Looking to get a foothold in the growing netbook market, Via has rolled out a motherboard reference design it claims will enable manufacturers to put a 1080p-capable system within a shell designed for a 10 to 12-inch display. Dubbed Surfboard C855, the new reference design comprises a small motherboard fitted with a 1.66GHz C7-M ULV processor on an 800MHz bus and connected to the recently announced VX855 chipset.


The platform supports internal display resolutions of 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1440 for external monitors along with high definition Via Vinyl Audio. It sports a single SO-DIMM socket to take up to 2GB of 667/800 DDR2 memory and features 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Ethernet, a built in card reader and two USB 2.0 ports. Bluetooth, GPS and 3G connectivity can also be added via third party add-ons using two Mini Card slots.

The company is hoping that its design will be snapped up by OEMs looking for a pre-built solution that will reduce their time to market. Their OpenBook netbook reference design went virtually unnoticed last year compared to Intel’s alternative, but with the latter still unable to manage full 1080p high definition playback, Via may well be onto something. It’s interesting to see however that they chose to forgo the newer Nano processor, which recently received a much needed boost from Samsung, in favor of a C7-M part – then again, the two chips are pin-compatible so upgrading shouldn’t be a problem. Detailed specs are available here.