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First Look: VIA OpenBook Mini-Notebook

Introduction

A week or so ago, representatives of VIA Technologies, Inc. visited us to show off their OpenBook reference design. VIA designed the mini-notebook to demonstrate to manufacturers what is possible in an ultra-portable computer. You can’t buy the OpenBook directly from VIA, but you’ll see it or concepts in the OpenBook in products from other manufacturers soon. The OpenBook is 9.5" wide by 6.9" deep and 1.1" to 1.4" high. It weighs about 2.2 pounds. The display measures 8.9" and features a resolution of 1024x600. All images courtesy VIA Technologies, Inc.

The CPU

The VIA OpenBook reference design is built around the company’s C7-M ultra-low voltage CPU. The C7-M is available in speeds from 1.0 to 1.6 GHz. VIA claims that the CPU’s maximum power consumption is 3.5 watts at full power and as low as 0.1 watts during idle. The CPU comes in a small 21 mm x 21 mm package.

The "Chipset"

We apologize for the quality of this diagram, but it is still possible to discern key features of the VIA CPU-"chipset" combination that powers the OpenNote. The VX800 integrates North and South bridge technology into a single package that measures 33mm x 33mm. The VIA Chrome 9 integrated graphics processor supports DirectX 9.0 and the VIA Chromotion CE video display engine supports hardware decoding acceleration of MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9 and VC1 video formats.

The Keyboard

The VIA OpenBook reference mini-notebook’s keyboard doesn’t take advantage of the full width of the case as does the HP 2133 Mini-Note, which features VIA’s C7 CPU.

The Hardware

VIA’s OpenBook reference mini-notebook specs a 2.5" 80 GB hard disk drive, up to 2 GB of DDR2 memory, a 1.2 MP dual headed webcam, a 4-cell 2600 mAh lithium-ion battery with a claimed life of 3 hours and support for Bluetooth, WiFi and LAN connectivity, with optional WiMAX or HSDPA or WCDMA 3.5G. This is one of the few mini-notebooks that fully exploits the breed’s portability by offering a full range of wide area networking options.

More Hardware

The left side of the VIA OpenBook includes a DC power jack, two USB 2.0 ports and inputs for a microphone and headphones.

Still More Hardware

The right side of the VIA OpenBook reference unit features a third USB 2.0 port, a 10/100 Ethernet port and a VGA connector for an external monitor.

Basic Specs

Basic Specifications

The VIA OpenBook reference model runs an impressive range of operating systems: Vista and XP, as well as three flavors of Linux.

More Detailed Specs

More on the VIA OpenBook.

  • humalong
    hmm, yea it looks like the Asus EEE PC, which has been out for a long time. I suppose if you want to buy a version that doesnt work as well and has components that will likely fail after only 6 months, than go with VIA. though i admit, the VIA clone is a little better looking...
    Reply
  • spongebob
    More

    Then

    One

    Paragraph

    per

    page

    Please?
    Reply
  • xxchocotacoxx
    humalonghmm, yea it looks like the Asus EEE PC, which has been out for a long time. I suppose if you want to buy a version that doesnt work as well and has components that will likely fail after only 6 months, than go with VIA. though i admit, the VIA clone is a little better looking... Yeah, it looks like an EEE PC, but with a larger screen (than initial models), larger HD, larger keyboard, larger casing, larger assortment of connectivity options, higher clock speed, possibly longer battery life, addition of separated left and right mouse buttons, and altered port locations.

    But besides all that, it looks like an EEE.
    Reply
  • velocityg4
    What I do not get with these tiny Mobile computers is they use less energy but then the twits put smaller batteries in too.

    How about just slighty larger or thicker laptop with a full size battery. Then it can still be smaller and lighter than traditional laptops with an 8+ hour battery life.

    This is what really keeps me away from these tiny laptops why would I want a small screen cramped keyboard and crappy battery life. One of the points to these is to be free of wires.

    Heck just give us nuclear batteries than we can have 10-20 years of charge and never need to plug in. We'll just put terrorists on the honor system. :o
    Reply
  • humalong
    true it has superior specs. but your point about everything being bigger is kind of odd, considering that its marketed as mini.

    if you want everything larger, buy a normal laptop?

    Reply
  • aleluja
    I like this PC's design more than EEE's
    Reply
  • razor512
    spongebobMoreThenOneParagraphperpagePlease?

    They divide pages by topic, not length, this allows the article to be more organized and less clutters. On this site, a page can be 10,000 words long or just 50 words long
    Reply
  • razor512
    velocityg4What I do not get with these tiny Mobile computers is they use less energy but then the twits put smaller batteries in too.How about just slighty larger or thicker laptop with a full size battery. Then it can still be smaller and lighter than traditional laptops with an 8+ hour battery life.This is what really keeps me away from these tiny laptops why would I want a small screen cramped keyboard and crappy battery life. One of the points to these is to be free of wires.Heck just give us nuclear batteries than we can have 10-20 years of charge and never need to plug in. We'll just put terrorists on the honor system. yep it is annoying when they do that.

    when ever they make a smaller chip they feel the need to make the device a mini

    use 50% less power so they decide to use a 50% smaller battery

    when they do this then all you are getting out if it is a smaller device that has less functionality. keep a full sized laptop with the lower power usage components

    i wouldn't mind that hardware in a full sized laptop, the performance is still good for any normal use and it is like i will be working with MAYA 3d or adobe after effects or doing real time croma keying with a HD cam

    how about a cpu like that with a built in speed controller, where you can set the speed to 600MHz or less to save even more power. don't need 1.6GHz to use ms word or watch a video (most videocards have hardware acceleration for video (for me HD video uses only around 5% cpu usage )
    Reply
  • Does a book make noise? Get your metaphors right. This is a unicycle or, more likely, a bicycle.

    Reply
  • spiralsun1
    I want a mini laptop so bad, but the battery life is the #1 key drawback. Under 6 hours is just plain unacceptable. 8 hours would be ideal. I want to charge overnight and use the laptop all day. At the very least offer a big battery as an option! It is crazy that no one is doing this!
    Reply