Via pc2500, ITX and ATX Form Factors

When I first read about ClubIT’s $59.99 (USD) gOS Developer Kit, I started thinking about applications where I could use it. How can you pass up a $60 ‘puter?

The Via pc2500 motherboard is relatively small – it conforms to the FlexATX form factor which is 9.0 in. x 7.5 in. (221 mm x 191 mm). I first thought the Via board would be a good starting point for a car computer. With a small touchscreen LCD, I could use it for a GPS and an A/V source for music (and video).

As I started looking for cases, there seemed to be a dearth of cases for the FlexATX motherboard. Most FlexATX cases also fit the larger microATX motherboard. (FlexATX is an addendum to the microATX specification). I may have confused the ATX motherboard sizes with the ITX form factor developed by Via Technology.

Form Factor Max. Width Max. Depth
FlexATX 9.0″ (229 mm) 7.5″ (191 mm)
microATX 9.6″ (244 mm) 9.6″ (244 mm)
ATX, full-size 12.0″ (305 mm) 9.6″ (244 mm)
Mini-ATX 11.2″ (284 mm) 8.2″ (208 mm)

The ITX form factors are much smaller than the ATX specs:

mini-ITX6.7″ (170 mm)6.7″ (170 mm)

Form Factor Max. Width Max. Depth
nano-ITX 4.7″ (120 mm) 4.7″ (120 mm)
pico-ITX 3.9″ (100 mm) 2.8″ (72 mm)
mobile-ITX 2.953″ (75 mm) 1.772″ (45 mm)

I was unable to find a small FlexATX enclosure that might fit under the seat of a car or inconspicuously in the trunk. Instead I found a Silverstone SST-LC11S-300 for $27.51 (USD) on eBay. For a motherboard that has a maximum power draw of 20 watts, this case is a little overkill. But until I find a suitable enclosure, I have another HTPC.

As for the OS, I tried installing the gOS and received an error, /sbin/modprobe “abnormal exit.” I found several reported bugs in Ubuntu that described the same error that required a kernal fix . Instead, I installed an OEM version of Vista, and have the PC headless at the moment.

(3 December 2007) Doing more research on the abnormal exit during the install of gOS and Ubuntu 7.04 led me to add the boot parameter all_generic_ide after hitting F6 on the boot screen. This problem is discussed in the Ubuntu Forums.

gOS: The Little Desktop Linux that Came Out of the Blue

 The gOS, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that is used on the recently released Everex PC, has exploded into popularity. The $199 Everex TC2502, is sold out at Wal-Mart. ClubIT has a $59.99 gOS Developer Kit based on the VIA C7-D processor and the Via PC-2500 motherboard. This is the same processor and motherboard that is used in the Everex TC2502.

Via’s main selling point for this processor and chipset is its Carbon Free Computing Initiative. Via has introduced a new benchmark called the TreeMark Tree Rating.Via emphasizes the lower amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) created in generating the electricity used in computing with the VIA C7-D processor compared to other computing platforms.

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