It’s the size of a few decks of cards, but inside there’s an entire full-functional PC capable of playing 1080p video and home-theatre sound.
Via Technologies may well be hoping so. Its latest embedded-systems reference design, the AMOS-3001, is just 15cm wide x 10.8cm deep x 4.5cm high, yet features COM, USB, Ethernet, USB, speaker, mic-in, and HDMI ports – everything you need to stick it behind your HDTV and have a full-featured media centre.
Home-theatre enthusiasts will be most excited about what’s inside the box, however: hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding provides HD 1080p, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and WMV9 video playback. There’s HD audio via the embedded VIA VT1708B, which supports 8-channel, 192KHz audio and native support for DTS multi-channel sound.
Those are strong specs for the traditional embedded systems market, where durability and reliability are more important than whiz-bang features; VIA is clearly thinking of the AMOS 3001 as the kind of thing a digital signage specialist would buy for in-store displays – or that a consumer electronics giant might buy to embed inside (or behind) its TVs.
The AMOS-3001 utilises VIA’s Pico-ITX motherboard form factor, a 100x72mm board that was introduced in 2007 as a new platform for tiny computers. Because it’s silent and lacks a fan, the system requires a novel way to dissipate heat – in this case, the fins jutting out of the aluminium chassis, which provides physical protection for the PC as well as acting as a giant heat sink. The design also allows for a high degree of durability, with VIA claiming it will sustain shocks of up to 70G.
At the heart of the system is a 1.0GHz or 1.2GHz Eden ULV processor, VIA’s low-powered CPU for embedded devices, and there are expansion options for 1GB or 2GB of SDRAM and a 2.5” 250GB Fujitsu SATA hard drive. The box can also be equipped with 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of industrial-grade RAM, capable of withstanding temperatures of -40 to 85 degrees C – although if ambient temperatures in your lounge room tend towards either of those extremes, you’ve got bigger problems than simply lacking 1080p playback.
The full data sheet for the system is available here.