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VIA's Em-ITX form factor: Less means more

VIA introduces a new ultracompact board form factor, the Em-ITX, that sports dual I/O coastlines and enables sub-2cm high embedded systems.

In making embedded devices, one of the biggest challenges has always been reducing the physical size of the device without compromising the functionality. And the main component that decides the size of a computer is the motherboard.

In this regard, VIA Technologies has some good news. The company announced Tuesday its latest board form factor for embedded systems, the Em-ITX. The new board boasts dual Input/Output coastlines while still establishing an off-the-shelf standard for ultraslim embedded devices.

The Em-ITX board's layout VIA

Measuring merely 4.7 inches by 6.7 inches, the Em-ITX form factor is 30 percent more compact than the existing Mini-ITX standard, yet offers 200 percent more I/O real estate.

The Em-ITX form factor's unique design with dual I/O coastlines and an Em-IO expansion helps bring flexibility and scalability. On top of that, it also supports the 64-bit VIA Nano processor, the same CPU used in Samsung's new NC20 netbook.

While you will unlikely find computers that use this new ultracompact form factor, the Em-ITX board is the ideal base for industrial automation, digital signage, kiosk and other applications.

The Em-ITX board includes a variety of connectors including COM (RS-232/422/485), RJ45, DVI, VGA, LVDS, USB 2.0, and DC power. Its modular expansion through Em-IO Bus also 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.

General consumers might never have the need to get an Em-ITX board by itself, unless you want to build a highly customized device. However, according to VIA, products based on the Em-ITX form factor will be available early next month.