Via And NVidia Launch Mini-ITX 2.0

Sunday, June 8, 2008

As was previously announced, Via and Nvidia officially came out and formally presented their partnership to produce the most affordable Vista-capaable platform. PC Perspective ran a story with in-depth information on the expected performance of the upcoming platform. They even posted a picture of a sample board, with an 8600GT strapped on to the PCI Express slot. Digitimes also ran a story on the announcement, highlighting the two's support of Mini-ITX 2.0. Intel's entry to the Mini-ITX niche has been observed as "limiting", having a very basic graphics subsystem and no provisions for upgrades. Seeting up an official spec for Mini-ITX 2.0 is seen by analysts as Via's play to keep its dominance over it's Mini-ITX turf while attracting more of the mainstream market.

Mini-ITX 2.0 seeks to up the ante by allowing consumers more mainstream expansion choices while maintaining the 17 x 17 cm form factor. In more detail, 2.0 will require the following feature set on boards:
When compared to the current Mini-ITX offerings of Intel, these specifications are a boon for anyone seeking a low-cost solution for multimedia and gaming on the Vista platform. Clearly this strategy can open up a niche for Via in the mainstream market, opposite Intel's pushing the Atom platform (and their other Mini-ITX offerings) in the low-power niche that Via traditionally dominated. Now, only the market will say who's strategy will eventually pay off. Who gains more is will eventually be dictated by the consumers. I'm hedging my bets on Via gaining a bit on the mainstream market.

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