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VIA unveils first two-way Mini-ITX mobo

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VIA has introduced what it claims is the world's first Mini-ITX motherboard capable of hosting more than one CPU.

The board, the EPIA DP-310, sports two VIA 1GHz Eden N processors. The chip is typically aimed at embedded applications, but VIA said it sees the DP-310 finding a home in server appliances, NAS units and high-density servers.

The Eden N consumes 7W of power at 1GHz, thanks to its PowerSaver 3.0 power management system, VIA said. Like other latest-generation VIA x86 chips, it also features PadLock, the chip maker's hardware security engine. Both components make the Eden N particularly suitable for server roles, VIA claimed.

The DP-130 uses VIA's CN400 chipset, which is generally pitched at more multimedia-oriented applications than you'd expect on a server. It offers VIA's Vinyl six-channel audio sub-system, AGP 8x for external graphics and a integrated UniChrome Pro graphics core, MPEG 2 and 4 acceleration with motion compensation, and support for two monitors, including DVI, LVDS, TV and CRT.

The CN400's North Bridge chip can connect to 4GB of DDR SDRAM, clocked at 266, 333 or 400MHz, but the DP-130 provides just two SO-DIMM slots for a maximum of 2GB. It also provides two Serial ATA ports, parallel ATA-133 support, and four USB 2.0 ports.

The mobo also incorporates Gigabit Ethernet - another first for the Mini-ITX world, apparently - and twin 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports courtesy of the CN400.

The Mini-ITX's small 17 x 17cm size means two DP-130s can be combined in a single 1U rack-mount unit, said VIA, yielding two two-way x86 servers in the space of one. Fit them into a 42U rack, and you have 168 processors which together draw only 2.5kW of power - rather less than rigs built out of rival chip makers' products. ®

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