Home | News Archive | September 2003

The "Spider Case"
September 29, 2003

Alex "Qtip42" Wiley's Spider Case took it's inspiration from a digital artwork piece of a mechanical spider by Giorgio Camnasio. Inside this monstrous glowing beast there are several hundred mechanical baby spiders ready to hatch and unleash their terror into the world. Not really - EPIA 800.

Alex "Qtip42" Wiley's "Spider Case"

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September 26, 2003

Donald Thompson didn't know what he was letting himself in for when he ripped the dead innards from a Tomy Omnibot and created MR OMNI. It seems MR OMNI is the demanding type - although he already has a Nehemiah M10000 mainboard and good quality hardware to match, the robot apparently insists on having more and more features installed. This week it was cold cathode lighting, next week it's wireless. Perhaps next month it will be webcam eyes and a BatBelt. Who knows what it might be this time next year - machine guns and lasers, as Mr Omni defends Tokyo from giant prehistoric mutant lizards? Again? We can hardly wait.

Donald Thompson's "MR. OMNI"

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Nano-ITX - Exclusive Pictures
September 25, 2003

Well that didn't take long... Exclusive Nano-ITX Pictures

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Hoojum Launch Cubit 3
September 24, 2003

Hoojum (formerly Netbox) in the UK have launched the Cubit 3, the 3rd generation of the rather splendid Cubit range of Mini-ITX cases. The Cubit 3 involves a radical change of construction design making building and upgrading refreshingly simple, but losing nothing of the style and solid build quality of the original Cubit. The lovingly handmade case is 2Kg of anodised Aluminium, available in one of twelve colours - right down to the colour matched thumbscrews on the back, these cases simply ooze quality.

The Cubit 3 measures just 147mm x 210mm x 210mm, and has a slew of features: a front mounted 6-in-1 card reader, front mounted USB 2.0 and Mini-Firewire ports; Blue LED power button; Full height PCI slot; Lirc/WinLirc compatible Infrared remote-control port; and can be powered using both Morex and Lex power supply kits. Noise is kept to a minimum (

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VIA introduce Nano-ITX at Computex
September 24, 2003

VIA CEO and President Wen-chi Chen announced today that the Nano-ITX platform would be launched before the end of 2003. Chen was speaking at the VIA Technology Forum 2003 (VTF), currently underway in Taipei, Taiwan. After reviewing the success achieved by the Mini-ITX form factor in its brief 18-month existence, Chen introduced the new platform, describing it as "the shape of things to come" (though perhaps that should have been the "size of things to come"..?)

The Nano-ITX platform measures just 120mm by 120mm (4.7 x 4.7in).

The secret of Nano-ITX is the Nano-BGA (Ball Grid Array) package, which has allowed VIA to squeeze a 1Ghz C3 CPU into just 15mm square. VIA states that the Nano-ITX form-factor "is ideally suited for the next generation of smaller, quieter, digitally intelligent home, office, mobile, industrial and commercial devices". We need hardly point out that it's also ideally suited to letting their engineers do even cooler projects after a hard day's work. But we digress. Nobody would possibly want to do that.

We know exactly what you're thinking - what does it look like? Well, since we couldn't make it to Computex this year, we only have this photo to show you. So we're going to throw caution to the wind and offer a glorious case badge bounty to the first reader to send us a *decent* picture (that's a picture of the Nano-ITX, smart guy). There's also a prize for the most convincing fake photo...

Read about VIA's "Dawn of Digital Intelligence" (apparently...)

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VIA's Infotainment Server
September 23, 2003

VIA have been showing a reference design at Computex for a Mini-ITX powered "Infotainment Server", aimed (naturally) at the familiar multelemediaphotimeshiftingtunerpc market. And we're going to keep using that word until somebody else uses it. Most interesting is the VT6026B reference motherboard used to power the beast - it has the standard "M" CLE266 Northbridge and abilities, but looks to have options of both VT1616 "M" style 6 channel audio (aka VIA Vinyl) and VT1720 Envy 24PT-based 8 channel audio (aka VIA Vinyl Gold). We also think we can see Optical Audio In and Out and a SCART RGB output pin header on the back there, and there's LVDS support inside. PVR functionality is achieved with an additional PCI card, and the Nehemiah C3 1Ghz and fanless Nehemiah Eden 700Mhz are the CPU options. This reference design is aimed at wooing system builders and integrators, so expect to see similar functionality coming to a set-top box near you. Hopefully some of the ideas will make it onto commercial Mini-ITX boards in the future.

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Hush ATX launched at Computex
September 22, 2003

Hush Technologies have announced the Hush ATX at Computex, a beefier version of the super-quiet Hush Mini-ITX PC. The Hush ATX is larger than the Hush Mini-ITX, measuring 440mm x 380mm x 100mm (WxDxH), and can technically support ATX, Micro-ATX and even Mini-ITX motherboards. Cooling for the more power hungry CPU options is aided by port holes at the top rear of the case. The enclosure retains the same distinctive Aluminium styling and integrated heatsink as the Hush Mini-ITX. To keep noise to a minimum, Hush have included a switchable (90-250V) 240W fanless PSU. The Hush ATX will come with many configuration options, including various flavours of Intel/AMD CPUs, Optical Drives, and choices of both 3.5" and 2.5" Hard Drives. Hush have also included a rather cunning anti-theft option - they weigh in at around 15Kg!

Hush-ATX mailing list

Sign up to receive early bird purchasing information here

Hush Technologies have also hooked up with ANDI GmbH in Germany to bundle a 1.7Ghz Celeron Hush ATX (P4M266A chipset) together with a Linux-based OS and supporting software, TV Card and infra-red Remote to produce the Hush ATX MediaServer. Being a Linux PC/Remote/TV Card Combo, it should be able to handle any multelemediaphotimeshiftingtunerpc task thrown at it, with the added benefit of running in silence.

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More Hush Mini-ITX options in October
September 22, 2003

Hush (again) will be adding more options to their range of Hush Mini-ITX PCs in mid October. The twin NIC EPIA CL10000 motherboard will be supported, as will a new hardware-based RAID 1 solution from Accusys, which mounts two identical 2.5" hard disks into one 3.5" drive bay. A new 110W external power supply will help for these more power hungry Hushes. Of course these options will all be available from the Mini-ITX online store.

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AmigaOne Lite to be PowerPC Mini-ITX
September 21, 2003

The new AmigaOne Lite board that has reached prototype stage at Eyetech in Yorkshire, and it's suspiciously Mini-ITX sized. The new generation of Amiga hardware has been available for a while in ATX form, and the new AmigaOS 4.0 is almost complete - though these puppies can also run Linux. PowerPC G3 and G4 versions of the ATX board are currently available (using a MegArray socket for the processor daughtercard), and this Mini-ITX version is on the way (though it is several revisions away from production, which should be early next year). Possible PowerPC CPUs could range from a 433Mhz 750CXe to a speedy 1.3GHz G4. Specifications could be something in the order of: 170cm square Mini-ITX sized motherboard; Gigabit and 10/100 Ethernet on board; ATA133 UDMA RAID IDE controller; USB 2.0; Integrated AGP graphics (we can spot an ATI chip on there); TV-Out; AC97 Sound; PCI slot; PS/2; Serial; Parallel ports and possibly Cardbus and Firewire. Thanks to the legions of Amiga fans who wrote in about this (particularly Sven and Mike)

Follow the A1's progress at Amigaworld.net

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SilentPCReview the Commell P4 Mini-ITX
September 21, 2003

Our friends over at SilentPCReview have conducted some thorough tests on Commell's Pentium 4 based LV-670 and LV-670M Mini-ITX (sized) single board computers, with interesting results.

Commell LV-670 and LV-670M review at SilentPCReview.com

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Earth LCD's BBPC-12 Barebones LCD PC
September 17, 2003

Earth LCD's BBPC-12 is an interesting concept - a fully Mini-ITX compatible LCD PC, available in barebones format. The BBPC-12 is built on a rugged steel chassis containing a 12" NEC NL10276AC24-02 LCD panel supporting 1024x768 resolution, with 180 cd/m2 brightness and a 120:1 contrast ratio. We noticed a resistive touch screen option which should prove useful for some markets. Thanks to Jim for pointing out this similar (non-barebones) LCD PC from Unicorn.

Earth LCD's BBPC-12 Bare Bones Mini-ITX LCD PC

Josh Hubbard's "Pictureframe PC"...

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An Idea...
September 12, 2003, Updated September 17, 2003

We're pondering with the idea of appointing a sub-editor (or whatever name we make up), primarily for the Mini-ITX.com news section. This will give us a bit more time to do other much-needed stuff on the site. Candidates will need a sense of humour and a coherent writing style, and must be technically informed and available most days on email or ICQ. The job will be primarily a journalistic role, no programming or site editing skills will be needed. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours a day helping us out, both full stories and collaborations. If it goes well we'll make it a bit more official and will probably turn it into a (badly) paid position. If you are interested we'll need to see what you can do. Send us a paragraph written in the form of a news item about any Mini-ITX topic you like. If you get stuck for stories try google, or rehash something from one of the VIA sites. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether we have posted the story or not, that's not what we're judging here. Include your name, location, what direction(s) you'd like to see the site going in, and a little bit about yourself - if we don't get on, it's not going to work! We'll take a look after the weekend and report back.

Update: We've received several splendid submissions, and will be contacting them shortly to see if we can take things further. Thank you to everyone who sent emails - it's not too late if you are still interested!

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The "Matrix: Rebirth 8.0"
September 11, 2003

Paul Capello's Matrix-inspired project started out life as an EPIA M10000 inside a plexiglass case, but then it grew a stalk and amniotic sac and everything went terribly, terribly wrong. The Rebirth 8.0 features a VFD, moving puppetry shenanigans and a fingerprint security system, though you'd have to be hard as nails to go near it. Seriously folks, it frightens us (though not as much as this). Being Brits, we didn't catch his appearance on The Screen Savers - but there is a rather tasty video on his site.

Paul Capello's "Matrix: Rebirth 8.0" at thebestcasescenario.com

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The "Cardboard Cube ITX"
September 09, 2003

Steve Dekorte really didn't have time for all that project nonsense, and put together his Mini-ITX enclosure using some heavy cardboard, wood glue, a box cutter (careful kids), and a pen. Although, somebody beat him to it...

Steve Dekorte's "Cardboard Cube ITX"

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TEAC's TMM-2020 Multimedia PC
September 08, 2003

TEAC's TMM-2020 Multimedia PC

TEAC have launched the TMM-2020 Multimedia PC. Powered by the Nehemiah M10000 processor, the TMM-2020 is aimed squarely at the multelemediaphotimeshiftingtunerpc market. If it looks rather familiar, it's because the TMM-2020 (or was it going to be the HE1G?) is an OEM Hush. The TMM-2020 is bundled with Windows XP and Showshifter, a CDRW/DVD combo drive, 125 channel Hauppage WIN TV Tuner card and an Infrared mouse and keyboard. It would look good in front of our telly (hint hint)...

VIA's TMM-2020 press release

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Pentium M Mini-ITX board from Lippert
September 06, 2003

LiPPERT Automationstechnik GmbH, based in Germany, have released details (but not a release date) of their "Thunderbird" Mini-ITX sized integrated motherboard. The Thunderbird uses a 1.6Ghz Pentium M CPU and 855GM supporting chipset (or a close cousin) - both key components in Intel's Centrino laptop platform. The similarities are so close that given a wireless card, this board could be considered to be a Centrino squashed into a 17cm square board.

Specifications given include: Intel Extreme Graphics 2; 2 channel AC-97 sound; 1 x 10/100 Mbit and 1 x 1000Mbit Ethernet ports; support for 6 x USB 2.0 ports (4 on board + 2 headers); VGA, Floppy, Keyboard, Mouse connectors; 2 x Serial ports; 1 x Parallel port; 1 x EIDE connector (Ultra ATA 100); PCI slot; Mini-PCI Slot (Type 1 - shown with Intel wireless card in the picture); IrDA header; 2 x 18-Bit LVDS headers; DIMM socket supporting up to 1GB PC2700 DDR333 SDRAM; Type 2 Compact Flash header (on undersideof motherboard). Power consumption is "t.b.d.", although passive cooling is stated as "possible"...

It's unclear at this stage if the Thunderbird is a design tailored exclusively for OEM custom solutions, or will be available for direct sale to the unwashed masses.

LiPPERT's Thunderbird Mini-ITX (Preliminary Specification PDF)

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Pre-production EPIA TC Pictures
September 02, 2003

Pre-production shots of an EPIA TC have emerged. The TC appears to be either a variant or a renamed version of the EPIA "M2" prototype spotted in March at CeBIT. Maybe it will make another appearance at Computex?

The EPIA TC looks to be the furthest departure from standard EPIA or EPIA M architecture yet. Initial (unconfirmed) specifications include: C3/Eden processor support; CLE266 North Bridge and VT8235 South Bridge; 1 x 200-pin DDR266 SODIMM socket supporting 1GB memory (SODIMMs are smaller than 184-pin DDR SDRAM modules); Onboard CardBus type II and CF reader (RICOH 476 II Module design); VT1612A 2 channel AC’97 audio; and most interestingly of all: a DC-in socket leading to the 12V, 5A, 60W Max DC to DC converter... though we are unsure at this stage whether the TC could be used in vehicles without additional voltage protection circuitry.

Update: TC stands for "Thin Client" - and it looks like this board is destined for that particular market, with the M2 arriving separately. There may not even be a consumer version.

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