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Fanless mini-PC runs Linux on Via QuadCore E-Series

Sep 15, 2014 — by Eric Brown 2,706 views

Via’s rugged, Linux-ready “Artigo A1300” mini-PC uses a new Via QuadCore E-Series CPU and VX11PH GPU, and offers dual HDMI, GbE, and optional 3G and WiFi.

The $550 Artigo A1300 is one of a long line of Linux-ready Via Artigo mini-PCs, such as the circa 2010 Artigo A1100. The fanless, 7.28 x 6.38 x 1.75-inch Artigo A1300 is said to be designed for dual-display signage, kiosk, menu board, HMI, and, of course, the ubiquitous “IoT applications.” The device has a 0 to 45°C operating range, as well as shock and vibration resistance, says Via Technologies.

Via Artigo A1300
(click image to enlarge)

The Artigo A1300 is the first Via device we’ve covered that uses its relatively new 1.0GHz Via QuadCore E-Series processor. In April, we also looked at the Via AMOS-3003 industrial computer, which uses a similar, dual-core 1.2GHz Nano E2 processor, and which is based on an underlying Epia-P910 Pico-ITX board that uses the QuadCore E-Series as its default CPU. Via doesn’t say which Pico-ITX drives the Artigo A1300, but the Epia-P910 appears to be the likely candidate. The other three Epia boards that offer the QuadCore E-Series are clocked at 1.2GHz instead of the 1GHz rate found on the Epia-P910 and Artigo A1300.

QuadCore E-Series
(click image to enlarge)

The QuadCore E-Series CPU integrates four 64-bit “Isaiah” x86 cores on two dies. The 40nm fabricated processor is available in 1GHz, 1.2GHz, and 1.46GHz versions, and is further equipped with 4MB L2 cache, a 1066MHz V4 Bus, and Adaptive Overclocking functionality. With its 18W TDP (in fanless configurations), it’s claimed to be the world’s lowest power quad-core x86 processor. That claim doesn’t sound quite right, considering Intel Haswell quad-cores are available with as little as 15W TDPs, and the quad-core Atom E3845 runs at 10 Watts.

The QuadCore E-Series CPU is paired here with a new Via VX11PH Media System Processor (MSP). The VX11 series features Chrome 640/645 graphics with DirectX 11 support. Other features include support for SuperSpeed USB and up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, as well as a Via Chromotion 5.0 video engine, which offers decode acceleration of MPEG-4, H.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1 video.

Via VX11 MSP connectivity and features
(click image to enlarge)

On the Artigo A1300, the VX11PH enables playback of two 1080p videos or four 720p videos simultaneously, and supports DX11 graphics resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels via the two available HDMI ports. Dual display support extends to offering different resolutions, pixel depths, and refresh rates.

Artigo A1300 angle and side views
(click images to enlarge)

The Artigo A1300 can be stocked with up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM. A 2.5-inch storage bay supports hard disk drives or solid state drives, and an mSATA socket is available as well. The system includes a SIM card slot, as well as an optional Ublox 3.75G HSPA/UMTS module, via mini-PCIe, and an optional WiFi USB module.


Front panel I/O includes two USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI ports, one gigabit Ethernet port, line-in/out audio jacks, and a 12V DC-in power connector. On the left panel you can find dual USB 2.0 ports, a RS232/422/485 COM port, and a digital I/O port that enables 8-bit GPIO. The mini-PCIe slot is available internally.

Artigo A1300 front and left-side port detail
(click image to enlarge)

Via Technologies supports the Linux- and Windows-ready Artigo A1300 with technical support, software solution packs, and the Smart ETK (Embedded Tool Kit). An optional “MagicView” content management platform enables the design, distribution, and display of digital signage content. MagicView integrates schedule management, client monitoring, reporting, and secure network functionality, says Via.

Specifications listed for the Via Artigo A1300 include:

  • Processor — Via QuadCore E-Series (4x 64-bit x86 cores @ 1GHz); Via VX11PH Media System Processor with Chrome 645/640 DX11 3D/2D graphics
  • Memory — up to 8GB DDR3 1066/1333 RAM via 1x SODIMM socket
  • Storage — 2.5-inch SATA SSD/HDD; mSATA socket
  • Display — 2x HDMI ports for up to 1920 x 1080; dual independent displays
  • Wireless:
    • SIM card slot
    • Antenna holes for 3G and WiFi
    • Optional VNT9271 IEEE 802.11b/g/n USB WiFi module with assembly kit
    • Optional Ublox 3.75G HSPA/UMTS full size mini-PCIe module
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port with wake-on and PXE boot
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 ports
    • RS-232/422/485 COM port (Fintek F71869 LPC I/O controller) with selectable 5V/12V
    • DIO port (8-bit GPIO)
    • Audio line-in and line-out jacks (VT202 HD codec)
  • Expansion — Mini-PCIe slot (PCIe + USB 2.0)
  • Other features — Watchdog; LEDs; VESA mounting
  • Power — 12V DC-in; typical 28W consumption
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 45°C with SSD and mSATA; 0 to 40°C with HDD
  • Vibration resistance — 5Grms, random, 5 to 500Hz, 1hr/axis (IEC 60068-2-64) with SSD
  • Shock resistance — 50G, half size, 11ms duration (IEC 60068-2-27) with SSD
  • Weight — 2 k (4.4 lb) without HDD
  • Dimensions — 185 x 162 x 44.4mm (7.28 x 6.38 x 1.75 in.)
  • Operating system — Linux; Windows 7/8; WES7

Further information

The Via Artigo A1300 is available now for $550 plus shipping. More information may be found at the Artigo A1300 product page and Artigo A1300 online store page.

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One response to “Fanless mini-PC runs Linux on Via QuadCore E-Series”

  1. jezra says:

    Good thing that the graphics chip has DirectX 11 support. :)

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