VIA VE-900 Mini-ITX Mainboard Review
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Where was Via when the netbook craze started? AMD came late to the game, but still profitted overall. Its a shame that Via's "OpenBook" never took off when originally announced. It would be phenomenal to see netbook competitors based off of Via's Nano X2 CPU.
During my testing of Via's VE-900, I was slightly blown back. I'm not sure I've ever seen a Via chip outperform a competitor from Intel, but the VE-900's 1.4GHz Nano X2 processor accomplishes this without breaking a sweat or needing overclocked. Paired with 8GB of RAM, I found the performance from the VE-900 to rival that of desktop systems from only a few years ago, all while using a fraction of the power.
Via's marketing the VE-900 towards the enthusiast or do-it-yourself multimedia crowd, and thats where I see it fitting in perfectly. The gaming performance isn't quite there, but I was able to watch a variety of video clips in a full 1080p without a problem -- granted that I didn't have many other applications running in the background.
At $89, there are plenty of applications that go above and beyond movie playback for this mainboard. With plenty of USB ports and a single PCI slot, there's room to add additional ethernet ports, TV tuners, and more. The VE-900 may make for a perfect base unit for a low-powered router or DVR. Alternatively, it would make for a great computer for someone that just casually checks their e-mail and browses Youtube.
The biggest issue I have with the VE-900 is the lack of a PCI-Express port. This may simply be my own pet peeve, but PCI-Express has been out for years, and yet motherboards are still manufactured with PCI slots. If the VE-900 had come with a PCI-Express slot, it would be easy to add a low-power, discrete graphics card to help with gaming performance, amongst other areas. But the lack of the PCI-Express slot definitely is not a deal killer for the unit.
Via has a fantastic enthusiast product on their hands with the VE-900. And for the Linux enthusiast, its supported out-of-the-box by Ubuntu and probably many other distributions. While you're not getting amazing performance from this unit, it is more than enough for the day-to-day computer usage, and would make for an ideal, low-power home theater PC.
Rating:9 / 10
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