Mini-ITX over the last two years have been the ultimate baby of the VIA Embedded team known as VIA VPSD or VIA Platform Services Division. The VPSD team originally was put together back when VIA released the P4X series chipsets. Due to legal issues between VIA and Intel over licensing agreements of the Pentium 4 Netburst bus architecture, no one in the real world of PC manufacturing was willing to take on the wrath of Intel by releasing P4X chipset based motherboard. VIA, in order to sell its embargoed chipset put together the VPSD in order to produce its own motherboards.
When the embargo's were lifted and VIA was able to convince its OEM's to start using its chipsets the VPSD was using, this area looked certain for closure, however VIA wasn't going to let this happen. At about the same time, VIA had acquired the manufacturing plants of Cyrix from National Semiconductor as well as the engineering teams of Centaur halls, who are better known for the IDT Winchip. VIA already had its Cyrix III and C3 CPU's into the market, but now it was time to look at a fully integrated package that not only was cheap, but able to be ultra compact, power efficient and powerful enough to run the day to day tasks of office productivity as well as integration into the home environment.
Mini-ITX was thus born from VIA under the EPIA brand. Designed to be the ultimate in small form factor all in one designs, VIA has got a winner for itself in terms of the HTPC market, as well as the enthusiast car modders who wants to incorporate a PC into their automobiles.
Today we take a look at the latest in the VIA EPIA series based on the latest processors and chipsets to come from the VIA labs. Today we take a close look at the EPIA SP 1300 Mini-ITX motherboard.
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