The Mini-ITX form-factor enables one to build rather compact desktops and if a PC maker wants something smaller, it goes with a proprietary form-factor. ECS has revealed a motherboard that has a width of 170 mm and a depth of 85 mm, which is about "half" of a Mini-ITX motherboard. The platform can fit into standard Mini-ITX chassis, but to take full advantage of its dimensions, one will have to use a built-to-order case.
The ECS GLKD-HTI is based on Intel's Gemini Lake SoC with two or four Goldmont Plus cores as well as Intel UHD Graphics 600/605 (Gen 9.5). The processor can be accompanied by up to 8GB of DDR4-2133 memory using one SO-DIMM module, a single-sided M.2-2280 SSD with a SATA interface and a 2.5/3.5-inch drive featuring a SATA interface.
The ECS GLKD-HTI is a rather feature rich platform and has everything one might need for basic productivity or entertainment tasks. The motherboard is equipped with a GbE port (controlled by the Realtek 8111H) and has an M.2 slot for a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. It also has four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI display output as well as two audio jacks (enabled by the Realtek ALC662) to attach speakers and a microphone (or a headset).
Aside from its "Half Mini-ITX" form-factor, the main selling point of the ECS GLKD-HTI is its promise of ultimate reliability, something ECS calls the Durathon Technology. The manufacturer equipped the platform with solid-state capacitors, ESD protection as well as LAN surge protection. Meanwhile, the system is not exactly positioned as an 'embedded product', so it may not be exactly designed for commercial or industrial applications.
Since the 'Half Mini-ITX' is not an industry standard form-factor, those interested in using the ECS GLKD-HTI will probably have to order a proprietary chassis or just get an ultra-small Mini-ITX case and use the spare room for something else, a piece of proprietary hardware, for example. Meanwhile, considering the combination of features and a nearly proprietary form-factor, it is likely that the product was designed for a client and then ECS saw its potential for a broader market.
The ECS GLKD-HTI was formally announced on December 28 (as reported by Hermitage Akihabara) and is currently listed on manufacturer's site. Unfortunately, there is no word regarding an actual availability date or approximate price of the unit.
Of course, if you're looking for a standard motherboard, check out our list of best motherboards for advice.