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The littlest motherboard form factor.


VIA Technologies introduced the Pico-ITX form factor in January 2007. The first motherboard based on it, the VIA EPIA PX, became available in retail later that year. Cases for the Pico-ITX began to appear near the end of 2007, starting with the Serener GS-L08, with its heat sink top as part of its fanless design.

In 2008 VIA itself introduced the ARTiGO Pico-ITX builder kit. The kit consists of an EPIA PX motherboard and a small case with power supply and mounting hardware.

Pico-ITX Board with Card

pico-itx specs

The Pico-ITX form is 100 mm long by 72 mm wide, somewhat larger than a playing card (88 mm × 63 mm).

The board sports a VIA C7® main processor running at one gigahertz; and a VIA VX700 all-in-one system processor to handle memory, off-line storage and graphics. It also has a VT1708A chip (in back) to handle audio, and a VT6106S (in front) to handle the Ethernet port.

The board's only memory slot behind the board hold a DDR2 533-MHz SO-DIMM; the board can support up to one gigabyte of core memory. In practice, one gigabyte is the only available memory amount for that particular module.

The board has two ATA ports, one for parallel (IDE) and one for serial (SATA). In practice, custom cases for Pico-ITX boards, which use laptop disk drives, confine use to IDE as there are no serial cables small enough to fit inside.

The board provides ports for USB, audio (output, microphone, line-in), and digital video (DVI), as well as a versatile multimedia port. All these are positioned such that you can plug an add-on card into them for access to a front panel. The back panel has the Ethernet port and a native VGA port. All input peripherals and external drives must use USB, in which case it is best to plug one of the four available USB ports into USB hub.


You can find Pico-ITX motherboards, power supplies and cases on the Web. These two vendors started selling Pico-ITX products first, and I bought those parts from them.

iDOTpc International
Where smarter computers come in smaller boxes.
Logic Supply
The leader in small form factor solutions.

ARTiGOs are also available at Fry's Electronics stores and from their Web site. In practice, sometimes the kits are available in the store, and sometimes you have to order them.

The board also has traditional nine-pin serial (COM) and PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports. None of the custom cases will not use the PS/2 ports, and only the Serener uses the nine-pin serial port.

Written by Andy West on 17 February 2009.