Well, they might be the world’s first mini-ITX boards from VIA, but that’s splitting hairs. The boards are still worthwhile, however, for how little power they use. VIA might be a distant (distant) third in the x86 chip wars, but their Nano CPUs are known for being energy efficient.
VIA is targeting the two boards, their EPIA-M900 and EPIA-M910, to those markets where size is a major consideration – think digital signage, point-of-sale units, home automation setups, healthcare and more. Any place an embedded system might be required, the EPIA boards could be used, and being standard x86 mini-ITX boards, they offer a lot of flexibility that other embedded systems might not be able to match.
Although the quad-core VIA Nano CPUs might not be up to doing the same high-intensity tasks as your Core i5, i7, or even Bulldozer-based chips might be able to do, they could make a superbly capable home theater PC, as well, since VIA is touting their capability to decode HD video for digital signage systems. Still, you can achieve a pretty low watt draw for a complete system.
VIA is showing off these two EPIA boards with their 1.2GHz VIA Quad-core E-Series CPUs.
Externally, each board includes Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, 4x USB 2.0 ports, a COM port and three audio jacks. Meanwhile, internally, users can expect an on-board PCIe x16 slot (limited to PCIe x8 speeds), up to 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a PCI slot, three more COM ports, SPDIF out and more.