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Nehemiah M10000 Review
Posted on May 19, 2003

Fan Noise and Cooling

EPIA Fan  and Heatsink Types

The EPIA 5000 and EPIA ME6000 are passively cooled and therefore require no fans. They both use large aluminium heatsinks to remove heat from their Eden CPUs. These boards are ideal for situations where totally silent computing is required. The 800 and M9000 both cool their C3 CPUs with a 40mm square 12V AVC C4010T12H fan sitting atop a shorter heatsink. The fan has a maximum airflow of 7.87 CFM, noise level of 29.0 dB and rotates at 6200 rpm.

EPIA M10000 "Fansink"

The M10000 introduced a new CPU fan, larger CPU heatsink and a new double heatsink arrangement cooling the Northbridge and for the first time, the Southbridge. The fan is a 12V BI-Sonic BS401012M with a maximum airflow of 6.48 CFM, noise level of 24.5 dB and rotates at 5000 rpm. It should therefore be quieter than the earlier fan.

We compared the two fans together, and found the BI-Sonic used on the M10000 to be quieter than the AVC. The AVC had a slight irregularity to its tone, where the M10000 simply spun quietly, fairly quickly. This isn't to say either were loud - they are both much quieter than the average 80mm case fan and in keeping with the EPIAs "near silent computing" philosophy. We have found some AVC fans do get louder over time - a rheostat such as the Zalman FanMate can slow down troublesome fans and lower their noise levels with no adverse effects.

Power Consumption

VIA claim a 10% drop in power consumption for the Nehemiah M10000, which would give it a maximum power consumption of about 23 or 24W under heavy load. The M9000 runs at about 17W when idle and 26W under load, the ME6000 about 3W below that and the 800 about the same under load but only requiring 10W when idle. The EPIA 5000 is the machine that consumes the least power - idling at 9W and running at 16W under load. And this is for the entire motherboard - compare and contrast with an Athlon or Pentium consuming 70-90W.

Low power consumption is central to VIA's philosophy - it means reduced heat generation, which means in turn reduced cooling required, which leads to quieter and smaller PCs, which makes for a better working environment.


Many of today's CPUs are capable of being overclocked. Athlons and Celerons can often be driven far beyond their rated speed, and many owners now overclock their CPUs as a matter of course. This of course generates more heat, which isn't really in keeping with the EPIA design philosophy. We had to try though. The C3 stores its multiplier setting on the MSR level within internal registers, i.e. alterable in software for the life of your operating system session. If you go too high don't worry - the multiplier setting will default to factory values on the next reboot. FSB settings aren't alterable in the BIOS - not in the right direction anyway.

We tried to alter our Nehemiah multiplier (default settings are 7.5 x 133MHz) using WCPUID - but it wouldn't budge using our version of the software. Shame - it works for all the other EPIAs. In theory it would be possible to take a lead pencil to the bridges atop a Nehemiah C3 after ripping off the heatsink - this of course is a hugely warranty invalidating procedure. And every time you try it, a kitten dies.

EPIA Linux Support

We're not Linux experts here at Mini-ITX. We do know that support for the multimedia features of the EPIA M has been thin on the ground, but is improving. Source code has only recently been released to enable these features, prior to that only binary drivers were available. We have installed Redhat 8.0 fine on EPIAs and EPIA Ms, but not used them extensively - there's only so many hours in the day! We wouldn't want to try to comment knowledgeably on the current status of Linux on the EPIA range. If anyone thinks they can - feel free to contact us.

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