the ATX PSU can be miniaturized down into the ATX connector if power is less than 70W or so. Only needs an external DC power brick. Since Flash drives are now taking off, it should be a no brainer.

Reply Score: 2

PPC ITX
by Marquis on Fri 10th Aug 2007 23:24 UTC
Marquis
Member since:
2007-01-22

Anyone know of a PPC based Mini/Nano/Pico ITX , that you do not have to buy in lots of 100+ ? I have always likes the Mini-ITX size and idea but always wanted a PPC version for various reasons.

Reply Score: 1

RE: PPC ITX
by Al2001 on Sat 11th Aug 2007 00:26 UTC in reply to "PPC ITX "
Al2001 Member since:
2005-07-06

Don't know if it's actually one of the standard form factors you mention but it's ppc and certainly small..

http://www.genesippc.com/efika.php

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: PPC ITX
by bsharitt on Sat 11th Aug 2007 15:27 UTC in reply to "RE: PPC ITX "
bsharitt Member since:
2005-07-07

That board does look very interesting, though it is unfortunate that it doesn't conform to any standard formfactor, though I do seem to recall seeing people adapting it for use in either mini or nano ITX cases.

Reply Score: 1

Different feature set
by Wondercool on Sat 11th Aug 2007 20:43 UTC
Wondercool
Member since:
2005-07-08

The mini-, nano- and pico itx boards look fine but are almost always overspecced for what I need.

I would like to build a low cost, low power, home server that is on 24 hours a day. My current home server (basically my old desktop) is eating 170 watts, and that is without having the display switched on.

So I am looking for a small form factor motherboard with giga ethernet, SATA, mini-pci slot+1 PCI slot and 2-4 USB ports, but none of the fancy sound and display options. Neither do I require serial ports. All the VIA motherboards seem to be designed for desktop or media computers.

Reply Score: 1

Why?
by zetsurin on Sun 12th Aug 2007 00:17 UTC
zetsurin
Member since:
2006-06-13

Why weren't these around when I was first putting a MAME cabinet together? Very impressive.

Reply Score: 1