VIA Artigo: A Pico-ITX System

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VIA Artigo: A Pico-ITX System

Feb. 11, 2009 by Lawrence Lee

VIA Artigo 1000A
Pico-ITX Builder Kit

Small Form Factor Barebones System
Street Price

While many PC enthusiasts are currently enamored with the small size of mini-ITX, few realize it is actually the largest of the ITX family of form factors — VIA also developed nano-ITX and pico-ITX. The latter has been generating great interest recently due to nVidia's showcasing of a reference pico-ITX system powered by their new Ion platform, a combination of the GeForce 9400M GPU and the power efficient Intel Atom CPU.

When you'll be able to get your hands on such a system or how much it will cost is anyone's guess, but when they do hit retail, they will not have the distinction of being the only pico-ITX form factor computer on the market. Though buried in relative obscurity, the Artigo Pico-ITX Builder Kit has been produced and sold for sometime by VIA, the progenitor of the ITX family. It is a tiny barebones system which comes unassembled. Putting it together creates a functional PC that fits in the palm of your hand.

Delightfully diminuitive.

Powered by VIA's C7 1.0GHz processor and the VX700 chipset with S3 Unichrome Pro II integrated graphics, it won't be winning any performance contests, but it should be enough for basic tasks. Its main advantage is its ultra-small footprint, allowing it to fit in places a "real" system cannot. The case is fitted with holes on the side that allow it to be mounted inside a 5.25" optical drive bay, for those who want to improve their social standing through the notoriety of being one of the few who can claim to have a computer inside a computer.

The Artigo builder kit comes in a simple box with a plastic handle.

Box contents.

The kit includes a case, 60W power brick, DC-DC converter board, and motherboard with embedded CPU — the other components required for a fully operational system are a stick of RAM, a hard disk drive, and an operating system. The Artigo supports USB, VGA, and RJ45 out of the box, but VIA also provides adapters for COM, DVI, and PS/2 ports and one for ATX power. There is no place for these in the enclosure however, they are extras for those wanting to do some heavy modification and customization.

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