Packed with features, but only 17cm x 17cm in size. Small is quite literally beautiful.
Earlier in the week, VIA announced the next version of its mini-ITX form factor – we’ve managed to grab a picture of the reference board following the press conference. I’ll be fairly light on details here, as Gordon has done an excellent job of discussing the new form factor, but I have to say that I’m very excited by what VIA has achieved here.
Not only is there a full PCI-Express x16 slot, but there are also four SATA 3Gbps connectors, an IDE connector and two DDR2 memory slots; the board also requires a 24-pin ATX connector as well. What’s more, the rear I/O panel is suitably packed with connectivity options. It features one VGA port (and an optional HDMI port on an add-in card), three 3.5mm audio jacks for six channel audio, Gigabit LAN and at least four USB 2.0 ports.
Only when you start listing the features this board have do you realise just how much work VIA has done with the mini-ITX 2.0 form factor – previous boards have suffered poor connectivity, a complete lack of upgradability options and seemed a lot more crowded than this reference board does.