Monday, January 29, 2007

Build your own appliance using PC technology

The big advantages of designing embedded products around PC technology is the simple development and quick time to market mostly due to reusing existing components such as: operating systems (Linux or Windows), drivers, development toolchains (GCC, .NET Framework, Java, etc) or even complete applications.

Encouraged by the success of Mini-ITX and Nano-ITX series, VIA announce recently pico-ITX. The new pico-ITX form-factor will reportedly measure 3.9 x 2.8 inches (10 x 7.2 cm) -- exactly half the surface area of Via's already small 4.7 x 4.7-inch (12 x 12cm) Nano-ITX standard, and considerably smaller than the original 6.7-inch square (17 x 17cm) mini-ITX standard.

If you are already using your PC only for a few dedicated tasks (VoIP, Media Center, etc) consider turning it into an appliance using one of the above motherboards. The tremendous benefits will include: low power consumption, no moving parts (most of these motherboards/processors can be used with a passive heat-sink and the HDD can be replaced with a flash memory), cool appearance … not to mention the personal satisfaction. A good place to start with such project is

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