Have you ever wanted an audio codec decoder?

Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2012 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: VIA, Realtec, decoder, codec, C-Media, audio, Analog Devices

There are a wide range of audio coder/decoders on the market, from a variety of vendors providing codecs for both onboard audio as well as for discrete cards which can prove confusing to even veteran PC builders.  With Analog Devices, Realtec, C-Media, VIA and several other smaller vendors providing a wide range of codecs and controllers you can easily be lost in the alphabet soup of model names.  Perhaps you wish there was a handy reference that would give you a list of the basic capabilities of these codecs, like the Channels available, input and output resolution, the maximum sampling rates and the signal to noise ratio?  Hardware Secrets has heard your plea and assembled a list of the more common codecs on the market today which you can refer to here.

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"Audio codec is a small chip measuring 0.25 sq. in. (7 mm2) located on the motherboard in charge of the analog audio functions. Knowing the specs of a codec will permit you to compare the audio quality of different motherboards, allowing you to choose the right product for your needs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

VIA Announces World's First Quad Core Mini-ITX Boards

Subject: Systems | February 23, 2012 - 12:26 PM |
Tagged: VIA, EPIA-M900, EPIA-M910, quadcore

Taipei, Taiwan--February 23, 2012 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announcedthe world's first quad core Mini-ITX boards featuring the latest VIA QuadCore E-Series processor. The VIA EPIA-M900 and VIA EPIA-M910 are the first two Mini-ITX boards to feature the 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E-Series processor, offering enhanced multi-tasking and superb multimedia performance on the lowest quad core power budget for next generation embedded products.

The VIA QuadCore E-Series processor features a highly optimized, energy efficient multi-core architecture, which is natively 64-bit compatible and comes with a host of additional performance features including Adaptive Overclocking. To meet the low power demands of the embedded market, the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor offers industry-leading energy efficiency, with the VIA QuadCore E-Series 1.2+ GHz processor delivering a thermal design power (TDP) of only 27.5W. The distributed power of the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor makes it ideal for handling the most demanding HD video formats for immersive multi-display applications and environments.

"The VIA QuadCore E-Series processor delivers world class performance in the industry's leading power efficient package,"said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The high performance of the VIA QuadCore E-Series processor makes it the perfect platform for the creation of next generation digital signage displays and embedded projects."

VIA EPIA-M900VIA EPIA-M900
Measuring 17cm x 17cm the VIA EPIA-M900 Mini-ITX board features the choice of a 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E-Series processor or a 1.6GHz dual core VIA Nano X2 E-Series processor.Paired with the VIA VX900 MSP, supporting up to 8GB of DDR3 system memory and featuring the VIA ChromotionHD 2.0 video processor, the VIA EPIA-M900 enables the creation of a wealth of innovative next generation digital signage, POS, Kiosk, ATM, home automation, healthcare and media client system design applications.

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Just click to grow!

Rear panel I/O includes a Gigabit LAN port, HDMI port, VGA port, four USB 2.0 ports, one COM port and three audio jacks. An onboard PCIe x16 slot (with effective speed up to PCIe x8) and one PCI slot is accompanied with pin headers providing one dual channel 24-bit LVDS support (including backlight control), an additional three COM ports, a further four USB 2.0 ports and one USB device port, LPC support, 2 Digital I/O, SPDIF out and an SMBus header.

For more information about the VIA EPIA-M900 Mini-ITX board, please visit: http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/boards/productDetail.jsp?productLine=1&id=1550&tabs=1

VIA EPIA-M910VIA EPIA-M910
Paired with the VIA VX900 MSP, the VIA EPIA-M910 is available with a wide choice of VIA x86 processors, including the latest 1.2GHz VIA QuadCore E-Series processor, a 1.6GHz VIA Nano X2 dual core processor or a fanless 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 dual core processor. Featuring one of the richest I/O sets available, the VIA EPIA-M910 is ideal for a wide range of embedded applications including ATM, kiosks, POS, digital signage, healthcare and digital media applications.

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Embiggen with a click

Rear panel I/O includes dual Gigabit LAN ports, PS/2 support, one HDMI port, a VGA port, two RS-232 5v/12v selectable COM ports, four USB 2.0 ports and audio jacks. On board pin headers provide 2 x 24-bit LVDS support (including backlight control), two SATA ports, an additional six COM ports, a further four USB ports, Digital I/O, and a PCIe x4 slot. The VIA EPIA-M910 is available with support for either ATX or DC-in power supplies.

For more information about the VIA EPIA-M910 Mini-ITX board, please visit: http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/boards/productDetail.jsp?productLine=1&id=1810&tabs=1

For more information about VIA QuadCore E-Series processors, please visit: http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/processors/productDetail.jsp?productLine=5&id=1830&tabs=1

VIA teams with Tensilica to roll their own SSD controller

Subject: Storage | February 16, 2012 - 09:51 PM |
Tagged: Xtensa, VIA, Tensilica, ssd, DPU, controller

VIA has always been known for the 'slow and steady' approach to computing. They might not have the quickest stuff around, but they certainly tend to have the lowest power draw. While we haven't seen many releases from VIA as of late, they appear to be gearing up for a rediscovered purpose for their mantra - Solid State Storage.

VIA has brought on a company called Tensilica, who make a System on a Chip (SoC) architecture that has been purpose built for moving data around. The system, dubbed the Xtensa dataplane processor (DPU), has some particular math strengths that would be very beneficial if applied to the realm of an SSD controller. For example, the DPU is capable of performing multiple simultaneous table lookups within a single clock cycle. This is handy for increasing the IOPS rating of an SSD, since wear leveling and write amplification are handled by remapping the LBA's (sectors) to flash memory space. Each IO results in a necessary table lookup, which the DPU can perform very quickly.

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With the DPU being so efficient at these tasks, it could be run at lower clock speeds and outmaneuver competing SSD controllers - all while consuming less power. We're going to be watching VIA closely in the coming months on this one for sure.
Source: X-bit labs

S3 Chrome lives on the 600 Series using VIA's soon to be released VT3456

Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2012 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: s3, Chrome 600, VIA, VT3456, VX11

The Phoronix Test Suite is a wonderful source of unintentionally released test data, as system engineers working with processors not yet available on the market use it to test and sometimes accidentally post the results to OpenBenchmark.org.  For instance Phoronix noticed a Chrome 600 system, powered by a VIA Nano 1.2GHz Quad-Core processor, a motherboard called a VIA VT3456 VT8611BMB and S3 Chrome 600 graphics. It may have been a long time since you heard of S3 producing hardware but there is confirmation that they are still alive and have at least some customers.

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"The S3 Chrome 600 series / VIA VT3456 (VX11) still hasn't been officially announced, but here are some benchmarks of the forthcoming chipset from a VIA Nano quad-core system."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Phoronix

VIA Labs USB 3.0 Active Optical Cable Solution Demonstrated at CES 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2012 - 11:37 AM |
Tagged: CES, VIA, usb 3.0, thunderbolt

VIA Labs have teamed up with Fiber Optic Communications Inc., PCL Technologies Inc., OpTarget Solutions Co., Ltd. and Universal Microelectronics Co,. Ltd. to create a transceiver for use with USB 3.0 Active Optical Cables.   This USB 3.0 AOC seems to be what LightPeak, aka Thunderbolt was originally supposed to be.  Thunderbolt did arrive, it showed up quite a bit at CES 2012, but as a copper interconnect as opposed to the multiple wavelength fibre optics we were originally promised.  If the 5 gigabit portion of the name is truly indicative of transfer speeds then this type of USB connection will run about 7 times faster than the Thunderbolt devices that were shown at CES.  As well, the cables can be run for over 100 metres, so you might just be able to wire your house for USB after all. 

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Taipei, Taiwan, January 13, 2012 - VIA Labs, Inc., a leading supplier of USB 3.0 integrated chip controllers, today announced the VIA Labs VO510 5-Gigabit Optical Transceiver which is being showcased at CES 2012. The VIA Labs V0510 Optical Transceiver is used in USB 3.0 Active Optical Cables (AOC) which enables rapid data transfers and high-definition multimedia across distances of over 100 meters. Developed in collaboration with FOCI, PCL, OpTarget and UMEC, USB 3.0 AOC solutions offer exciting new possibilities in the use of USB 3.0 technology.

"This USB 3.0 AOC was designed to be fully compliant with SuperSpeed USB electrical specifications," said Dr. Janpu Hou, Vice President of FOCI. "We are very pleased to be a partner on this collaboration team. This partnership will accelerate the deployment of breakthrough USB 3.0 technologies and enable new applications for all USB 3.0 developers." As a partner of FOCI, Dr. Thomas Liu, President of PCL said "As the world leading optical transceiver ODM/CM company,PCL Technologies is excited to build and demonstrate the optical USB 3.0 cable in collaboration with VIA Labs and Foci. With the USB 3.0 AOCs providing higher data rates across much longer distances, we will enable usage scenarios in Digital Signage, Surveillance, and Zero Client applications."

"OpTarget works with leading system integrators, distributors, and OEMs in the development and delivery of Smart Digital Signage and Zero Client solutions for commercial, education, and industrial customers. With the ultra-thin profile and long reach of the new USB 3.0 AOC powered by VIA Labs' Optical Transceiver, we can now offer effective and low-cost solutions based on existing USB devices while providing an improved user experience, increased functionality, and greater system flexibility" said Mu Chen, President of OpTarget.

"The UMEC Thumb ONE USB 3.0 AOC can extend gigabit-speed USB 3.0 transmission distance up to 100m (330ft) with optical fibers. Since optical fibers carry light instead of electric impulses, they are highly resistant to electromagnetic interference and they do not radiate any of their own, making the USB 3.0 AOC an excellent solution for applications in Medical Imaging Equipment, Broadcast TV, and others where high-tolerance to interference is desirable" said K.T. Chao, Vice President of UMEC.

"We are very grateful to our partners, who worked closely with VIA Labs to bring the USB 3.0 AOC from concept to reality," said Jiin Lai, Chief Technical Officer, VIA Labs, Inc. "With the VO510 and our partner's AOC products at mass production readiness, we are looking to expand our coverage of other interconnects such as PCI Express."

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: VIA Labs

Via X86 Hardware Will Have Support for Android OS

Subject: Systems | December 15, 2011 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: x86, VIA, Nano, embedded, Android

Today low power X86 platform manufacturer Via Technologies announced Android operating system support with their embedded x86 motherboards and processors. Currently, the company is supporting Android on their EITX-3002 platform, with more options likely to come in the future. Via believes that running Android on X86 embedded systems presents the opportunity for low cost entertainment systems capable of playing back 1080p video in vehicles, planes, and kiosks.

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Including the usually Android SDKs, Via has released a new SMART ETK (Embedded Tool Kit) that allows monitoring and control of peripherals. Applications of this include controlling lights or environmental systems in your home via a touchscreen enabled embedded home control center. In the video below, Via shows off Android running on their EITX-3002 platform and using a touchscreen panel connected to it to control an external light and fan.

The EITX-3002 is a motherboard based on the Em-ITX form factor. The boards is then paired with either a 1.2 GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series or a 1.0 GHz Eden X2 dual core processor. In addition, a VIA VX900 MSP is located on the underside of the motherboard. This co-processor assists with the decoding HD video thanks to hardware acceleration. The VX900 MSP supports decoding MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1, and WMV9 codecs. The embedded platform itself is able to output to two independent displays and resolutions of 1920 x 1080. Fan-less enclosures can be used with this low power setup, and rear I/O includes HDMI, VGA, two Gigabit Ethernet, two COM ports, four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0, and audio jacks. Via will support the Windows 7, XP, Embedded Standard 2009, WES7, Debian Linux, and Android 2.2 operating systems.

There are already projects like AndroidX86 that allow users to use the Android OS on traditional PCs but not officially. This Via platform would be good for embedded systems and pairing it with Android is a good move. Especially now that many people are familiar with or have at least seen how the Android OS works, having a similar setup in vehicle and in-flight entertainment systems will make the UI all the more intuitive. Not to mention that the Android OS uses less resources than a traditional Windows installation which means power savings for end users. Whether Android will catch on or not for entertainment kiosks and car computers remains to be seen but it’s an interesting option for sure.

Source: Via

VIA Announces Android Support for Embedded x86 Boards

Subject: Systems | December 15, 2011 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: VIA, EITX, VIA EITX-3002

Taipei, Taiwan, December 15, 2011 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced Android support for VIA x86 embedded platforms, starting with support for the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board. Running Android on an x86 platform offers increased flexibility, great multimedia support and cost saving advantages for embedded applications such as in-vehicle entertainment and interactive kiosks.

Key advantages for Android on x86 include leverage of Android development resources and existing apps, rich I/O flexibility, greater CPU performance as well as higher display resolutions of up to 1920x1080. In addition VIA has released SMART ETK, an Embedded Tool Kit which allows monitoring and control of peripheral devices through the Android OS, allowing for greater environmental control of kiosk and other installed environments.

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"VIA has a long history of offering a wide range of options and customized solutions for our embedded customers," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The addition of Android OS support to our embedded x86 boards adds increased flexibility and further broadens our ability to meet their needs."

The VIA EITX-3002 is based on the unique Em-ITX form factor, and is powered by a choice of a 1.2GHz VIA Nano X2 E-Series or 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 dual core processor in combination withthe VIA VX900 MSP. Placed on the reverse side of the board, the available real estate is optimized, facilitating simple fanless chassis designs.The VIA EITX-3002 takes advantage of the VIA VX900H media system processor, a feature packed all-in-one digital media chipset that brings excellent hardware acceleration for the latest HD video formats including MPEG-2, H.264, VC-1 and WMV9. The VIA EITX-3002 can support dual independent display for superior digital signage displays.

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Designed for stability at extreme temperatures, fanless devices based on the VIA EITX-3002 can enjoy absolute stability at temperatures ranging from -10oC to 65oC. Dual I/O coastlines include an HDMI port, VGA port, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual COM ports, four USB ports, two USB 3.0 ports (optional), audio jacks and power and HDD activity LEDs.The VIA EITX-3002 supports Windows 7, XP, Windows Embedded Standard 2009 and WES7 as well as Debian Linux and Android 2.2 operating systems.

To watch a video demonstration of Android running on a VIA EITX-3002 x86 board please visit: http://youtu.be/lHEsfB-vtbM

For more information about the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board please visit: http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/embedded/ProductDetail.jsp?productLine=1&id=1570&tabs=1

VIA Launches ARTiGO A1150 PC Kit

Subject: Systems | November 22, 2011 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: DIY, VIA, ARTiGO

Packs VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video, HDMI connectivity and 64-bit computing in a palm sized chassis
Taipei, Taiwan, 22 November 2011 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the launch of the VIA ARTiGO A1150 a sub-liter dual core DIY PC kit for enthusiasts who want to taste the next generation of ultra-compact desktop computing.

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The new way to measure PC size

The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is one of the smallest full featured DIY PC kits available today, squeezing an impressive range of features that include a 1.0GHz dual core VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video support, HDMI and VGA display connectivity, Gigabit networking, Wi-Fi Support and five USB ports, all into a palm-sized PC chassis. The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is ideal for a variety of applications in the home or office, including home server, media streaming and surveillance applications or great as a regular desktop PC, using only a fraction of the physical real estate.

"VIA redefines dual core low power compact computing, bringing all the features of a regular desktop PC into a form factor that needs to be seen to be believed," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "VIA has a long history in creating leading edge form factor systems, and the VIA ARTiGO A1150 pushes the bounds for ultra-compact desktop computing."

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VIA ARTiGO A1150: Compact Computing Redefined
The mere 5.7" x 3.9" x 2" (14.6 cm x 9.9 cm x 5.2 cm) VIA ARTiGO A1150 is powered by a dual core 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 processor, offering a high performance native 64-bit computing experience while remaining within a low power thermal envelope. The VIA Eden X2 processor is joined by the VIA VX900H media system processor, a fully integrated all-in-one chipset that brings exceptional multimedia experience to small form factor devices including hardware acceleration for the latest HD video codecs including H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2/4 at screen resolutions of up to 1080p.

Front and back panel I/O includes HDMI and VGA ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, five USB ports including one USB device port, three audio jacks with optional wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n and SD card reader modules.

To watch a short introductory video about the VIA ARTiGO A1150, please go to: http://youtu.be/qkQtymQdbgg

Don’t touch my wife! VIA sues Apple for patent infringement

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 24, 2011 - 04:08 AM |
Tagged: VIA, Patent, htc, apple

Do not let the title deceive you: we probably also find Apple and Patent Infringement stories as boring as you do; this case on the other hand makes it through our tightly meshed sift and into our news feed. VIA is best known for chipsets and specialty x86 processors. VIA’s influence was recently felt through the introduction of the netbook craze as a result of their VIA Nano CPU line which lead to the rise of the Intel Atom processor line. Recently VIA decided that they would set their sights on Apple and sue them over three patents. This is one of those cases where the what is not nearly as funny as the alleged why.

Apple-logo.jpg

Did Apple take a bite out of VIA’s forbidden fruit?

(Image from Wikipedia, modified)

If it seems to you that VIA is suing Apple over seemingly no reason then you probably are correct. There does not appear to be any public reason for VIA to go after Apple. HTC on the other hand has many reasons to sue, technically counter-sue, Apple. For those wondering where HTC came from in this discussion: the chairperson for HTC is the wife of the CEO of VIA Technologies. It very much seems like the whole reason for the VIA lawsuit is to protect his wife's company in their own lawsuits. If these patent lawsuits continue on their current trajectory then we might just be forced to sit every company down and settle like we did with similar issues back in the 90’s: Springer.

Did Apple bite off more than they could chew? (Registration not required for comments)

Source: PCMag

VIA Technologies To Sell Of Its Stake in S3 Graphics

Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Mobile | July 6, 2011 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: WTI, VIA, S3 Graphics, htc

Low power x86 processor maker VIA Technologies today announced that it is selling off the entirety of its stake in S3 Graphics to popular phone manufacturer HTC. Having acquired S3 Graphics in 2001, the company planned to integrate graphics capabilities into its processors and chipsets. In 2005 S3 graphics became under capitalized and VIA brought in WTI a private investment company to fun operations and R&D initiatives. Cher Wang, the chairman of VIA is a “significant shareholder.”

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Under the agreement, all of VIA’s shares in S3 Graphics are worth $300 million. VIA will receive $147 million while WTI will receive $153 million. Of the $147 million, VIA will recognize a capital gain of $37 million and a paid-in-capital of $115 million.

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The Senior Vice President and Board Director of VIA, Tzu-mu Lin, stated that “The Transaction would allow VIA to monetize a portion of its rich IP portfolio, yet retain its graphics capabilities to support the development and sale of its processors and chipsets.” The transaction is subject to approvals from the board directors of VIA, WTI, and HTC and is expected to close before the end of the year.

HTC seems to be interested in acquiring graphics IP, which begs the question whether the phone manufacturer is planning to design its own ARM S3 graphics chips for its future phones.  What do you think of the deal?

Source: VIA