VIA has officially unveiled its Surfbard C855 reference design based on its C7-M ULV CPU and the recently announced VX855 IGP chipset. This new platform is aimed at small 10 to 12-inch mini-notebooks.
According to VIA, the new platform can play back high bit-rate 1080p HD video thanks to the integrated VIA Chrome9 HCM IGP. It also comes with VIA's Vinyl Audio for 8-channel HD audio reproduction. The CPU is clocked at 1.6GHz and operates on an 800MHz FSB. It should be enough for small 10 to 12-inch netbooks. The platform also features one SO-DIMM socket with support for up to 2GB of DDR2 667/800 memory.
The rest of the specifications for the reference platform include 802.11b/g Wi-Fi (VIA VT6656), 10/100 Ethernet (VIA Rhine VT6107), a built in card reader, support for a 0.3 Megapixel USB web cams, two USB 2.0 ports and the option to use an onboard USB hub if more external ports are needed. Bluetooth, GPS and 3G connectivity can be also be added via third party add-ons using the two Mini Card slots, although VIA has only used the USB part of the Mini Card interface, meaning that PCI Express devices are not compatible.
Furthermore it has support for either a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive or 1.8-inch PATA hard drive, in the latter case via a ZIF connector through a ribbon cable. There's also D-sub output for connecting to an external display with support for resolutions of up to 1,920x1,440, however, the internal LVDS interface which is used with the notebook display is limited to 1,366x768 pixels. Although the platform seems to have some advantages over Intel's current Atom platform with the 945GSE chipset, the CPU is the weak point, but hopefully we'll see final mini-notebooks based on this platform using the VIA Nano CPU rather than the old C7-M.
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