Mini-ITX Systems Have Come a Long Way

Back in 2008 I built a small VIA based system for a photo frame. Just checking on recent Mini-ITX system produced some interesting results. For about the same cost as the Blue-Diamond system back in 2008 the current systems have dual core Atom n510 systems with 2GB ram and 160GB SATA HD.

M350 Case

The new systems are a lot cleaner, if slightly larger. About an inch larger in width and length and about 1/2″ higher.

M350 Case Rear

Here’s one back configuration. But the motherboard below is different.

I looked at several different sites to configure and purchase systems and based on the options and cost, Logic Supply looks like the best bet.

Here are M350 based systems.

and Here are systems based on another case that is slightly larger.

I priced systems based on the Atom n510 dual core system with 2GB memory, a 160GB 7200rpm SATA drive and case fans for cooling.

The wireless will be supplied by a USB adapter as it is with the blue-diamond.

The Jetway motherboard seems like the best choice.

Jetway NF96FL-510

This Jetway MB has quite a few interesting features:

NF96FL-510 Specifications
Processor 1.66 GHz Intel Atom D510 (dual core)
Chipset Intel ICH8M
System Memory 2 DDR2 667/800 DIMM
Up to 4 GB of memory
VGA Integrated Intel GMA 3150 Graphics
Supported Resolution 2048 x 1536 (VGA)
Expansion Slots PCI
PCI Express Mini Card
1 PCI 120-pin adapter connector for expansion daughterboards
Onboard IDE 44-pin
Onboard Serial ATA 2 SATA (3 Gb/sec.) connectors
Onboard USB 9 USB 2.0
Onboard LAN Realtek RTL8111DL PCIe 10/100/1000
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC662 5.1 channel HD codec
Back Panel I/O 5 USB 2.0 ports
1 VGA port
1 LAN port
1 eSATA port
1 RS-232 COM port
1 PS2 keyboard port
3 Audio jacks: line-out, line-in, mic-in
1 12-volt DC jack
Onboard I/O Connectors 2 SATA connectors
1 IDE slot
4 USB 2.0 via 2 pin headers
1 LVDS pin header (18-bit, dual channel)
1 LVDS inverter
1 LPT pin header
1 GPIO pin header
1 LPC pin header
1 RS-232/422/485 COM pin header
1 Front panel audio pin header
1 Front panel pin header
1 S/PDIF-out pin header
1 CD audio-in pin header
3 Fan pin headers
SATA power connector
BIOS AMI BIOS 8 Mb flash memory
System Monitoring & Management Watchdog timer, Power Management, Wake on USB, Wake on PCI, Wake on keyboard, Wake on mouse, Wake on Ring, Wake on LAN, CPU temperature monitoring, System temperature monitoring, Fan speed control
Operating Temperature 0ºC ~ 60ºC
Form Factor Mini-ITX (17 x 17 cm)
Includes Backplate
SATA power cable (1 Molex to 2 SATA and 1 Berg)
2 SATA cables
User manual
Driver CD
Jetway NF96FL-510 Large

Click for a larger view.

Proclockers has a detailed review of this board.

This looks like an awesome system for about $300 with 2GB memory, and a 160GB HD.

Since Logic Supply is willing to configure Ubuntu for $20, all the support must be built into this OS. I’m confident that this system could be installed with a USB CD-ROM like the Blue-Diamond and since Ubuntu 10.04 supports the Wireless USB Stick out of the box, I’m sure I could move that to the new system.

I’ll consider this for Christmas.

– ww