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Thread: Community Input on the VIA EPIA N

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Community Input on the VIA EPIA N

    Hello all,

    So today marks my first serious foray into getting a computer in the car.
    Looking at some of the other posts and seeing some signatures of items others are using got me looking at simliar options.

    I have a 94 Pontiac Sunbird (Yeah don't laugh, but runs).. it's a boxy little car, not much in the way of space (especially for changing the stereo in it - it's got an odd square-ish deal, no tape, no CD)

    I came across the EPIA N from VIA (http://www.viaembedded.com/product/e...herboardId=221) and was hoping some of the more 'seasoned' people would be able to help evaluate how well this might work, and what issues I should look out for.

    Basically I'd like to use this for the 'normal' stuff, music, movies, GPS...

    I understand the Lilliput 7" touchscreen requires both the VGA and the USB port, and I'm looking to hook my Garmin eTrex to it using a Serial-to-USB converter. There's no firewire, but an external USB CD-ROM might do the trick, there's support for additional USB, or I could use IDE.

    So I'm wondering if there's anything I should be concerned about: power (incompatibilities with the power options needed to run in the car), speed (I think the built-in processor is 1 GHz, though it doesn't actually say), or expandability issues that might prevent this setup from working as intended.

    Any and all feedback much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Seth's Avatar
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    The EPIA N (or Nano-ITX) is not yet available. It is very close to full production though and the current official release date is Q1 2005.
    There are a few pre-production samples floating around (pretty close to the final product I must say) but there are no benchmarks AFAIK.
    VIA announced 3 models : 533MHz (N5000), 800MHz (N8000) and 1GHz (N10000) all passivelly cooled.
    The specs are very impressive and should outperform every known VIA mini-itx board :

    1GHz processor
    CN400 chipset
    MPEG-2 hardware decoder
    MPEG-4 hardware assisted decode function
    S3 UniChrome AGP 8X on-board VGA
    DDR400 SO-DIMM memory slot
    VIA Vinyl 6.1 sound on-board
    SATA HDD interface
    ATA133 interface
    Mini-PCI expansion slot
    IEEE1394 (FireWire)
    USB 2.0

    With such specs it will be more than enough for what you want to do. As far as the PSU is concerned, two things are certain:
    1. The board has a non-standard ATX power connector (will an adapter be included?)
    2. The power consumption will still be very low, comparable to current EPIA's or even lower.

    What will VIA decide about those matters is to be seen...

    Take a look here for some pics of a working sample:

    http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/akiba...tc_epian8.html

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate Change's Avatar
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    Downside to the N-series is fewer back-panel and onboard connectors/headers.

  4. #4
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    Agreed. I didn't see where Firewire was there, but Seth seems to think there is, so maybe there will be multiple versions of the mobo. Not that I would need it, really - I'm looking to use just a CD-ROM (one of those slim frontloaders that look oh-so-sexy) and standard HD.

    Bad part really is release. I want this thing -now-. I guess I'll have to get another Epia board for the time being. For not having all that many choices, there certainly are a lot of things to consider :-p

    The power supply almost looks like the older-style ones with the two sections. As with most things, I could be wrong. :-p

  5. #5
    Newbie TeaVirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seth
    Take a look here for some pics of a working sample:

    http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/akiba...tc_epian8.html
    Wow! Those pics give the best sense of scale out of all I've seen so far. I'm amazed how small it is! I wonder how long ot will be before an ultra compact case is available for that similar to the C134.

    @Morgon
    It's definately hard waiting but this might be worth it! I guess your decision might be partially based on where you want to put it and how much room you have. If you can fit a standard Mini ITX and you're as impaitient as I am then you might as well go for a M10000.

  6. #6
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    Slightly offtopic from my original post, but since you mention it, Tea...
    Would there be any gains from going for the M10K vs the MII? I kinda liked the whole flash-card deal. Instant gratification for seeing pictures... being able to load them using a wireless card in the PCMCIA slot -- is it basically the 'same' aside from the two extra goodies?
    I guess one thing is that I'm already looking ahead to getting a new mobo, it'd almost be silly to dump the cash into an extravagant one now... *sigh* Choices, choices

    Too bad the Flash slot isn't bootable. A Solid State OS drive seems like a decent idea (with pagefile off - I've read the other threads on this topic already )

    To be back on topic:
    The Epia-N is definitely small! (Yeah, alright that was weak)
    I have a 94 Pontiac Sunbird.. space is an issue, but not at too much of a premium that I can imagine. I need to do some case scenarios and simulate where I'd put the Lilliput (Am thinking under the dash, behind (or if you wanna get technical, "in front of") the shifter. And then a slimline slot-load CDROM right under the dash housing. I'll have to take pics or something at some point. It might be tight on legroom with the display down there..

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