Even with the many high-performance processors and motherboards out there, there is still a population of users in need of smaller, less expensive and less powerful platforms. VIA Technologies' Eden EPIA-5000 mini-ITX motherboard is a sexy little board with just enough power and purpose.
The board provides a low-cost, compact platform that includes all of the hardware necessary for a simple system build. The board incorporates AGP 2X video, on-board AC '97 audio, two USB ports, 10/100 LAN and S-Video/composite TV-Out. The board also features two DIMM sockets, two ATA-100 IDE connectors and one PCI slot. No floppy connector is available.
Priced at just $100, the Eden EPIA-5000 can serve as a complement to a PC or can function as a network box, a firewall for Internet traffic or as storage for audio or video files.
Unlike most motherboards the CRN Test Center reviews, the Eden platform has a built-in CPU. No fans are installed, making the unit silent. However, with a stationary CPU, there is no chance for an upgrade opportunity.
VIA's low-cost, compact platform includes all the hardware necessary for a simple system build.
The CPU speed is 533MHz, slow by today's standards, but a board such as this is not meant for graphic design.
Installation went off without a hitch. With such a highly integrated design, the entire process consisted of attaching the board, installing the PC133 SDRAM and then attaching both the Western Digital 120-Gbyte hard drive and CD-ROM.
The system booted up the first time power was initiated; Microsoft Windows XP loaded and recognized all of the on-board hardware on the initial load. The VIA EPIA performed quite well under Windows XP,basic office tasks, image editing and e-mail worked without any difficulty.