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VIA Launches First Ever Dual Core Pico-ITX Motherboard

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a b V Motherboard
November 9, 2011 8:06:33 PM

I want!
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14
November 9, 2011 8:10:01 PM

Wait, is this X86 (well X64) compatible? VIA has a license to make X86 chips right?

If so this could be very useful to me.

EDIT : It seems it is X86. All the drivers on their website are for Windows 7 and XP.
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7
Related resources
November 9, 2011 8:11:17 PM

Compare this guy to ENIAC... rooms filled with equipment, compared to this little 10x7 cm card.
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5
November 9, 2011 8:11:49 PM

The hard drive would be bigger than the computer itself lol!
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11
November 9, 2011 8:13:42 PM

Well that's pretty awesome. Hook up a wireless keyboard/mouse and you have a crazy small HTPC.

Integrated wireless would really seal this as being an amazing product.
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a b V Motherboard
November 9, 2011 8:25:25 PM

Dear Santa.....
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17
a b V Motherboard
November 9, 2011 8:31:18 PM

i want one, even if i can't think of any use i'd have for it.
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9
November 9, 2011 8:31:26 PM

The board is so small that ethernet and USB connectors look like gigangtc buildings in the photo lol!
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9
November 9, 2011 8:39:41 PM

Don't waste your money. The chipsets that VIA is making don't have DX10, let alone 11. The processors are weak compared to even Atom's, and all of their hardware video acceleration features aren't worth a wet fart since you need to have VLC media player with a bunch of bungware codec packs installed in order to take advantage of it. Windows Media Player 11 on Windows 7 only partially supports their hardware acceleration, and even then, almost 75% of the CPU usage is taken up when playing just a 720p video (VLC gets it down to about 30%, which is not even close to ideal). Their stuff is just crap. I bought a few different boards, including one with the same chipset but a higher CPU, and they're just a waste of money. If you want something better, get an AMD embedded board instead - at least you can get something with a modern APU with a DX11 GPU. Even Atom boards will run Aero properly too - VIA's drivers for Aero STILL TO THIS DAY don't work properly without getting graphical glitches.
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-6
November 9, 2011 8:41:43 PM

I actually like it. Would like to see Toms do an article on its performance. If it is under 100 USD, I may consider buying many...
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6
November 9, 2011 8:49:15 PM

Keep in mind that VIA has a really bad habit of announcing stuff, and then not delivering it for a very long time. They announced their new chipset October of last year, and it's still not available on a single motherboard.

They're a really strange company. Not that their stuff doesn't work, I have one and it's brutally slow, but works fine. It's just they take so long to release stuff.
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7
November 9, 2011 9:03:46 PM

Ah SWEEET!!! iWant!!!! Pico-ITX rocks for fun things! If it's like $50, I'm so getting it!
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3
November 9, 2011 9:21:10 PM

ummm where do i insert the ram?
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5
November 9, 2011 9:46:44 PM

zer0netummm where do i insert the ram?


Don't see the RAM slot on the right side?
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3
November 9, 2011 9:49:01 PM

Wow, nevermind. Current single core boards like that cost $230... not worth it. Still, such a fun little board :( 
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November 9, 2011 10:18:02 PM

waethornDon't waste your money. The chipsets that VIA is making don't have DX10, let alone 11. The processors are weak compared to even Atom's, and all of their hardware video acceleration features aren't worth a wet fart since you need to have VLC media player with a bunch of bungware codec packs installed in order to take advantage of it. Windows Media Player 11 on Windows 7 only partially supports their hardware acceleration, and even then, almost 75% of the CPU usage is taken up when playing just a 720p video (VLC gets it down to about 30%, which is not even close to ideal). Their stuff is just crap. I bought a few different boards, including one with the same chipset but a higher CPU, and they're just a waste of money. If you want something better, get an AMD embedded board instead - at least you can get something with a modern APU with a DX11 GPU. Even Atom boards will run Aero properly too - VIA's drivers for Aero STILL TO THIS DAY don't work properly without getting graphical glitches.


dont use aero? as far as im aware, its only there for pretty, correct me if im wrong.

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2
November 9, 2011 10:52:05 PM

Interesante... ahora necesito una Pico ITX gabinete.
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-3
November 9, 2011 11:29:26 PM

release it soon, and no more than $100, it will be interesting.
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a b V Motherboard
November 9, 2011 11:34:20 PM

power supply? dvd drive? storage??????
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-3
November 9, 2011 11:51:24 PM

iam2thecrowepower supply? dvd drive? storage??????

Yes. The first one you need. The other two would be optional.
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a b V Motherboard
November 10, 2011 12:06:39 AM

Actually Via CPU's crush Atom's, awhile back Tom's did a review on them. Via's been making ultra small / low power CPU's longer then either Intel or AMD, its the niche they targeted back when the other two were duking it out over desktop / server space. Funny thing is, most Via CPU's aren't even used in consumer devices, their used in ATM's, Point of Sale devices (cash registers), Internet Kiosks, Multimedia advertising boards, medical devices and industrial applications. Their CPU's are designed to run anywhere from freezing cold to scorching hot desert heat. It's an interesting technology, not the absolute fastest nor cheapest, but perfect for when you need a light low powered device that never ~ever~ dies to run in environmentally unfriendly conditions.
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November 10, 2011 1:11:15 AM

If its cheap it would be awesome for the base of a TV chip/mobo, to use as a dedicated TV unit for surfing the net and displaying streaming media on your tv.
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November 10, 2011 1:28:48 AM

I had a mini-ITX board that I loved (before I fried because of all the heat) this sounds like it would be awesome. If it was $150 or less I would buy it.
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November 10, 2011 1:29:50 AM

amk-aka-PhantomDon't see the RAM slot on the right side?


ahhh nevermind i was looking for desktop ram slot. lol
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1
November 10, 2011 3:19:47 AM

I thought Eden CPU is a fan-less design?
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November 10, 2011 3:34:57 AM

Heck, the HDMI port is nearly 1/10 of the length of that board!
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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
November 10, 2011 3:39:50 AM

Actually, the RAM is on the underside of the board. That thing on the right is a PCIe connector.
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November 10, 2011 4:09:55 AM

moar pictures !
sexy !
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November 10, 2011 4:10:04 AM

There needs to be a form factor that fits in an Altoids tin.
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2
November 10, 2011 5:04:17 AM

Seems like this thing would be perfect for a Media server/HTPC if you ran Linux on it.

waethornDon't waste your money. The chipsets that VIA is making don't have DX10, let alone 11 blah blah blah wont play crysis blah blah. blah blah I don't like VLC media player. I wanna run that resource hog Windows Media Player 11 on Windows 7 and even then, almost 75% of the CPU usage is taken up when playing just a 720p video (VLC gets it down to about 30%, which is not even close to ideal). Their stuff is just crap for me because I am afraid of Linux. I bought a few different boards, including one with the same chipset but a higher CPU, and they're just a waste of money. If you want something better, get an AMD embedded board instead - at least you can get something with a modern APU with a DX11 GPU so you can play crysis. Even Atom boards will run Aero properly too - VIA's drivers for Aero STILL TO THIS DAY don't work properly without getting graphical glitches.


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2
November 10, 2011 5:55:45 AM

LOL, Linux fanboys... I doubt that this hardware will be properly supported for your OS.
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November 10, 2011 6:57:58 AM

amk-aka-phantomLOL, Linux fanboys... I doubt that this hardware will be properly supported for your OS.

Why do you doubt it when all hardware VIA makes work perfectly on linux?
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November 10, 2011 7:29:46 AM

Vladislaus said:
Why do you doubt it when all hardware VIA makes work perfectly on linux?


Proof? Besides, ALL new solutions fail to work untill new Linux version comes out... Vanilla Windows 7 supports Intel's Sandy Bridge IGP; Linux doesn't - until the kernel version used in Ubuntu 11.04, although Win7 was around way before 10.04. And Linux even fails to support onboard LAN on new Intel boards, which is a crying shame. Debian or Ubuntu 10.04 don't see it (works on BIOS level or with Windows), only 11.04 does.

And that's ordinary widespread Intel hardware. Now imagine this brand new VIA board packed with exotic controllers... no way Linux will have it running properly. Neither will Windows, I think, but I bet that will be EASILY fixable by a driver update, like always. This is a difference between Windows and your Linux toys.
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November 10, 2011 7:32:47 AM

Quote:
Actually, the RAM is on the underside of the board. That thing on the right is a PCIe connector.


It would make more sense to have it on the underside, but this thing looks too much like a RAM slot. I dunno - unless Tom's will get their heads straight and start providing some pictures of a non-microscopic size, I really can't tell. And why the hell would it have a PCIe connector? :o 
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November 10, 2011 10:18:16 AM

Noob questions.... wtf is it for? it sounds greate but I can' wrap my head around where one would use it .... or how.
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November 10, 2011 10:34:27 AM

amk-aka-phantomDon't see the RAM slot on the right side?

Underneath?
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November 10, 2011 12:32:34 PM

And in other news, Apple announced plans to release Apple TV 2.0...
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November 10, 2011 1:22:23 PM

BulkZerkerSeems like this thing would be perfect for a Media server/HTPC if you ran Linux on it.


Been there, done that. Drivers are worse than on Windows. Don't even bother.
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November 10, 2011 1:28:21 PM

The only thing that VIA hardware is good for is a NAS - assuming you can find a board with GbE, and SATA 3. Their graphics suck, so it's best to use it as a device that doesn't do local video output.

Remember: there is a reason why they are called VIA *EMBEDDED*.
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1
November 10, 2011 1:36:50 PM

wow lots of haters two guys who actually have these and they told you their slow and one guy gets - while the other guy who didn't give as much detail about it's problems gets +
personally i found waethorn's comments much more informative for specific reasons i was wondering, he didn't even once bring up the lack of usb3, sata3, wifi and pci-e3.
the website says this is not a personal computing product, i however think this would be the perfect htpc for dvd/tv,streaming movie watching only.
or a glorified upgrade for every console sold on the market!
Quote:
via says:
Applications
» Life Automation Solutions
» Transit System Solutions
» Digital Signage Solutions
» Network Appliance Solutions
» Storage and Server Solutions
» Digital Home Solutions
» In-vehicle Solutions
» POS/Kiosk Solutions

TA152HKeep in mind that VIA has a really bad habit of announcing stuff, and then not delivering it for a very long time. They announced their new chipset October of last year, and it's still not available on a single motherboard. They're a really strange company. Not that their stuff doesn't work, I have one and it's brutally slow, but works fine. It's just they take so long to release stuff.

waethornDon't waste your money. The chipsets that VIA is making don't have DX10, let alone 11. The processors are weak compared to even Atom's, and all of their hardware video acceleration features aren't worth a wet fart since you need to have VLC media player with a bunch of bungware codec packs installed in order to take advantage of it. Windows Media Player 11 on Windows 7 only partially supports their hardware acceleration, and even then, almost 75% of the CPU usage is taken up when playing just a 720p video (VLC gets it down to about 30%, which is not even close to ideal). Their stuff is just crap. I bought a few different boards, including one with the same chipset but a higher CPU, and they're just a waste of money. If you want something better, get an AMD embedded board instead - at least you can get something with a modern APU with a DX11 GPU. Even Atom boards will run Aero properly too - VIA's drivers for Aero STILL TO THIS DAY don't work properly without getting graphical glitches.

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November 10, 2011 1:48:57 PM

check out mini-itx.com for a lot of very cool projects people have done [and documented] using Via's mini and pico ITX boards.
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November 10, 2011 4:45:55 PM

f-14wow lots of haters two guys who actually have these and they told you their slow and one guy gets - while the other guy who didn't give as much detail about it's problems gets +personally i found waethorn's comments much more informative for specific reasons i was wondering, he didn't even once bring up the lack of usb3, sata3, wifi and pci-e3.the website says this is not a personal computing product, i however think this would be the perfect htpc for dvd/tv,streaming movie watching only.or a glorified upgrade for every console sold on the market!


These are meant to be cheap, but if you want a cheap mobo for HTPC, you're far, FAR better off with an E-350. Also, just remember that Pico ITX isn't exactly a widely-compatible mobo form factor while Mini ITX is. Do you plan on building your enclosure or buying an off-the-shelf case? In-Win's BM639 is a perfect match for a Mini-ITX system since you can save money on using desktop drives instead of mobile ones (and a desktop ODD is much faster than a slimline). The case sells for about $50-60. Get an E-350 board and you have USB3, SATA3, and graphics that are actually usable for a home theatre system (including HDMI with HDCP). Plus, you have already-present compatibility with Windows and Linux that actually works.

VIA's stuff is for hardware developers that want to build custom appliance-like solutions. They have their own media SDK for supporting Chromotion, and these media processors still don't offload enough processing from the CPU to make for a half-decent multitaskable PC system. So if you want to develop your own set-top cable box and are doing a lot of custom development into an embedded appliance, VIA is an option.

Let me tell you straight up after dealing with these boards on and off for 6+ years, though: don't think that these make for good DIY solutions for PC builders. Save yourself some sanity and get some parts that are supported properly by a company that at least will invest good R&D in software support. VIA is not that company. DXVA is only really supported in VLC with a bunch of custom codec installations. Windows Media Player on Windows 7 won't play even 720p video smoothly if you move the mouse around because VIA DXVA support is garbage. VLC will play it better, but only if you install a bunch of custom codecs (they even recommend downloading CCCP, which includes a bunch of pirated commercial codecs) and use a DXVA registry hack program to modify a bunch of settings, which is absolutly ludicrous. Even then, Aero support is buggy (it's only been 5 years since it was introduced - and it still only requires DX9 support). For instance, IE9 displays weird gradients along window edges THAT WERE NEVER FIXED TO THIS DATE FOR THE LAST 8 MONTHS despite numerous driver updates.

For HD video for an HTPC, AMD is the answer. If you're thinking about Intel, your cost will be a lot higher because you have to go with a midline Core i5 Sandy Bridge to get their "good" graphics due to the inferior graphics from the Core i3's, and Atom's don't do HD video unless you get an ION, and ION's still aren't as fast as the E-350's, nor are they as cheap. AMD has some nice video cleanup options that aren't present on any other onboard GPU's too.
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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
November 10, 2011 5:27:32 PM

Can it run Crysis ?
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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
November 10, 2011 5:28:15 PM

Can it run Crysis ?
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-3
a b V Motherboard
November 10, 2011 11:46:35 PM

amk-aka-Phantom said:
Proof? Besides, ALL new solutions fail to work untill new Linux version comes out... Vanilla Windows 7 supports Intel's Sandy Bridge IGP; Linux doesn't - until the kernel version used in Ubuntu 11.04, although Win7 was around way before 10.04. And Linux even fails to support onboard LAN on new Intel boards, which is a crying shame. Debian or Ubuntu 10.04 don't see it (works on BIOS level or with Windows), only 11.04 does.

And that's ordinary widespread Intel hardware. Now imagine this brand new VIA board packed with exotic controllers... no way Linux will have it running properly. Neither will Windows, I think, but I bet that will be EASILY fixable by a driver update, like always. This is a difference between Windows and your Linux toys.



Umm because this is based on Via Nano X2 CPU and I happen to have a Via Nano running as my home router? It's using CentOS and the 2.6.19+ kernels have native support for Via CPU's and their special Padlock encryption engine. System has a total of four separate gigabit interfaces thanks to Jetway's daughter board support. It'll support over 1Gbps AES-256 encrypted traffic from one Ethernet port to another, I've benched it and made sure.

Actually Linux supports the Via CPU's better then Windows or OS X.

http://linux.via.com.tw/

Also the C7's and below can be fanless at 1.0Ghz, even the Nano can, but the Nano X2 needs a small fan due to being dual core.

I wouldn't recommend this for a HTPC, the one area that Via platforms absolutely suck in is video performance. They make Intel IGA's look good.
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a b V Motherboard
November 11, 2011 12:07:29 AM

Waethorn is kinda right but not entirely. Via's graphics suck and they suck hard, don't use a Via platform for anything that will require accelerated video output. ChromeHD or whatever they want to call it is barely more then a frame-buffer. That rules out HTPC or small home office PC. For those tasks I'd suggest going with the AMD E350, works much better in that reguard.

Now onto what these things are for any why you see pico-ITX.

VIA specializes in appliances and industrial apps not home computing. If you want to see a real Via CPU in action walk up to your local ATM, chances are there is an old C3 or C7 buried inside it running the OS. Walk into the nearest 7/11 and look at the cash register, if you look at the back you'll see that it's just a Mini-ITX board with serial / usb cables running to the credit card scanner / receipt printer / barcode reader. That is most likely a Via CPU running that with a striped down version of Windows CE or some custom Linux based OS. Go into a hospital and look around, their a bit harder to find cause the medical industry use's different form factors, but guaranteed those monitoring devices near patients beds are running on a Via CPU. Walk into a factory and many of the control units for the automated robotics are running on Via CPUs (the units feeding the production code to the local robotic interfaces). Look around a shopping mall, see those big advertising boards with animation and video, those are being controlled by a Via platform. Go to the airport information Kiosk, it's being run by a Via CPU as your look up flight info or do self service check-in.

So when you see that little pico-ITX, don't think of it in your home but think of what it can do in one of those settings I mentioned above. VIA CPU's pack quite a punch for the amount of power they use, only thing better from my experience in the AMD E350. Which brings me to my last point, Via platforms also tend to have connectors not commonly found on Atom / Fusion setups. Namely 4x serial ports with some of them capable of doing 1Mbps+, GPOI serial support, LVDS support (becoming more common now), LCD sub-panel support (status screens) and for Jetways, the daughter-board extension system. Although Jetway is bringing that to their other platforms.

These things make great home servers, AD / NAS / DNS / Proxy / Firewall / Router / OpenVPN and so forth. Run 24/7 and consume little power / heat. Make great car computers if your into that sort of stuff. Good for home automation, environmental controls / shades / monitoring system / video surveillance / etc.. for those of us who want to be miniature Bill Gates.
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November 14, 2011 9:49:01 PM

Part of my concern is the RAM module; I'll assume that the specs infer that it has a single DDR3-SODIMM slot, which is good for keeping costs down. Overall, I wonder exactly how adding on the RAM, and other expanded functionality will affect the formfactor: 10x7cm is nice, yes, but if adding important things like storage, RAM, etc require bulging the form out in all directions, then it's nowhere near attractive; at that point it becomes a question of "what's the point? my 10x7cm board became a bulky 20x20 cm!" At that point, the 17x17 cm size of Mini-ITX would be better, since none of its expansions require putting anything other than DIRECTLY ABOVE the motherboard.

Of course, I can see that a lot of others have picked up on cost being a big question: if this thing is cheap, AND can retain its compact formfactor once expanded, I could see this being popular for embedded systems, especially, it seems, from a segment of enthusiasts who got bored of DIY desktops and now want to do DIY embedded systems.
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a b V Motherboard
November 15, 2011 3:10:32 AM

nottheking said:
Part of my concern is the RAM module; I'll assume that the specs infer that it has a single DDR3-SODIMM slot, which is good for keeping costs down. Overall, I wonder exactly how adding on the RAM, and other expanded functionality will affect the formfactor: 10x7cm is nice, yes, but if adding important things like storage, RAM, etc require bulging the form out in all directions, then it's nowhere near attractive; at that point it becomes a question of "what's the point? my 10x7cm board became a bulky 20x20 cm!" At that point, the 17x17 cm size of Mini-ITX would be better, since none of its expansions require putting anything other than DIRECTLY ABOVE the motherboard.

Of course, I can see that a lot of others have picked up on cost being a big question: if this thing is cheap, AND can retain its compact formfactor once expanded, I could see this being popular for embedded systems, especially, it seems, from a segment of enthusiasts who got bored of DIY desktops and now want to do DIY embedded systems.


You typically put a single 512MB or 1GB SODIMM stick, its like a laptop it lays down flat. Permanent storage is usually in the form of a CF card, 8~32GB depending.

http://www.idotpc.com/TheStore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategor...

That is an example of a pico-ITX case. Ridiculously small form factor.

Also this type of miniaturization isn't cheap. Just like laptop components tend to be more expensive mini-ITX and pico-ITX components tend to also be more expensive. You don't go with these form factors for reduced HW cost, you go with them for less power and less physical space usage.
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