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Thread: VIA Is Still At It: They Launched A $49 ARM PC

  1. #1
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    Default VIA Is Still At It: They Launched A $49 ARM PC

    Phoronix: VIA Is Still At It: They Launched A $49 ARM PC

    While fading away to irrelevancy, VIA is still around and actually releasing new hardware. Though this isn't some new VIA x86 quad-core CPU but rather VIA Technologies is now entering the ARM and Android space. The product they announced on Tuesday is a $49 Android PC...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTEwNTU

  2. #2
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    its out of the more well-known (and more likely to have a viable open-source/Linux community around it) SoC vendor rather than VIA's WonderMedia
    Just for reference, there's mainline Linux support for VIA/WonderMedia CPU's (mach-vt8500). It's not yet complete and not yet up-to-date with the latest chips, but is there any mainline support for Broadcom chips?

  3. #3
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    Default nice

    If android can mount btrfs drives over USB and also output audio over USB, then this would be my home media player. I like the Android Music Player interface better than most linux apps, and think it'd look great on a big screen.

  4. #4
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    Default Avoid

    I usually avoid VIA.
    Their old motherboard chipsets were buggy and would crash Windows with BSOD.
    Their graphics drivers are buggy and does not work well.

    VIA is low quality.
    Their OpenBook initiative was interesting though.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbont View Post
    If android can mount btrfs drives over USB and also output audio over USB, then this would be my home media player. I like the Android Music Player interface better than most linux apps, and think it'd look great on a big screen.
    Sorry, the rpi will be superior for media. This thing can do at best 720p and via has earned crap reputation for video drivers. They are a stupud dying company and should be avoided. Look for an alwinner a10 based system. Android is ready out of the box and full linux support is full steam ahead, especially with the lim driver advancing as quickly as it is.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbont View Post
    If android can mount btrfs drives over USB and also output audio over USB, then this would be my home media player. I like the Android Music Player interface better than most linux apps, and think it'd look great on a big screen.
    For me I prefer full fledged media centers like XBMC, which linux has plenty to choose from.

    as for minimalistic media players, Am liking the style of Audience. We might probably see more in that style.

  7. #7
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    although this isn't shipping for 45USD this is something real now with fast gaining support, dramatically faster cpu and well known with very active open source gpu driver in progress.

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/56...IP_TV_set.html

  8. #8
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    the power efficiency is not really good compared to other "mini-computers containing ARM SoCs" (accoding to heise/ h-online: http://www.h-online.com/open/news/it...m-1582805.html )

    in idle state it needs according to VIA 4 W and maximum consumption 13.5 W; it's not clear if power supply losses are included in this numbers.
    Last edited by Fenrin; 05-23-2012 at 01:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    this chip is a slight improvment form their previous wm8650 chip. is just increases some clocks and goves up to a arm11 (still not cortex)
    this and its ancestors main drawbacks were graphics. it basicaly has a framebuffer unit and attached to it is a decent video decoder that should be able to handle 1080i h.264, thats fine and all, but as far as graphics operations accelerations, all we have is basicaly what would be considered a blitter with some draw functions, so it technilogicaly is something found in pc's circa 1995. its basicaly usless for any modern graphics requirments and is only really used for blitting the video decoders frames to the framebuffer and doing simple screen drawing. according to the guys trying to write open source drivers for the mainline linux kernel, the graphics accelerator closely resembles how the old microsoft windows 2d api was designed which makes sense since it was originaly designed with the intention of running windows mobile.

    so aside from having 0 graphics acceleration on any modern graphics stack, its not to bad as a proccessing unit. but. they do fab these with really old technology so they have pretty dismal power efficiancy. the via 8500(basicaly first chip in the family only reeally intended for development purposes), wm8505 (300mhz arm7), wm8650 (600mhz arm7 with usb 2.0) and now wm8710 (800mhz arm 11) are each a consumer grade chip from a respective family of chips, each of witch designed for a specific market. there is a 85xx line, a 86xx line, and now a 87xx line, you pretty much will only see tablets or set top boxes with one of the chips from each family as that is waht that particular chip is designed to do, but the others in each family are pretty much the same thing but maybe with an additional bus or missign the graphics parts in order to match the market they are in. for instance the 86xx line had several chips intended to be used as hdtv controllers. tv's nowadays have proccessors in them to for various things, they come from somewhere, well, wondermedia (via) makes some of those parts. point of sale terminals is another market i think i rememeber seeing their marketing paperwork describe. maybe your network printer could have one, basicaly they were targeting products that needed some proccessing unit, proboboly needed a graphical deisplay, and didnt require good battery uptime.

    sad part is that while they were making this chip design to fit this market, everyone else made a faster, better, more efficiant, and generaly more relavent chip while being same price point or cheaper. they are expected to come out in the near future with a wm8910, whitch will have a cortex-a9 and a 3d capable gpu, but, telechips and allwinner and rockchips and many others will of already had that out for at least a year and will of moved onto something better by then.

  10. #10
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    Default

    The sad fact is that a 2d blitter is an _improvement_ on the ARM status quo. For example the N900: it doesn't have such a thing, all copying is by the cpu.

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