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