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VIA launches world's smallest quad-core PC

VIA launches world's smallest quad-core PC

VIA's tiny ARTiGO A1250 is claimed to be the smallest quad-core x86 computer in the world, but just how much is the company planning to charge?

Despite Intel using the company as a predictor for ARM's allegedly inevitable demise, VIA has shown that it still has some fight left in it with the launch of what it claims is the world's smallest quad-core x86-architecture PC.

The VIA ARTiGO A1250 is based around the company's own low-power QuadCore E-Series processor family, unsurprisingly featuring a 64-bit quad-core 1GHz x86 processor and 1MB of L2 cache. Designed for home server, embedded, industrial, medical and even military usage, the system supports up to 8GB of DDR3 1,333MHz RAM and includes a VX11H media-system processor (MSP) to power VGA and HDMI video outputs. As well as high-resolution displays, the system supports 3D steroscopic monitors and projectors and can decode 1080p H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1 and WMV9 format video with nary a hitch.

As well as the two video outputs, the system includes a gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, line-in, line-out and microphone-in analogue audio jacks and a 12V DC power connector. A SATA port is included for storage, while Wi-Fi can be added with an optional upgrade pack. Operating systems including Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows Embedded Standard 2009 and Linux are officially supported.

According to VIA, the entire system comes in at an average thermal design profile (TDP) of just 27W, which is impressive enough - but it's the size that is shocking: measuring just 17.7cm x 12.5cm x 3.0cm including case, the system is around 10 per cent smaller than the previous-generation ARTiGO A1150 it replaces.

Sadly, there's one piece of information VIA isn't yet sharing: the price. Although the company is keen to promote the device for home server use, its mentions of the industrial and embedded markets along with its certification of Windows Embedded Standard compatibility suggest that it may be pricing this model out of the reach of most home users.

10 Comments

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l3v1ck 1st November 2012, 11:11 Quote
I'm always curious to know how these sort of systems compare to older existing stsyems.
For example: My parents have an Athlon X2 PC at home. Would this new tiny system offer lower, similar or better performance? (Assuming both had the same SSD) The clock kspeed is much lower, but then it's a newer design and it has twice as many cores? Given that they only do office stuff and web browsing, I'm assuming this system would be enough.
John_T 1st November 2012, 12:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
I'm always curious to know how these sort of systems compare to older existing systems.
For example: My parents have an Athlon X2 PC at home. Would this new tiny system offer lower, similar or better performance? (Assuming both had the same SSD) The clock speed is much lower, but then it's a newer design and it has twice as many cores? Given that they only do office stuff and web browsing, I'm assuming this system would be enough.

I wonder the same thing, as I reckon systems like this would probably cover 90%+ of the time people actually spend on their PC's. I always feel a little guilty with my big power PC whirring away while I spend hours just surfing the web / sending email / doing very basic office work...
Sc0rian 1st November 2012, 14:26 Quote
shame it does not have dual nic, would be a awesome pfsense box.
cornelius1729 1st November 2012, 15:50 Quote
Sounds like an ace HTPC box.
asura 1st November 2012, 17:41 Quote
The question ultimately will be one of availability... If you're in the UK and want a Pico-ITX board from VIA that isn't 5 years old, then you have to get it from far afield. From the USA on ebay seems to be the easiest way. And pay circa forty pounds for the postage, then VAT, import duty and a handling charge to get it released to you once it hits the UK adding (I guess, number pulled out of thin air) about another forty to sixty pounds... with postage, VAT, duty and handling fees coming to approximately fifty percent of the value of the product, it becomes madness.
PingCrosby 1st November 2012, 18:40 Quote
If I was Inch High Private Eye I'd buy one
schmidtbag 1st November 2012, 21:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
I'm always curious to know how these sort of systems compare to older existing stsyems.
For example: My parents have an Athlon X2 PC at home. Would this new tiny system offer lower, similar or better performance? (Assuming both had the same SSD) The clock kspeed is much lower, but then it's a newer design and it has twice as many cores? Given that they only do office stuff and web browsing, I'm assuming this system would be enough.

It will likely be more power efficient, quieter, and produce less heat, but I highly doubt it'll be much faster, if at all. First of all, VIA's processors have never been known to be fast. But secondly, depending on what you do, a dual core is all you really need. Even single cores can be enough for the average user. Tablets are good proof of this - they're popular because they appeal to the average person who wants to just sit back and browse the internet, so single core ARM processors (which generally perform worse clock-per-clock compared to x86 processors) often work just fine.


While I think parallel processing is becoming more of a reality in the future, a cheap quad core for a web browsing and email computer can potentially be a worse decision. If you only have maybe 3 tabs open at a time (or a browser that uses 1 process for all tabs), you'd likely get better performance out of a 3GHz dual core than a 1.5GHz quad core of the same architecture.
Ploo 3rd November 2012, 16:46 Quote
It's really difficult to judge if we don't know the price.
Jimbob 5th November 2012, 16:27 Quote
It doesnt look any smaller than my old Zotax Zbox, great litle PC that has spent the last couple of yeas woring behind my bedrom TV as a HTPC. Wit a SSD it's quick and totally silent. (-:
Kacela 6th November 2012, 16:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ploo
It's really difficult to judge if we don't know the price.
Price in the US starts @$320 : http://bit.ly/VPelKQ
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