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Choosing the right DC-DC PSU

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AMD's Project Quantum

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The Redstone PC is the ultimate Mini-ITX Minecraft Machine

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April 09, 2013
Installing NAS4Free

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Building an XBMC 12 Home Theatre PC

January 25, 2011
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August 06, 2010
Building a Green PC

February 15, 2010
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The "Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle 2008"

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September 12, 2008
"Florian", the DVD burning robot

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June 26, 2006
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May 17, 2006
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February 18, 2006
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October 24, 2005
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October 06, 2005
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July 21, 2005
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July 07, 2005
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May 25, 2005
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Mini-ITX Online Store

May 16, 2005
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May 15, 2005
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May 11, 2005

May 10, 2005
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April 20, 2005
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March 09, 2005
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January 30, 2005
First Nano-ITX Project?

January 17, 2005
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January 15, 2005
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December 15, 2004
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December 03, 2004

October 06, 2004
The "Coealacanth-PC"

September 17, 2004
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August 26, 2004
The "C1541 Disk Drive ITX"

August 25, 2004

August 13, 2004
The "Quiet Cubid"

August 06, 2004

July 14, 2004
The "Moo Cow Moo"

July 02, 2004
The "Mini Mesh Box"

Full alphabetical archive on right hand side of page...

Nehemiah M10000 Review
Posted on May 19, 2003

The Apollo CLE266 Chipset

VT8235 South Bridge and CLE266 North Bridge

Underneath the aluminium double heatsink lies the VT8235 South Bridge and CLE266 North Bridge (on the right). Both of these support chips together are referred to as the VIA Apollo CLE266 chipset. The EPIA M9000 and EPIA ME6000 have a much smaller heatsink just over the North Bridge.

CLE266 North Bridge

The North Bridge connects the CPU at high speed to the major internal interfaces on the computer, i.e. the memory, PCI bus and AGP port (if present). It also connects to the South Bridge. The CLE266 North Bridge also provides on-board video with an integrated "Unichrome" graphics core (aka CastleRock), from VIA's graphics subsidiary, S3. UniChrome is primarily a 128-bit 2D graphics engine optimised for multimedia playback, although it does have a 64-bit 3D graphics engine for rudimentary 3D tasks. Most importantly, Unichrome has an integrated MPEG-2 decoder with video scaling for high quality hardware-based DVD acceleration. The CLE266 supports CRT, LCD or TV dual display technology, dual video inputs (although the EPIA M has no video input) and supports DDR (Double Data Rate) SDRAM memory modules.

VT8235 South Bridge

The South Bridge connects many "slower" (in computing terms) external interfaces to the North Bridge and then to the CPU. The VT8235 South Bridge includes integrated support for up to 6 USB 2.0 ports, ATA-133, 10/100Mbps Ethernet, PCI, 6 Channel AC-97 Surround Sound, and connectivity to the North Bridge by the V-Link interface.

Supporting Chips

Many of the supporting chips on the EPIA Ms were upgraded from the classic EPIAs to add or improve on input and output functionality. Here are details of a few of them.

VT1616 Six-TRAC Audio Codec

VT1616 Six-TRAC Audio Codec

The VT1616 audio codec links to the South Bridge and handles analogue to digital conversion of audio output streams, and digital to analogue conversion of audio input. It's VIA's answer to Realtek's ALC650 codec, included on many current motherboards. As memorising chip model numbers isn't the most exciting thing most people would like to do, VIA now call it the VIA Vinyl Six-TRAC. The Six-TRAC can support 6 output channels for 5.1 surround audio, and 12 input channels configured as 5 stereo pairs and 2 mono inputs. On the EPIA Ms, 4 input channels are utilised - the Line and Microphone level input jacks.

VIA recently licenced surround sound software technology from Sensaura, who have also worked with NVidia's nForce boards and on the Xbox. The new marketing name for this software and the Apollo CLE266 chipset is "Vinyl Audio". The EPIA Ms conveniently have this chipset. The latest audio driver was recently released, and is the first to include the DirectSound3D compatible Sensaura technology. The driver is of course called "Stylus"...

VT1622M Digital TV Encoder

The EPIA Ms use the VT1622M Digital TV Encoder, a step up from the VT1621 used in classic EPIAs. The VT1622M supports composite, S-Video, component interlaced and progressive scan output, although the EPIA Ms do not have the necessary RGB interface to output progressive scan video.

VT6103 Networking Controller - used on all the EPIAs. Provides support for the onboard 10/100 ethernet.

VT1211 Super I/O Controller - provides a floppy disk controller, parallel interface support, and adds hardware monitoring of fan speed and cpu temperature (the classic EPIAs don't have this available to the OS)

VT6307S Fire IIM 1394 Host Controller - 2-port IEEE 1394 (Firewire) host controller. Firewire ports can be connected to the 2 headers on the motherboard using the provided Firewire / USB 2.0 module. Many EPIA cases have their own modules built into the front panel.

Back Panel Connectors -->

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