Review Updated: Poor performance due to motherboard issue
Update: The VIA Nano board reviewed here was in fact a test platform based on a modified EPIA SN18000, not a retail board as stated in the article. Unfortunately, VIA has informed us that some of the reference boards provided to media showed some under-performance due to a fault in the re-working process, which can be quite tricky concerning re-soldering embedded chips. We are expecting to get a replacement board and will do the review over again as soon as possible.
Today we have the opportunity to check out VIA's latest invention, the Nano. The VIA SN board is feature-rich compared to any Atom board you may encounter. It even comes with a PCIe slot, mini PCI-slot, Compact Flash slot, SATA RAID and IDE, and such a specification sounds too good to be true.
The most annoying thing on that board is the fan, which spins at a sky-high speed, but gladly you can enable fan control inside the BIOS-screen.
The layout is quite packed as expected on a mini-ITX board, but sadly VIA failed to include a USB header in the design, so if you want to use front USB there is no way to do that. Another downside is the VGA-only connection. Meanwhile even VIA should have noticed that DVI is the way to go. Refresh-rates are also quite low, only allowing 85Hz on CRTs. This board is clearly industrially oriented because it features a COM port, which is quite useless nowadays but two LAN adapters, one Gigabit PCIe chip and a standard 10/100 PHY connected to the VT8251 Southbridge. VIA incorportated an HD audio chip, but sadly there is no digital out and only three analog connectors. Setting up a 7.1 system is not possible.
On the EPIA SN1800G board you'll find the most powerful Nano, clocked at 1.80GHz
Intel Desktop Board D201GLY2A
Celeron 220 1.20GHz
J&W Atom Board (provided by J&W Technology)
Atom N270 1.60GHz
VIA SN1800G (provided by VIA)
VIA Nano L2100 1.80GHz
A-Data 1GB PC2-6400 CL4
ITX 80W external/internal power supply
Seagate Barraczda 7200.9 80GB (provided by Seagate)
Special Thanks to Ken Wong and Andy Fok from J&W for their incredible support.