VIA are no stranger to compact mainboards, and their latest is aimed at those for whom ports are prime. The VIA Em-ITX measures 12 x 17cm and is 30-percent more compact than the Mini-ITX standard; however because of its rectangular shape and board layout, it has 200-percent more I/O space, with ports running down each of the longer edges.
According to VIA, those ports can include anything from RS-232/422/485 serial, through ethernet and USB 2.0, to display ports like VGA and DVI. There’s also a stackable modular expansion board, the Em-IO Bus, which adds USB 2.0, GPIO, LPC, PCIe, IDE, IEEE 1394, S-ATA, PCI, DVI, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and Card Bus. VIA are positioning the Em-ITX board as ideal for ultra-slim embedded devices; it can use processors up to and including the company’s own 64-bit VIA Nano CPU.
While the press images might not be particularly inspiring, according to VIA we won’t have long to wait for commercial products. The first products based on the VIA Em-ITX form factor will be released in April 2009.
VIA Unveils Em-ITX, the First Form Factor Standard with Dual I/O Coastlines
VIA Em-ITX form factor reduces cable clutter, improves airflow and enables sub-2cm high embedded systems
Taipei, Taiwan, 3 March 2008 – VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced its latest board form factor for embedded system developers; the Em-ITX form factor. Offering embedded developers a compact, versatile and highly integrated board form factor, VIA’s Em-ITX establishes an off-the-shelf standard for ultra-slim embedded devices.
The Em-ITX form factor is a new open industry standard defined by VIA, and is 30% more compact than Mini-ITX, yet offers 200% more I/O real estate. At 12cm x 17cm, the Em-ITX form factor includes unique dual I/O coastlines and an exclusive Em-IO expansion bus to bring unrivalled flexibility and scalability. Benefits also include reduced time-to-market cycles for developers and access to a scalable processor platform that includes the latest 64-bit VIA Nano processor.
Embedded boards based on the Em-ITX form factor will form the ideal base for industrial automation, digital signage, kiosk and other applications requiring an ultra-slim embedded device.
Dual I/O Coastlines
The VIA developed Em-ITX form factor specification includes dual I/O coastlines; I/O inputs can be found on both 17cm edges of the board. This unique design greatly reduces cable clutter facilitating even more compact and robust designs while also boosting signal integrity and improving airflow. A variety of connectors are available on these two I/O coastlines, including COM (RS-232/422/485), RJ45, DVI, VGA, LVDS, USB 2.0 and DC power signals.
Modular Expansion through Em-IO Bus
The Em-ITX form factor utilizes the Em-IO expansion bus to integrate with stackable, customizable, expansion modules. The Em-IO expansion bus integrates the majority of popular bus signal technologies, including USB 2.0, GPIO, LPC, PCIe, IDE, IEEE 1394, S-ATA, PCI, DVI, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and Card Bus signals.
Faster Time to Market Cycles
VIA has also designed a selection of expansion modules covering a variety of industrial applications including networked applications, multimedia display, kiosk, POI and POS applications. The expansion modules bring all the advantages of custom designed boards without the necessary development time. VIA also provides unrivalled software support including customized firmware implementations.
“VIA is known globally as a pioneer of small form factor boards that have become industry standards, and Em-ITX is the latest platform to address the evolving needs of embedded developers,” said Daniel Wu, Vice President, VIA Embedded, VIA Technologies, Inc. “With its extensive I/O accessibility, this innovative form factor can deliver ultra-slim systems or customized stacked systems for a wide range of embedded applications.”
Products based on the Em-ITX form factor will be available early next month.