VIA is updating its ARTiGO mini-desktop computer line with the addition of the ARTiGO A1150. It’s a barebones PC kid that comes with a Pico-ITX motherboard, a tiny case, and a 1 GHz VIA Eden X2 64-bit dual core processor.
The system also has a VIA VX900H media system processor. The low power chip can handle HD video playback in MPEG2, DivX, WMV9, VC1, and H.264 formats, which could make the little computer a good choice for a home theater PC.
The kit doesn’t include a hard drive, memory, or operating system, but there’s optional 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 4 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and VGA ports, Gigabit LAN, and support for up to 4GB of DDR 1066 MHz RAM and a 2.5 GHz hard drive or solid state disk.
Last year the company released a similar box called the ARTiGO A1100 with a 1.2 GHz VIA Nano processor and VX855 media processor. The new A1150 is available from the VIA online store for $260, while the A1100 is still available for $238.
The specs on these little VIA boxes is always awesome, however, their driver support, especially for video does not deliver. Hardware without functional drivers is moot. I purchased the A1100 and was very disappointed. At least I was able to use the HDD and RAM on another project. I will never again purchase a VIA product again until they correct this deficiency.
Sadly, hardware needs drivers, and of all of the terrible vendors like ARM and NVIDIA when it comes to driver support, quality, and openness, ARM is probably the worst of all (at least in so far as hardware that finds its way into the hands of unwitting consumers). When AMD makes you look bad on the driver front, you’ve failed.
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