VIA ARTiGO 1150: small nettop with big potential

SMK-Link Wireless Ultra-Mini Touchpad Keyboard

VIA launched ARTiGO 1150 – small nettop with can replace some big box near your TV. Compact (just 14.6 x 9.9 x 5.2 cm) and mere box is powered by dual-core Eden X2 processor clocked at 1GHz and a VX900H graphics which enough to support 1080p playback. Additionally up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM and one 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD can be installed inside it. ARTiGO 1150 has HDMI and VGA output to connect to TV or monitor, gigabit Ethernet, four USB 2.0 host ports, plus optional WiFi adapter and SD card reader.

The new VIA ARTiGO 1150 is available now and priced at $265 (barebone version). It can be good option as a media player or media client. But be carefully with Linux. Because VIA hardware had a big problems under Linux. Hope current stage is better.

VIA EPIA-P830 Pico-ITX 1080p board

VIA EPIA-P830 Pico-ITX board

VIA announced a new tiny mainboard EPIA-P830 Pico-ITX. Measured just 10 x 7.2 cm it has enough horsepowers even for 1080p video playback! The EPIA-P830 Pico-ITX sports a 1.2GHz VIA Nano E-Series processor and VX900 media processor and includes HDMI output. A VGA port, gigabit LAN and two USB 2.0 ports can be added using P830-B I/O add-on-board. The VIA Vinyl HD audio codec provides 6 channel, DTS capable audio with S/PDIF support. So, that motherboard looks very attractive for compact HTPC or STB. Will see true it or not when the EPIA-P830 Pico-ITX will be available for buying. Hope it’s price will be not so high.

[via SlashGear]

Serious limitaions of FiireStation 1″ and 2.2″

I already blogged about Fiire products: FiireEngine, FiireStation and FiireChief. They should be 100% compatible with LinuxMCE. So, when I came to the point to buy VESA mount media director I started to think about 1″ FiireStation. According to its specification the device supports alpha blended UI2. But practically that’s not 100% true. It supports UI2 with Overlay. But it isn’t the biggest problem. Because it uses VIA Chrome graphical chip the 1″ FiireStation comes with custom image based on Kubuntu 6.10 without KDE and possibility to run MythTV locally. So, if you’re gonna spend about $900 you can do it just buying 1″ FiireStation.

Joyless news is that. The VIA based PC is the only one variant to have a VESA mounted media director. But basically it’ll support only UI1 which is too pure and old looking for the modern on-screen menu.

After discussion with one of LinuxMCE developers I decided to try MM200. It’s based on aOpen motherboard, has Intel graphical chip, supported UI2 with Overlay and supports HDTV (at least 720p). Also it’s slim enough to be mounted behind TV (just need to make custom fasteners) and its price is reasonable.