Electronic Design

Multiprocessing Keeps Compact Motherboard Cool

There are many ways to keep a system cool. Adding a water-cooled refrigeration unit is one way. Another method is to reduce the amount of heat, but this can be difficult without sacrificing performance.

Via Technologies attacks the latter problem with a pair of 1-GHz Eden-N NanaBGA processors. The company figures that dual processors provide almost the same performance as one processor running at twice the speed but consuming more than twice the power, hence generating much more heat.

The Via EPIA DP-310 Mini-ITX motherboard employs passive cooling for its pair of processors. The VIA CN400 North Bridge supports the dual configuration. It also provides graphic support with the UniChrome Pro IGP, which integrates MPEG-2 decoding and MPEG-4 acceleration. Two dual-inline memory-module sockets handle up to 2 Gbytes of DR266/333/400 SDRAM.

The motherboard houses a single ATA-133 controller and adds two Serial ATA interfaces. It also includes a pair of USB ports, AC'97 audio support, one PCI slot, and one Mini-PCI Type IIIA connector found on the bottom of the board. It forgoes the PS/2 legacy port. Network interfaces include two Fast Ethernet ports and a single 1-Gigabit Ethernet port. As a result, the board can be used as a sophisticated gateway.

The DP-310 goes for $350.

See associated figure

Via Technologies

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