updated 09:00 am EDT, Thu June 5, 2008
VIA Mini-ITX 2.0
VIA this morning continued a string of announcements for its computer platforms with the launch of Mini-ITX 2.0, its latest platform for mini desktop PCs. The spec for mainboards is designed to allow small (6.7in square), quiet systems using processors such as VIA's own Nano but is unique in mandating a full-speed, 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 slot; the requirement gives all systems room for a fast video card, virtually guaranteeing support for DirectX 10 and OpenGL 2 in games and other apps that demand advanced 3D; an integrated DirectX 9-class chipset is also present as a fallback.
The form factor also dictates support for at least 2GB of RAM, VGA out with HDMI as an add-in option, 5.1-channel surround, and gigabit Ethernet; expansion comes through the inclusion of at least two Serial ATA II connectors, one for parallel ATA, and at least four USB ports. Stock configurations should handle Windows Vista Home Premium and XP as well as Linux distributions that include gOS, SuSE, and Ubuntu.
VIA offers up its Mini-ITX sequel as an open platform that can be customized by PC makers to fit in different platforms, but will also offer stock mainboards for hobbyists. Both the boards and complete systems using the platform should be available during the fall.