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Home | News Archive | January 2004

Travla's C150 EPIA CL Mini-ITX Case
January 31, 2004

Casetronic (in their guise as Travla) have released details of their new aluminium Mini-ITX compatible enclosure, the C150 - a variant of their C134 and C136 cases, modified to work specifically with EPIA CL motherboards.

The Travla C150 is a 7" x 2"x 10" (177.8mm x 50.8mm x 254mm) car stereo sized enclosure is far too weeny to support full size drives and PCI cards, instead supporting a slimline optical and 2.5" laptop-sized hard drive. The C150 is cooled by a 40mm fan, and powered by an external soap-on-a-rope style 60W Universal power supply and internal DC-DC converter.

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Commell's LV-671 Pentium M Mini-ITX
January 26, 2004

Project Week is over, and it's time to catch up on some news. Over Christmas Commell in Taiwan announced the LV-671 Mini-ITX form-factor motherboard, supporting the Pentium M processor at a zippy 1.7Ghz with 400MHz Frontside Bus. The LV-671 has onboard gigabit Ethernet, 6 channel audio, Intel's Extreme Graphics 2 supporting dual independent displays, including dual-channel LVDS panel support. Expansion includes both PCI and Mini-PCI or Mini-AGP ports, a PC Card and a Compact Flash socket, and the board can be powered directly with a 12V or 19V protected input. Commell have quite a wide selection of Mini-ITX boards and SBCs now.

Commell's LV-671 Press Release

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Lippert's Passively Cooled Thunderbird
January 26, 2004

Lippert in Germany have announced a passively cooled 1.3Ghz version of their Centrino-like 1.6Ghz Thunderbird Mini-ITX form factor motherboard, featuring this rather chunky heatsink.

Lippert's Thunderbird Datasheet

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Transmeta's TM5900 Reference Design
January 26, 2004

Transmeta have introduced a Mini-ITX form factor reference design, powered by their C3-alike Crusoe TM5900 processor at up to around 1Ghz. The board includes on-board video, audio, Ethernet, USB 2.0 ports, IrDA interface, S-Video output, a digital S/PDIF audio output, and a DDR DIMM slot. Crusoe TM5900 chips use a 128-bit VLIW (very long instruction word) engine issuing up to 4 instructions per clock cycle, and feature 512K L2 write-back cache and fully integrated on-chip Northbridge core logic.

Transmeta's Press Release

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The "Attache Server"
January 23, 2004

Day Five of our Week O'Projects. John Kanemura built himself an EPIA M10000 powered Attache Server, complete with 14" LCD screen... We'd like to be there when he tries to take this beauty through customs.

We're always on the lookout for new and interesting Mini-ITX and SBC projects. Why not send us a picture of what you stuffed yours into?

John Kanemura's "Attache Server"

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"Racing The Light"
January 22, 2004

Day Four. Richard Coles chose 5mm Perspex for his EPIA 800 project, then filled it full of blue shiny things. Blue shiny shings are cool. Richard knows Andy France, so he must be cool too (anyone typed "Windows XP" into google and scrolled the page slightly recently?)

"Racing The Light" by Richard Coles

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CVN-65 USS Enterprise Aircraft Carrier
January 21, 2004

Day Three. Russ Caslis always dreamed of owning his own Aircraft Carrier. Now he does, and it doubles as a Mini-ITX machine with matching keyboard and optical beach-rescue hovercraft mouse. He also likes spacecraft.

Russ Caslis' CVN-65 USS Enterprise Aircraft Carrier

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The "Ambulator I"
January 20, 2004

Mini-ITX Project Week Day Two. Webb Spidermann's Ambulator I is a wearable computer, as modelled here by the Unknown Test Pirate. Ambulator is actually a modified Bantam PC, with a screen, hand-held trackball and powered by a UPS battery. Very cunning.

Webb Speidermann's Ambulator I

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The "Borg Appliance"
January 19, 2004

It's Mini-ITX Project Week. We're going to be adding a project a day every day this week, or until we get bored. Magazine editors rejoice...

Chris Jang set up a small machine shop in his 600 square foot Texas apartment bedroom to remedy a foolish mistake when over tightening a machine screw. Several months and over 100 hours of construction time later, a Borg-like concuction of aluminium and polycarbonate emerged.

Chris Jang's Borg Appliance

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Mappit's A4F
January 16, 2004

Meet the Mappit A4F, from Antipodeans Ramlowe Design. This EPIA M powered Mini-ITX PC is aimed at industrial, dusty or low-noise environments, with a closed design and fanless operation. The Mappit is available in 315 x 205 x 65mm desktop format and also as a 1U rackmount (snappily called the A4F 19-1HE). Apparently a tablet version with integrated 15in LCD screen is in the works.

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Soltek's Qbic Mini-Barebones Systems
January 15, 2004

Soltek have added two C3 and VIA CLE266 + VT8235 chipset-based Qbics to their range of mini barebones systems. The 800Mhz C3 IQ3601 and 1Ghz C3 IQ3602 both measure 330 x 215 x 200mm, and are both available in Black/Mirror or Silver/Aluminium finishes. Soltek's own SL-B6A-F800 and SL-B6A-F1000 motherboards are at the heart of the Qbics and are very similar to VIA's EPIA M boards in chipset and capabilities, though they measure 170 x 220mm. Average noise levels are said to be around 30dB, though with more powerful machines available in this increasingly competitive area it may be pricing that determines who well it fares.

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A Few More EPIA MII Pictures
January 13, 2004

We've been posting EPIA MII pictures on this site for yonks now, but here's some pictures of an EPIA MEII 6000 that arrived just before Christmas. The tape on the side of the PC Card reader holds the eject button in place during transit - we removed it when we stuffed in a randomly selected Wi-Fi card and took the final picture. Available in the shops any day now...

Motherboard

Rear Panel

With PC Card installed

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ApeXtreme Gaming Console shown at CES
January 12, 2004

VIA Technologies, Digital Interactive Systems Corp (DISC) and Apex Digital were showing their ApeXtreme console at CES last week, a hybrid PC and game console running primarily on VIA components. At the heart of the ApeXtreme is a 1.4Ghz C3 CPU, CN400 chipset, 6 channel audio and S3's DeltaChrome DX9 graphics processor. Connectivity is provided in the form of USB 2.0, DVI, S-Video, Component Video, RCA, S/PDIF and 10/100 LAN, and a built-in DVD Player and 40GB Hard Drive provide storage. A combination of Windows XP Embedded and a custom BIOS and software from DISC automagically configures PC games to run on the machine's hardware ("Drop and Play"), simplifying the installation and setup process usually required. In a Sony dominated console market the ApeXtreme will face an uphill struggle, but it does demonstrate some technologies that could filter through to forthcoming Mini-ITX and Nano-ITX products. Here's some pictures from CES taken by our trained robot lobster:

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IBM to manufacture next C3 CPU
January 08, 2004

VIA have cemented a deal with IBM to manufacture the next generation of C3 CPUs (codenamed C5Y or "Esther"), using a 90 nanometer manufacturing process at IBM's East Fishkill chip foundry in New York. Semiconductor manufacturing plants cost billions of dollars to build and come with design and engineering expertise thrown in, so many companies outsource to such foundries. IBM's plant is relatively new, but has already won contracts with several major clients including AMD and Sony. VIA's decision may have been swayed by IBMs copper interconnects, low-k dielectric insulation and silicon-on-insulator technologies, all useful tools for cutting power consumption and increasing performance. VIA hope to eventually reach 2Ghz with this new alliance - though they will still be using their longtime partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. to make their current processors and chipsets.

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