VIA has announced it's latest EPIA motherboard, the EPIA SN and it features a 1.8GHz VIA C7 CPU. This is the fastest C7 processor to date from VIA and the company claims up to 30 percent performance boost compared to older EPIA boards. This is also the first board from VIA to have a PCI Express x16 slot and this means that you can add a decent graphics card for those interested in building a home theatre PC based on a VIA board.
The chipset is the VIA CN896 which is paired with the VT8251 southbridge. It has integrated VIA Chrome9 HC graphics and support for HD audio, although the EPIA SN is limited to 5.1-channel audio rather than 7.1-channel. It has dual Ethernet controllers, one 10/100Mbit and one PCI Express Gigabit controller. The board also has two memory slots for DDR2 memory and up to 4GB of DDR2 667 is supported.
Flip the board over and you'll find a mini PCI slot which will accept a wide range of add-on cards such a Wi-Fi and TV-tuners, as well as a Compact Flash memory card slot. Four SATA ports are also available for storage devices, although the board lacks any IDE or floppy connectors. The rear I/O consists of two PS/2 ports, a serial port, a D-sub, four USB 2.0 ports, the two Ethernet ports and three audio connectors.
Additionally the board can be fitted with expansion boards for DVI and LVDS output or for extra COM ports. A header for two additional USB ports is also available alongside connectors for IrDA, a second serial port, front audio and S/PDIF out. Finally the board features an optional trusted platform module from Infineon. For those looking for a noise free version VIA also offers the EPIA SN with a passively cooled 1GHz CPU and there's a 1.5GHz fan cooled version as well.
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