When we talk about motherboards, most of us will picture a regular sized ATX board in our minds. This is only natural because ATX form factor is the most used form factor on today's PC systems. You may have heard about AT, MicroATX, FlexATX etc. but recently motherboard manufacturers have been introducing yet another form factor for us to learn to live with; Mini-ITX.
Regular ATX vs. iBASE Mini-ITX
VIA Technologies was the company that defined the Mini-ITX form factor. Their aim was to introduce something innovative, ergonomic and affordable with high level of integration and over 33% smaller dimensions than FlexATX. Motherboard suited for Set Top Boxes, Game Consoles, Personal Video Recorders, POS Terminals etc.
While the dimensions of the Mini-ITX motherboard (170x170 mm) and lots of integrated functions made the first Mini-ITX motherboards versatile, many of the users were hungry for more CPU power. VIA's C3 CPU isn't all that powerfull compared to regular desktop PCs and that can become a limiting factor quite easily. Although C3 is able to play MP3s and DVD movies it just isn't fast enough for 3D designing, playing modern 3d games or for example industrial machine vision solutions. VIA is steadily improving their technology but there are also other players offering their solutions. This time we are introducing a Pentium 4 based solution on Mini-ITX form factor, manufactured by iBASE.
From inside the package we can find the following items:
You may spot couple of bit different items that you normally don't get when shopping for motherboard. 44-pin IDE is normally found with laptops and their 2.5" HDDs and CD-drives. Four serial ports (3 on cable, 1 on motherboard)? While USB can be found on most consumer products, RS-232 is widely supported in industry and laboratories. At home, you can use these for example to connect several serial LCD modules to your system or build intelligent case mods that can be controlled from the computer. All in all the bundle looks complete, having all the necessary drivers and manuals included.
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