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VIA has revamped its Artigo mini PC, an ultra-compact machine that offers a basic computing platform, but leaves a few doors open for end-user customization. Billed as a "DIY kit," the Artigo A1150 comes readily equipped with a 1.0GHz dual-core VIA Eden X2 processor, a 40nm chip that was unveiled earlier this year for embedded solutions such as the Artigo. The system also packs VIA's VX900H integrated graphics, which provides hardware acceleration to play popular codecs such as H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2/4 in 1080p HD.
That's a respectable amount of power considering the Artigo's 5.7 x 3.9 x 2-inch chassis -- similarly sized to Zotac's Zbox Nano. The tiny box is riddled with connectivity, including audio in/out jacks, a mic jack, four USB 2.0 ports (two in front and two in back), a micro-USB 2.0 device port, VGA and HDMI outputs, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. The "DIY" claim refers to the fact that you can add your own RAM and storage. There's one SODIMM slot supporting up to 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz along with a SATA port and room for a 2.5-inch drive.
There's not a huge market for compact low-powered machines, so by excluding storage and RAM, VIA ensures that it covers as many bases as possible. Users also have the option to install a module for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity as well as an SD card reader. The Eden X2 has native support for 64-bit operating systems, so you can install your preferred edition of Windows or Linux. We haven't seen any pricing information yet, but the single-core Artigo A1100 is fetching about $240, while similar Fusion-based Zotac machines are ~$220.
The ASRock ION 330HT-BD features six USB 2.0 ports, LAN, HDMI, VGA, a powered eSATA port, five audio jacks and an optical S/PDIF output are part of the package. There is also a small DC-in power connection for a Delta Electronics 19v AC/DC adapter. The "Home Theater" version of the Asrock Ion 330 comes bundled with a Media Center Edition remote control. This should provide a convenient way of watching movies or listening to music from the comfort of your living room couch, completing the 330HT-BD as an ideal HTPC solution.
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