Home | News Archive | August 2004

VIA's Enhanced Linux Media Player
August 31, 2004

VIA has launched version 3.02 of their enhanced version of the popular Linux Xine media player. The open source project, ingeniously called the VIA enhanced Xine Player (VeXP) is designed to take advantage of the hardware capabilities of the company's CLE266 and CN400 chipsets. Regular readers will know the CLE266 resides on the current crop of Mini-ITX boards, while the CN400 will reside on future EPIA Mini-ITX offerings, such as the imminent EPIA SP boards, and the not-so-imminent Nano-ITX boards. Current CLE266 Mini-ITX boards will benefit from improved MPEG-2 acceleration, while CN400 boards will also have MPEG-4 acceleration. VIA claims the software will cut CPU workload by 50 percent. Let's hope that mplayer also gets the VIA treatment.

VeXP supports many popular file formats, including AVI, ASF, CDDA, DVD, MP3, VCD and RM. Look for VeXP to work with the following Linux distributions: Fedora Core 1, Mandrake 9.2, MontaVista 3.1, Red Flag 4.0, Red Hat 7.3/8.0/9.0, and SuSE 8.1.

VIA enhanced Xine Player - VeXP

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The "Commodore 1541 Disk Drive ITX"
August 26, 2004

Steve Olsen used a Commodore 1541 Disk Drive for his creation...

Steve Olsen's "Commodore 1541 Disk Drive ITX PC"

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August 25, 2004

Jay Phillips decided to shell his project using a SEGA CD system he found languishing unloved in his basement. One EPIA M10000 and some spare computer parts later and the SEGA-ITX was born...

Jay Phillips' "SEGA-ITX"

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New Enamel Cubit 3s!
August 19, 2004

Hoojum Design, in partnership with Mini-ITX.com have launched the next generation Cubit 3 - an all-Aluminium Mini-ITX enclosure now with a rather splendid enamel finish. Five new colours are available : Pure White, Graphite Black, Larkspur Blue, Shell Pink and Duck Egg Blue (duck eggs are green where we come from). The Cubit 3 has flexible powering options, allowing you to choose a Power Supply suitable for your needs. The forthcoming Nanode will have the same enamel finish, so this is a chance to build its bigger brother a few months early...

Enamel Cubit 3s at the Mini-ITX Online Store

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The "Quiet Cubid"
August 13, 2004

John Robinson decided his MII 10000 and Cubid 3688 case combination wasn't quite quiet enough, so in the true tradition of Mini-ITXing he decided to do something about it. He ended up with a near-silent Linux server and internet router. This is how he did it...

John Robinson's "Quiet Cubid"

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BCM's MX266 Mini-ITX Board
August 12, 2004

BCM Advanced Research, in California have announced their MX266 industrial Mini-ITX board. The '266' refers to the CLE266 chipset (as found on most current EPIA boards) - the board itself will run any VIA C3/Eden CPU at up to 1Ghz. Specifications include: Dual LAN (one at 10/100 and one at Gigabit speeds), 48-bit LVDS, PCI slot capable of supporting a 3 slot PCI riser, Mini-PCI slot, 2 IDE channels, Dual SATA supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and a bootable Compact Flash Socket. The MX266 will operate from both an ATX PSU and a single 5V input, and a TV out module with composite and component video out will be available early next year. BCM are targetting the board at Medical, POS, Kiosk, and Digital Multimedia applications, and it is fully compatible with all flavours of Windows including Embedded and CE 4.2, Red Hat and SUSE Linux and a variety of other operating systems.

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August 06, 2004

Nico3k assembled low cost components for his Car PC, all apart from the BMW 325i that is. His system has a touchscreen monitor, GPS, DivX and MP3 playback, all powered by an EPIA ME6000 inside an IKEA key box...

Nico3k's "BMWPC"

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Transmeta Reference Board from IBASE
August 05, 2004

Transmeta have approved the IBASE MB860 Mini-ITX motherboard as an evaluation platform for their Efficeon processor. The MB860 is driven by Transmeta's Efficeon TM8600 running at 1Ghz with cunningly integrated North Bridge functionality, and has an ATI M7 graphics controller with 16MB of onboard memory supporting CRT, TFT, TV and TMDS output, and an ALI M1563M South Bridge. Ports and headers are as to be expected on today's Mini-ITX about town, with the possible exception of the LVDS and TDMS interfaces, and the 44 pin laptop-style IDE connector (IDE 2 in the picture). Memory is catered for with a DDR SODIMM socket, which can accept up to 1GB of DDR 333 memory. Ethernet connectivity can be optionally 10/100 or 10/100/1000 (the MB860F).

The Efficeon TM8600 CPU is an interesting chip - it uses code morphing to dynamically optimise and translate x86 instructions and SSE, SSE2 and MMX extensions into VLIW (Very Long Instruction Words), a form of parallel processing pioneered by Josh Fisher's "ELI" group at Yale University. Embedded power management software dynamically adjusts frequency and voltage to reduce heat dissippation and power usage of the CPU to between 1 and 2W under load.

As the MB860 is an evaluation platform targetted and priced for industrial customers to create other low power consumption devices (set-top boxes, laptops, routers, media servers etc.) we might not see one inside a Big Trak just yet - but it will be interesting to see how a Transmeta powered board compares to similar offerings from VIA.

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