Via has updated their EPIA line, adding the fastest C7 processor they have fabbed to date into the unit. The new EPIA SN will obviously increase performance with the clockspeed boost and is the first board of its kind to be based on the CN896 IGP chipset. This is Via's first embedded controller that is “Vista-certified”, though they don't mention if the chipset will be capable of using Aero. They do, however, vouch for it as a media center:
The VIA CN896 chipset has been certified by Microsoft to guarantee a reliable and trouble free installation of Windows Vista, with its VIA Chrome9 HC integrated graphics core, designed for high performance in 2D, 3D and DirectX 9 applications, bringing MPEG-2 acceleration to deliver smooth DVD playback while minimizing impact on system resources.
The board relies on DDR2, which when coupled with other low power components could make even the faster 1.8GHz C7 an overall lower power system than others. If you go down to the 1GHz version in the SN series, no fan is required to cool the unit. The SN series also features a PCI-E x16 slot, though why you'd put a powerful video card into an embedded system is beyond me.
Via's EPIA boards have been a critical success in the hobbyist market, and seeing this news release today was very encouraging. The EPIA series has seemed a bit stale, with other embedded hardware catching up. I would very much like to see them push the EPIA line further, as I think they have a lot of room for growth and they really do make excellent hobby boards.
You can read the full press release
at Via's site.