Very interesting review, not least because it confirms the rumour I got (on Monday) that these boards had changed -although the rumour only mentioned the heatsink, not the battery (by the way, if Lawrence could measure how high the battery is from the board (I suspect it may now be 7mm to match the SODIMM) I'd be really really
grateful). The original battery mounting is/was so bad I had to change an enclosure to accommodate the *******. The new one looks unbelievably better.
I am surprised the fan is still so noisy, because the original was a total disaster from a noise point of view, I can't see why they would change it, but not improve it
You could use a SATA drive if you rigged a SATA power connector on the PSU; the board has a SATA data connector (some of the later ones have a power connector too).
Although to be honest, I can't see any realistic application for this board where you would care about that -you'd either be using a flash module (and the IDE ones as smaller and cheaper) network booting or going the cheapskate method (which is what I do) and using a USB key.
Since I use this board (or rather an earlier revision, but the same part no.) I have studied the manual in depth, so I can clear up what all the headers do, and I'm going to do that by posting a list of all the expansion connections the board has:
VGA (full size connector soldered onto the board. Connector is a physically delicate part and shouldn't have been fitted. 2mm pin header would have been much better)
LAN (full size connector, slightly oversized apparently to cater for Ethernet isolation requirements internally (no transformer and gap on the board))
IDE (laptop sized, complete with power. Placement dubious because leaves pins vulnerable to damage, but allows many flash modules to connected directly and not exceed height of heatsink and SODIMM slot, good for integration)
SATA (full size, selection is dubious as using a straight SATA cable exceeds heatsink height (right angle cable OK). I would rather have had a right angle connector flush with an edge of the board, although that would have brought its own problems)
USB (4 USB 2.0, on 2mm pins, front of board. What else can you say)
PS/2 (on 2mm pins, front of board (wouldn't back have been more sensible?))
Front Panel (2mm pins, front of board)
Audio (2mm pins, 5.1 with device sense, front of board, I've never tested it on mine but I assume it works)
Com Port (2mm pins at the rear of the board. Sensible placement)
LVDS/DVI (1mm pins with surround. In LVDS mode can also control LCD backlight inverter)
Multimedia Connector (Brings out pretty much everything else, including GPIO, TWI, SPI (I think anyway, they use non standard labels and I haven't hooked up a scope to try and check) SPDIF, and a lot of others -it's an 80 way very
fine pitch connector)
PICO power (2mm pins with keyed surround, 3.3, 5, 12, 5_SB)
Now, as to who might want it? Someone who needs to use an x86 because an ARM option lacks
a) drivers (big one)
b) a good C compiler/debugger (ducking before the gcc fans club me)
c) support for some programming languages (e.g. MATLAB realtime)
...and where size/weight constraints preclude any other x86 solution. You don't really care about cost because Via is (at least for the past 18 months or so) the only game in town.
Also, if you match it with a WI (wide input) PICO PSU, you get an x86 that you can power from a 6xAA battery box (or a PP3 battery).
Now why would you use this one rather than the 500Mhz fanless model? (power consumption quoted at 1W, haven't had one to test yet) Because the 1Ghz one is cheaper and easier to get hold of -so even if you plan to use the fanless one, chances are you'll do dev work on this board, because each replacement will cost less.