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VIA Makes In-Vehicle Platform for Car PCs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

VIA Technologies has taken a nose dive into the mobility market with its IVP-7500 system, a decked-out motherboard for in-car mounted PCs.

Forget dragging that laptop around: it's high time computers get fully integrated into our automobiles--although a few brave modders have already done this. Granted driving and computing is probably far worse than driving and texting on the BlackBerry, an in-car PC is not only luxurious, but will eventually become a part of ever day living. There's no doubt that surfing the Internet on a smartphone will be a thing of the past; video assisted parking will make those busy-street-parallel-parking scenarios a breeze. An in-car mounted PC could even grab streaming video from the Internet or download music on the fly.

With that in mind, VIA Technologies has revealed the VIA IVP-7500, the first in a series of dedicated x86 in-vehicle motherboards for developers of car PCs and "intelligent transportation devices." Built for ruggedness and in-vehicle computing, the new motherboard offers a strong multimedia performance while staying versatile, scalable and extremely power efficient. Measuring at 114mm x 185.5mm, the VIA IVP-7500 motherboard can fit in a variety of dashboard settings, including one or two DIN designs as well as discrete, in-seat and headrest designs.

But let's not get hasty here: this motherboard--or rather platform as VIA calls it--isn't meant for playing high-maintenance games like F.E.A.R. 2 and Crysis. In fact, it has VIA's Eden ULV fanless processor--clocking in at a mere 1.0 GHz--built right in. The platform also features a DDR2 533/400 SODIMM socket (up to 1 GB memory size, ECC support for DDR2 400), VIA's integrated UniChrome Pro II 3D/2D AGP GPU with MPEG-2/4 and WMV9 video decoding acceleration, and on-board IDE featuring one  UltraDMA 133/100/166/33 with an FFC connector (for those 1.8-inch hard drives).

But while this "platform" isn't necessarily a computing powerhouse, the VIA IVP-7500 does offer a few other on-board goodies. These include a QCOM Bluetooth module through USB, a LeadTek LR9102/LP GPS module (through COM2 I/F with external IPEX antenna), an FM transmitter (NS73M61AU) using frequency 87.5 to 108.0 MHz, and an embedded version of Windows XP (yes!), Linux, or Win CE. The platform has on-board audio too, using VIA's VT1708B high definition audio codec. The platform offers support for an LCD (TTL) panel interface and even features TV-out, VGA outputs, and camera ports including A/V (via mini-USB) and V-CAM for monitoring applications. The platform can even read SD cards.

"Intelligent transportation devices are making the transition from an enthusiast to mainstream audience," said Daniel Wu, Vice President, VIA Embedded, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The VIA IVP-7500 carries our expertise in developing stable, compact, energy-efficient systems to this high-growth sector, bringing with it faster product development cycles and the flexibility to offer consumers more than just a car PC."

For consumers looking to build an in-care PC, this is probably a good place to start. Outside hard-core processing, the board seems to offer quite a few goodies, especially with the built-in GPS and high definition audio. The IVP-7500 isn't quite a netbook, but more inline with a high-class multimedia platform. While the specs didn't offer any information in regards to Wi-Fi, this application might be one of the cases where users tether an Internet-ready mobile phone in order to browser the Internet. Still, having a built-in PC would be really cool to have, especially if a separate DVD system isn't currently in place.

VIA said that it is currently offering samples of the VIA IVP-7500 board to project customers, however the company did not offer pricing or availability.

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  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , March 20, 2009 2:12 PM
    Quote:
    But let's not get hasty here: this motherboard--or rather platform as VIA calls it--isn't meant for playing high-maintenance games like F.E.A.R. 2 and Crysis.

    Is there anyone here that seriously thought you could play Crysis while driving? Or would want to for that matter.
  • 0 Hide
    Hatecrime69 , March 20, 2009 2:29 PM
    neat to see somebody thinking of enthusiasts who put pc's in their cars, not that I really care about such a thing but via really seems to be searching for a niche market of their own
  • 6 Hide
    lutel , March 20, 2009 2:34 PM
    finally I'll be able to download porn while driving
  • 1 Hide
    james_8970 , March 20, 2009 2:37 PM
    It may be a niche market now, but this will undoubtedly see massive growth over the next few years. The possibilities are virtually endless in what we can achieve with carPCs and wireless technology.
  • 0 Hide
    Niva , March 20, 2009 4:15 PM
    yup, this looks interesting, depending on what kind of software this comes with it would make GPS makers obsolete.

    Also I'd love to have the versatility of being able to load terabytes worth of music in the car :) 

    The applications of cameras and security are also very intriguing.
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , March 20, 2009 4:16 PM
    Hatecrime69neat to see somebody thinking of enthusiasts who put pc's in their cars, not that I really care about such a thing but via really seems to be searching for a niche market of their own

    I guess.

    But why not just put a tower system with an SSD in your trunk with a display in the dash?
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , March 20, 2009 4:19 PM
    Hatecrime69neat to see somebody thinking of enthusiasts who put pc's in their cars, not that I really care about such a thing but via really seems to be searching for a niche market of their own



    Ehh? All new cars have computers inside.
  • 1 Hide
    grieve , March 20, 2009 4:36 PM
    I think it be killer to have a Windows unit running on your dashboard and integrated into the cars stereo/positioning. SOOO many possibilities would be available. I would however like to see a little more CPU power and ram.
  • 1 Hide
    grieve , March 20, 2009 4:42 PM
    My aftermarket car stereo has a 30 gig HDD, navigation and every other toy available for a stereo… but nothing would beat a touch screen windows unit.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 20, 2009 5:02 PM
    "I would however like to see a little more CPU power and ram."


    Why, 1gb of ram is more than enough to play HD audio and run the GPS at the same time. Remember that when XP first came out, 64MB of ram was standard.
  • 1 Hide
    Startingline13 , March 20, 2009 5:25 PM
    I currently have a PC installed into my Jeep Liberty and I love it. I have some of my build log online as well. Look for me on the Mp3car.com forums under the handle "Startingline13"

    It's a great resource for all you want to know about car PCs
  • 0 Hide
    russofris , March 20, 2009 6:14 PM
    Is this a new platform, or is it a paper release like the 855 where they ripped components off of an 800 series and gave it a new name?
  • 0 Hide
    grieve , March 20, 2009 9:36 PM
    sdhsdhsderh"I would however like to see a little more CPU power and ram."Why, 1gb of ram is more than enough to play HD audio and run the GPS at the same time. Remember that when XP first came out, 64MB of ram was standard.

    I just prefer doing everything on my gaming rig then my laptop as it has more juice, everything is snappier.. You can never have enough CPU and ram... even if it is in a car
  • 1 Hide
    echdskech , March 21, 2009 6:08 AM
    So in the future, when someone asks me how fast my car is, can answer in GHz.