No, but after reading the spec I am just about to order one. If I do,
what do you want to know about it? Also, do you know who has the
Reply by ●June 7, 20072007-06-07
ElderUberGeek <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Has anyone used the EPIA series board from VIA?
Yes. My desktop machine is a disk-less and fan-less VIA Mini-ITX based
system. Totally quiet with no moving parts other than the power and
reset switch (which I never use).
I also use several other VIA Mini-ITX systems for Web-servers,
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?
I have not used that specific model. I have, however, used a couple of
different Epia flavors starting with the very first Mini-ITX
motherboard Via released (I guess that was in 2003 or thereabouts). We
were replacing Geode-based boards for higher performance.
For a high-end application running a big "desktop type" OS like Linux
or similar, it's a very cost-effective solution compared to using a
similarly-configured SBC. You also have the convenience that you can
design a single box that will accept a variety of boards in the same
form factor, so you can future-proof the housing to a certain degree.
There are some annoyances with using these boards:
- Relatively large volume (can be mitigated by underclocking the
hardware and scaling down the heatsinks/fans). You can get the same
performance in a much smaller SBC form factor if you're willing to pay
the cost delta.
- Complicated power supply requirements.
- Much greater power consumption/heat dissipation issues than a
comparable non-x86 system.
- No published schedule of lifecycle. These are consumer PC components
and could be discontinued or spun tomorrow, although Via's history is
much better than most in this regard.
Reply by Andrew Smallshaw●June 8, 20072007-06-08
On 2007-06-07, ElderUberGeek <email@example.com> wrote:
Not familiar specifically with the EK boards but have experience
of several of the other EPIA boards and generally rate them. There
are a few comments I'd make however:
You can run into occasional compatibility niggles. Some of the
horror stories you read on the net are a little overdramatic but
they can crop up with certain software or hardware. In particular
there are consistent reports of problems with VIA chipsets and
certain Soundblaster cards. I wouldn't have thought that specific
problem would crop up on these boards too often since you'd usually
use the onboard audio, but it's something to be aware of.
Personally, the only problem of that nature I've encountered is
software - I usually run NetBSD and its bootloader doesn't like
the boards. That's easily sorted going back to an older version
of the bootloader code, which is more typical of problems - you
can work around them easily enough, it's just a little hassle to
do so. Like, I said though, for the most part the difficulties
are vastly exaggerated, and they are in any case far more compatible
than many boards usually used in an embedded context.
Another point is that these boards run _HOT_, especially the
passively cooled types. For the boards themselves this doesn't
seem to be a problem, they can handle working at an elevated
temperature for long periods. But it is something to bear in mind
when you are thinking about enclosures, venting and such matters.
Somebody else has already mentioned the power supply requirements
and they have at least half a point in that most of the have an
ATX-style power connector with the same requirements. For these
systems it's usual to run them off DC-DC convertors which simply
need a 12V supply, although that is something else to consider
(they are available seperately, though often supplied with specialised
ITX cases). The TC range have the convertor built in so all you
need is a 12V supply. 60W is enough to power an entire system -
board, HDD and optical drive, although that doesn't leave much
leeway. I've used standard HDDs and laptop optical drives perfectly
happily within that power budget.