Re: [linux-audio-user] VIA EPIA-M9000 for audio?

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] VIA EPIA-M9000 for audio?
From: Lloyd R. Prentice (
Date: Mon Dec 23 2002 - 17:43:16 EET

"Lloyd R. Prentice" wrote:
> Has anyone looked at/evaluated/considered/used the new VIA EPIA-M9000
> motherboard as the basis for interesting audio projects?

The reason I asked this question a few days ago is that this board looks
to my novice eye like a very promising, and relatively inexpensive,
platform for audio projects. It's small, low-powered, highly featured.
Spec sheet says it's Linux compatible.

I'd like to experiment, but have been burned before by hidden gotchas.

The specs include "six-channel surround sound." What does this mean? How
would one exploit it with Linux?

They also include two USB 2.0 ports. Would this make it suitable as a
controller for external audio components?

Would this board work well as a the basis for a dedicated, perhaps
portable, digital recorder?

I've seen it priced at $150 with CPU.

Here's a url that reviews the board:

Here are some quotes:

VIA's approach is to go small: the EPIA-M has enough power to handle
DVD movies and sound well, and the platform is small and cool-running
enough to be easily adapted to cases that will mix-'n-match with
home entertainment equipment. The CPU generates little heat; the primary
power for multimedia functions is embedded in the chipset, and
independent of processing power. It can be made to run quietly and would
be inexpensive.

As already mentioned, VIA's new CLE266 chipset is the key to the
performance of the EPIA-M. The board has the same marvelously tiny
layout as before (17 x 17 cm), but with USB2.0, IEEE 1394 Firewire,
DVD playback, better TV out, LAN, support for faster DDR266 memory
(instead of PC133 SDRAM) and better quality 6 channel surround sound.
It also has better graphics (than the Trident Blade on the PLE133 of the
EPIA series boards) with a new integrated graphics engine called Castle
Rock. Another change quietly introduced is the addition of a port for a
floppy drive, which is missing from the EPIA boards.

With the small form factor of Mini-ITX, there is no room on the back
panel for the IEEE 1394 Firewire ports. So VIA includes headers on the
and a Combo Module with 2 USB 2.0 ports and 2 IEEE1394 ports. The
combo module requires the use of a PCI riser card in most Mini-ITX
cases. With the two USB ports already on the back panel, this makes 4,
which is generous for such a tiny board. In fact, the list of I/O
(as shown in the specifications below) makes it clear that this is one
modern board.

Best wishes,

Lloyd R. Prentice

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