VIA’s second-generation EPIA M-series Mini-ITX motherboards have boosted specifications and measure just 17x17cm. Touted as the world’s smallest x86 processor platform, the boards feature low power consumption, low heat and low noise.
These boards are ideal for building thin client and small form factor PCs to serve as appliances such as multimedia jukebox-style Hi-Fi PCs. They can be placed in the most unlikely locations, such as in the dashboards or boots of vehicles, inside plush toys and even inside toy cars (as pictured without its chassis).
The new M-series uses DDR RAM (up to 1GB) instead of SDRAM and the integrated VIA graphics chipset can now use up to 64MB (up from 8MB). Other stand-out features include one built-in PCI slot, two high-speed USB 2.0 and FireWire ports, and single Ethernet and TV-out connectors. The boards can employ the fanless VIA Eden ESP processor to help limit noise but can also use a VIA C3-E series processor (roughly equivalent to an Intel Pentium III) that does have a fan. Speeds range from 600MHz to 1GHz.