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VIA EPIA PX10000 Pico-ITX Review
Posted on June 2, 2007 Go to:

Final Thoughts

We love how small and quiet this board is. An EPIA CN 10000 Mini-ITX motherboard now seems huge in comparison, but the PX is equally as powerful and consumes less power. In a month or two, the average punter will be able to do things that only people with access to industrial boards could do. We spent a lot of time testing video playback, but we know from running our store that EPIA boards are put to work doing a huge range of things - certainly not just media playback devices. The small size of this board can only add to these possibilities. We'd really like to see a Pico-ITX powered robot on our project pages one day.

The current lack of Windows video acceleration was a disappointment. VIA only go half way with this feature on EPIA motherboards. They produce video drivers with the capability of supporting acceleration, then expect customers to purchase their playback filters from third parties. We'd like to finally see the other half provided by VIA - in particular an accelerated H264 MPEG-4 playback filter for EPIA motherboards. We'll gladly even pay a (small) fee for it. This review would have been released a week earlier and $70 under budget if we hadn't spent so long trying to get this one feature to work.

VIA's support for Linux seems a lot more enthusiastic than in the past, but still needs a central repository and better documentation. Installing an EPIA to playback video effectively under Linux is usually a paperchase involving trips to several different websites. Most people aren't Alan Cox - this needs to be made as simple as possible. VIA could learn from NVidia here - NVidia's Linux drivers have equal prominence with Windows drivers on the NVidia website, and install within minutes as easily as any Windows driver.

As with the Nano-ITX, we're concerned about the lack of enclosures available - though of course it's very early days. Industrial customers may not see this as a problem, but many individual customers will want something tiny to put their board inside. Manufacturers are understandably unwilling to invest in new case designs until a user base is available, creating a Catch-22 situation. Perhaps VIA could do something to help things along here, at relatively low cost. A well designed simple metal frame for the board could have been provided to give a starting point for both manufacturers and home users.

Pricing is always a difficult issue with VIA boards. Development costs have to be recouped, and industrial pricing is traditionally higher than consumer pricing. VIA sell into both markets and have tended to price their products somewhere in the middle, satisfying industrial users but confusing some consumers. Hopefully VIA will get their pricing right with this board, and we will see future generations from VIA and other manufacturers.


  • Incredibly small
  • Full x86 compatible motherboard
  • Very quiet and effective fan and low-profile heatsink
  • Very low power consumption
  • Capable medium resolution media playback
  • DVI-D output with a cable provided
  • Interface board a bonus*
  • No need to remove heatsink to install RAM like the Nano-ITX
  • Accelerated encryption features should be impressive


  • Accelerated video seems difficult/impossible to enable
  • Interface board adds to size, could have been realised better
  • Some of the provided cables could be more substantial
  • Lack of enclosures may be a problem
  • No Mini-PCI Express expansion or similar
  • Not completely fanless
  • Only one SATA port

*Update (25th July): The PX-O board is not included in all (or perhaps any) retail packages. Instead, a 4x USB 2.0 cable is included.

As a reminder of just how small this thing is, employees at a Japanese store got hold of an early board and put together this Pico-Gameboy. The system boots XP from a 4GB Compact Flash card, with a VGA output and 12V DC input on one side. The A/B buttons became power and drive activity lights. Those crazy Japanese fools.

Disclaimer: All specifications are of course subject to change. Our PX 10000 is a first generation production Pico-ITX board sourced by ourselves, not a review sample. At the time of writing the Mini-ITX store hasn't received any units - though we don't expect much to be different when quantity arrives in the next month or two.

Many thanks to Hiro and Marc for their assistance with this review.

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