Review: VIA EPIA M w/ new Nehemiah core

CPUs|Motherboards
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March 18, 2003 by Mike Chin

Product
VIA EPIA-M10000 Mini-ITX Mainboard
Manufacturer
VIA Technologies Inc
Supplier
VIA Mainboard
Market Price
~US$175 (Pricewatch)

We've been playing with a pre-production sample of the VIA EPIA-M10000 Mini-ITX board. Ten thousand seems like a pretty big model number; it's the next step after M9000, the model number of the last released EPIA board reviewed here late last year. As many of you may already know, the M10000 features a 1 GHz version of the C3 variant processor used in VIA's mini-ITX boards. It is more than a marginal clock speed upgrade, however. It features a new core code-named Nehemiah that VIA says is faster in many ways than the previous Ezra-T core. More on that later.


No visible surprises with the M10000; still the same tiny 6.5" square footprint.

For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with the Mini-ITX platform by VIA, here is a summary from VIA:

A low power, high performance, and highly integrated x86 platform that provides the most flexible, compatible, and cost-effective solution for building the emerging new generation of connected digital information & entertainment devices. It combines a proven ultra low power sixth generation processor core with a choice of a variety of highly integrated North Bridge and South Bridge chips, as well as a broad spectrum of expansion options for enhanced communications, connectivity, and multimedia functions.

The EPIA M series boards, driven by the newer VIA CLE266 chipset, are designed to tackle a different market segment than the original EPIA series with PLE266 chipset, which will continue to be produced and sold. The multimedia performance improvements in this second generation Mini-ITX board allows VIA to position the EPIA-M series for use in a home entertainment PC.

Detailed specifications on the M boards, straight from VIA's web site:

VIA EPIA-M Mainboard Specification
Processor

- VIA C3/EDEN EBGA Processor

Chipset

- VIA CLE266 North Bridge
- VT8235 South Bridge

System Memory

- 1 DDR266 DIMM socket
- Up to 1GB memory size

VGA

- Integrated VIA CastleRock AGP graphics with MPEG-2 decoder

Expansion Slots

- 1 PCI

Onboard IDE

- 2 X UltraDMA 133/100/66 Connector

Onboard Floppy

- 1 x FDD Connector

Onboard LAN

- VIA VT6103 10/100 Base-T Ethernet PHY

Onboard Audio

- VIA VT1616 6 channel AC'97 Codec

Onboard TV Out

- VIA VT1622 TV out

Onboard 1394

- VIA VT6307S IEEE 1394 Firewire

Onboard I/O

- 1 USB connectors for 2 additional USB 2.0 ports
- 2 1394 connectors for 2 1394 ports
- Front-panel audio connectors (Mic and Line Out)
- CD Audio-in connector
- SIR connector
- CIR connector
- Wake-on-LAN, Wake-on-Ring
- CPU/Sys FAN/Fan 3
- System intrusion connector
- 1 I2C connector
- 1 LVDS connector (Optional)
- Serial port connector for second com port

Back Panel I/O

- 1 PS2 mouse port
- 1 PS2 keyboard port
- 1 Parallel
- 1 RJ-45 LAN port
- 1 Serial port
- 2 USB 2.0 ports
- 1 VGA port
- 1 RCA port (SPDIF or TV out)
- 1 S-Video port
- 3 Audio jacks: line-out, line-in and mic-in; can be switched to 6 channel output

Application

- VIA FliteDeck? Luxurious Utility
- MissionControl-H/W Monitoring, Remote SNMP management
- FlashPort-Live BIOS Flash
- SysProbe-Live DMI Browser

BIOS

- Award BIOS
- 2/4Mbit flash memory

System Monitoring & Management

- CPU temperature monitoring
- CPU voltage monitoring
- Wake-on-LAN, Keyboard-Power-on, Timer-Power-on- System power management
- AC power failure recovery

Form Factor

- Mini-ITX (4 layer)
- 17 cm x 17 cm



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