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Intel to push for more Mini-ITX motherboards

Intel to push for more Mini-ITX motherboards

Will we see Intel Mini-ITX motherboards overtake the VIA EPIA range in the near future?

Digitimes reports that Intel is pushing manufacturers to use the Mini-ITX platform for small form factor (SFF) PCs that will use low end Intel processors.

Intel continues to highlight the fact that most SFFs on the market don't conform to a common form factor and this puts stress on system builders outside of those willing to develop their own.

Intel quote:
Although currently mini PCs are available from a number of companies, including AOpen, Shuttle and Acer, production of those SFF PCs are rather limited due to a lack of industry standards, the sources noted.

Mini-ITX boards are notoriously expensive, especially if you're looking for something with a little umpf.

Interestingly Intel also goes on to recommend the use of SIS chipsets instead of its own, highlighting the SIS662 integrated chipsets as the ones to use.

Whilst this will undoubtably expand the market if the initiative takes off, offering existing companies in the Mini-ITX market like VIA more revenue in the long term, it also puts enormous pressure on them.

Unless VIA moves quickly to make cheaper boards with more availability, they can easily be undercut by the more powerful Core 2 processors and the cheaper SIS chipsets. There is little reason for Intel to suggest using a competitor's product other than the fact that it will gain a greater overall effect if it can put a nail or two in the competition. After all, the motherboards will still need to its processors.

Will we see an explosion of cheaper, better innovation and more readily available Mini-ITX motherboards from increased competition? Providing VIA step up to the challenge laid down by Intel this could be possible. Or, are we going to see the demise of the VIA EPIA range within 18-24 months?

14 Comments

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Gordy 23rd January 2007, 16:26 Quote
I've been using a mini-itx rig for my main system for 6months now and I've not looked back.

Hope to see some new boards on the horizon soon!
Bindibadgi 23rd January 2007, 16:32 Quote
Not at the expense of the EPIA range though. :/ but then again, having the ability to use any CPU I want is a massive bonus.
DXR_13KE 23rd January 2007, 16:42 Quote
if at least they were cheaper i would make a portable workstation to take to my uni, instead of buying a laptop that can not be upgraded with ease.
Gordy 23rd January 2007, 16:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Not at the expense of the EPIA range though. :/ but then again, having the ability to use any CPU I want is a massive bonus.

EPIA would still be alive I think. Its very different to a cpu based system, not to mention via having a core duo option epia already :D
Colonel Sanders 23rd January 2007, 18:42 Quote
I like VIA, I'd love to see VIA become more successful. But honestly, I think VIA's future is not looking good. :(

I'm not sure Intel saying "ITX is good" will really effect the industry, I say that mainly 'cause ITX has been around for a while and I think anyone who would want to use ITX has probbably already looked at it. I also think there will be producers who remember Intel's plans for BTX.

L J
Tyinsar 23rd January 2007, 20:01 Quote
I've looked at ITX several times and would love to build a system based on it. The only things holding me back are performance and price. I found ITX boards that support C2D but none that I saw had 16x PCI-e (Commel had a board with a 16x slot but didn't run it at full width and the price was to high). Ideally I'd like to see a board with a C2D socket, 965 chipset (with a mild overclocking BIOS), and a 16x PCI-e slot laid flat like so:
Code:
 ________________  ______
|                ||      |
|                ||      |
|                ||      |
|  Motherboard   __ Video|
|                || card |
|                ||      |
|                ||      |
|                __      |
|                ||      |
|________________||______|
Since pretty much everything else is onboard anyway this plus a low profile cooling system would allow people to make decently powerful, highly portable, UPGRADEABLE systems in a format similar to laptops or (better yet) the newer iMacs.
Gordy 23rd January 2007, 21:17 Quote
I have the commell board and I run an x800 gto2 on it fine :)
Tyinsar 23rd January 2007, 21:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordy
I have the commell board and I run an x800 gto2 on it fine :)
Cool. I saw some reports that said it only worked at 1x or 4x. Can you confirm what speed / width it actually runs at?
rowin4kicks 23rd January 2007, 22:18 Quote
wow i would defionatly look into a itx board if they came down in price ( i never even found out about the core2 option ?!?!?) lol
they come in handy for car pcs as well which would be another plus
r4tch3t 24th January 2007, 00:52 Quote
A better industry standard would be great, would definitely make it easier to build these. And cheaper too.
I was looking at getting a SFF for a media center, but due to the lack of real upgrade ability, I am going for a HTPC case.

Little typo
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Article
After all, the motherboards will still need to its processors.
Sloth 24th January 2007, 01:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Who knows??!!11?!
Teh fix3d
Mini-ITX but cheaper would be awesome, perhaps become more standard than mATX? I know I'd rather get mITX seeing as it's smaller, provided it had PCIe...
r4tch3t 24th January 2007, 01:20 Quote
Don't ya hate it when that happens.
*fixed
Nezuji 25th January 2007, 10:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordy
I've been using a mini-itx rig for my main system for 6months now and I've not looked back.

Hope to see some new boards on the horizon soon!
I also run an EPIA SP13000 as my only computer and it works a treat. As for new boards, check out www.mini-itx.com. In addition to the 12cm square Nano-ITX, VIA have just announced a 10cm x 7.2cm "Pico-ITX" model.

I can't really say that I agree with the "expensive" bit, though. I paid a premium for mine, since I got it when it had only been on the market for a month or two, and it still cost a touch less than a low-end Celeron/Mobo pair would've cost me at the time.

Nezuji :)
Gordy 26th January 2007, 11:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
Cool. I saw some reports that said it only worked at 1x or 4x. Can you confirm what speed / width it actually runs at?

As far as I know it runs at full speed. I've never had an issue with a single game :)
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