Compact All-Rounders: VIA's Eden Mini ITX Format Boards


The Eden 1500 uses the ESP5000 CPU, which requires no more than a passive aluminum heatsink. An improvement. Unlike the ESP4000, the version we tested works with a 133 MHz FSB, rather than 100 MHz. The other components are sufficiently well known and technically mature: VIA's Apollo PLE133T chipset with proprietary LAN and audio codecs. The features are virtually equivalent to what you would expect from the average desktop PC. Two UltraATA/100 IDE ports are also provided, together with two USB ports and two DIMM sockets accepting up to one gigabyte of memory.

Don't expect too much from the integrated graphics system. Although up to 32 MB of main memory can be used for graphics, the chipset's age rules out any possibility of high performance.

Still, the Eden 1500 is not a games platform, despite the TV-out and the 16-bit sound system. The board layout leaves room for an additional memory chip that the user manual calls "Disk on Chip". This could take the form of a ROM containing a simple operating system (preferably a lean version of Linux). There are clear possibilities for use in set-top boxes or multimedia systems for home or car. The only drawback might be the boot-up time, which would introduce a 20-second delay each time the navigation system is switched on.

Cool enough: a fan-less heatsink cools the processor.

A detailed specification of this board is available from the VIA website.