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Mini PC: VIA Artigo A1100 Pico-ITX Kit

Tom's Hardware's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 2, Last-Minute Luxury
By

a1100.viatech.com
$243
By: William Van Winkle

How about a full-blown PC you could actually fit in a stocking? We’ve seen a lot of Atom- and Optimus-based nettops arrive over 2010, and all have been pretty decent if you have your expectations adjusted accordingly. These aren’t gaming machines. Some aren’t even video machines. Today’s nettops are meant to be secondary or tertiary systems that probably fill a certain need. Plenty get used as home theater PCs (HTPCs), and why not? Throw Windows or Linux on one, plug in via Ethernet, and you’ve got a system that will probably trounce the likes of a Logitech Revue (Google TV) or Boxee Box in terms of flexibility and performance.

Many years ago, VIA created the various ITX form factors, and while Intel may have tried to borrow some of VIA’s brilliance in its post-BTX SFF designs, VIA deserves credit for pioneering the low-power, ultra-compact PC movement. The Artigo carries VIA’s efforts to a new Lilliputian extreme, packing a complete PC into a 5.7" x 3.9" x 2" package. That’s less than a one-liter volume. As a point of reference, Intel defines “ultra SFF” as a system in the four- to eight-liter range. In a one-liter design, you’d normally expect the system to be integrated and made proprietary to the nth degree, but VIA has crafted the Artigo A1100 into a respectable DIY affair.

Sure, some of the A1100’s design is fixed. The Pico-ITX motherboard features a hard-mounted 1.2 GHz Nano processor and VX855 chipset, both shrouded under an aluminum heatsink that covers most of the motherboard. VIA’s Chome9 integrated graphics chip accelerates MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, and H.264 decoding, and it’s sufficient for 2D gaming or just about any Web work you want to throw at it. The system features analog audio and three USB 2.0 ports (one mini) up front. In back, you’ll find VGA, another two USB 2.0, HDMI, and gigabit Ethernet. All that’s missing are one DDR2 SO-DIMM module, a 2.5” storage drive, and the optional wireless ($45) and SD reader ($25) parts. If you’ve ever taken a screwdriver to a PC, you’ll find that installing these parts is pretty similar to working in a notebook. All told, you should be in and out in under ten minutes.

You’ll have to decide if the SD reader makes sense. We’d pass on the wireless adapter since it’s only 802.11b/g, which is insufficient for streaming video, and instead prefer an 11n USB dongle. If you skip the options and figure $35 for 2 GB of memory and $60 for a 320 GB laptop drive, you’re out the door for under $350.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    marraco , December 16, 2010 9:43 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.

    Agree. Those clothes weight too much.
  • 17 Hide
    ben850 , December 16, 2010 4:21 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.


    are you kidding me?
  • 14 Hide
    alchemy69 , December 16, 2010 5:37 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.


    Spoken like someone whose knowledge of female anatomy comes entirely from internet porn. That your chances of ever encountering the real thing are close to zero comes as a relief to women everywhere.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    ben850 , December 16, 2010 4:21 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.


    are you kidding me?
  • 2 Hide
    carlhenry , December 16, 2010 4:37 AM
    2nd pic is best hahaha
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , December 16, 2010 4:56 AM
    I take it evaluating women isn't your strong suit, Bunga
  • 11 Hide
    joytech22 , December 16, 2010 5:01 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.


    What? I'm not even sure you know what you're talking about..
  • 14 Hide
    alchemy69 , December 16, 2010 5:37 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.


    Spoken like someone whose knowledge of female anatomy comes entirely from internet porn. That your chances of ever encountering the real thing are close to zero comes as a relief to women everywhere.
  • 9 Hide
    MidianSpawned , December 16, 2010 5:49 AM
    Picture 2 is an optical illusion, if you look at it long enough you will see a Kingston Hyper-X drive.
  • 9 Hide
    sandypants , December 16, 2010 8:10 AM
    What happened to the $500 SBM build?
  • 4 Hide
    doron , December 16, 2010 8:34 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.


    In a world where models have to live the most unnatural, unhealthy life just to be what the companies decide is pretty for the rest of us, this comment to these otherwise very thin women is the most out of place I've ever seen. Do you have any idea what words like these can do to some women? I'm shocked and really afraid to see an actual woman which answers your definition of "thin".
  • 10 Hide
    ethaniel , December 16, 2010 8:45 AM
    @bunga28:

    What? You don't want those girls? Perfect, I'll take them. :) 
  • 8 Hide
    cangelini , December 16, 2010 9:36 AM
    sandypantsWhat happened to the $500 SBM build?


    It's coming tomorrow!
    Chris
  • 19 Hide
    marraco , December 16, 2010 9:43 AM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.

    Agree. Those clothes weight too much.
  • 4 Hide
    brisingamen , December 16, 2010 11:50 AM
    i always get a laugh out of hearing virgins talk about something they have never experienced.

    i have modeled on television. and these girls are solid.

    ironically the digital storm pc is almost identical to the one i just built for myself.

    if they ship girls that look like that with thier pc's ill never build my own again.
  • 2 Hide
    feeddagoat , December 16, 2010 12:18 PM
    Not sure about the streak, if it finally gets an update to 2.2 and they sort out the data transfer (I tested it in shop with my laptop and to transfer a 1gb video was estimated at 3hours). It is a good device tho. I would of put the Archos Table (or tablet since they sorted their spelling with the latest batch) 101 or 70. The 50 and smaller are all resistive so that puts me off them and if you want a phone too then nothing beats the Desire HD. It works...well, and is big enough for everything I would use it for.

    Overall great Article and loved all the selections even tho I didn't agree with the streak!
  • 3 Hide
    i_am_aronman , December 16, 2010 1:15 PM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.

    if anything they need to gain weight, i prefer my women healthy, not hefty mind you, but if i see bone it sets off red flags for me.
  • 5 Hide
    accolite , December 16, 2010 1:18 PM
    The brunette in red is still the hottest of the 3.

    I think Toms realized that the blond in green isn't that good a looker so instead of putting a bag over her head they cropped the pic to not include it, lol. Funny stuff Toms.

    Hope the models don't check the comments area cuz some of the comments on here are pretty blunt, 2 of them might get their feelings hurt.
  • 1 Hide
    pinkfloydminnesota , December 16, 2010 1:48 PM
    Grado headphones, SR-60 MADE IN BROOKLYN not in across the pond. Best sounding headphone, ever.
  • 0 Hide
    cadder , December 16, 2010 1:55 PM
    Hey, I like the one in green!

    Back to the article- why does the Assassin have 2 CPU coolers? Did they ship you a different model for photography?
  • 3 Hide
    satyr451 , December 16, 2010 2:20 PM
    bunga28All right. Your models need to lose weight. Sorry to be direct.


    Been a long time since I've actually commented on an article. I had to struggle to remember by username/password for this site...I'm glad I did. Now I can call you an idiot.... Idiot.
  • 2 Hide
    SevWarfare , December 16, 2010 2:32 PM
    No problem with the models weight. They are all thin and cute. The jerk needs thicker glasses so he can see a hot chick. Or maybe he has a CRT with 800*640, then I can see that comment being scarcely valid. My only gripe and it's minor, is the hottie in green needs to lay off the tanning bed. That bird is slightly overcooked. Oh yeah, nice gear too....hahaha
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