Via Shrinks Motherboard to Playing Card Size

Via Technologies is shrinking the size of its motherboards again, this time showing off a new Pico-ITX design that is barely larger than a playing card.

The Taiwan-based company on Thursday released details of its upcoming Pico-ITX motherboard, which it hopes will eventually lead to the design of a very small form factor PC.

The published details provide an overview of the motherboard’s specs in a likely attempt to grab the attention of device makers.

Tiny Computers

The new board will measure a mere 4 by 3 inches and has been specially designed to operate with Via’s C-7 and Eden microprocessor families, according to the company.

The C-7 chip technology uses a single chip instead of two to pack in the memory controller, integrated graphics and I/O hub. The motherboard also has a single memory slot that can hold up to 1 GB of DDR2 (Double Data Rate 2) memory.

The Pico-ITX represents Via’s commitment to driving down the platform size, said Richard Brown, Via’s vice president of corporate marketing.

Via hasn’t announced precisely when the new boards will be available but said it plans to release its first Pico-ITX product “shortly,” according to Brown.

Playing Catch Up

Via’s move likely will not make too many waves in the United States, where the chipmaker has traditionally struggled to get a foothold in a market dominated by huge rivals Intel and AMD, Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

“They’ve done some interesting things, but they are so underfunded compared to the two powerhouses it is hard to see them compete,” Enderle added.

However, Via is banking on the Pico-ITX design to drum up interest in smaller mobile or embedded applications. In addition to its low-power processors, the motherboard has one SO-DIMM DDR2 slot that supports up to 1 GB of memory, according to the company.

VIA has been working on shrinking motherboards ever since it redesigned its Mini-ITX form factor boards a few years ago.

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