Article Author :Matt Jason H Date : 28th Dec 2003 Comments :
After running these benchmarks we thought it was time to put the board through its paces, we reset the machine and ran 3D Mark '01. Due to a lack of hardware support, the 'Environment bump mapping', 'Pixel shader' and 'Advanced Pixel' tests had to be skipped. In the end we got a score of 792 3D Marks. To test the stability and consistency of the board we ran software such as defragmenters and game demos on the machine for 3 days without turning it off or resetting it before running 3D Mark a second time, the reported score was now 721 3D Marks. The fact that after all that continuous use the system only dropped 1 3D mark is very impressive; it shows that, as VIA claimed the board is very stable and well designed for extended/continuous usage, this makes the board ideal for the small server market, or just a dedicated router/firewall.
The system scored 791 3D marks after extended use
The VIA EPIA-CL 10000 showed great stability throughout our time using it, except when we really pushed it with a game that can make many a power-system sweat; UT2003. The connectivity of the board was excellent and by far its strongest feature next to the form-factor, providing plenty of the standard ports along with heaps of other, more exotic ones. The Mini-ITX form factor not only provides something a little different in size and shape, but also many other advantages such as the low noise, power consumption and heat production making it great system for an office or demanding application, a car mp3 player for example. The size and efficiency of the board also provides scope for computer modders to get creative, we've seen these board in toasters, old VCR cases, robots, even teddy bears!
More serious users will be happy not only with the extra connectors on the board but also the stability of the board in periods of extended use, this is great for systems like HTPCs, MP3 players, "smart" home use, etc as it eliminates boot time altogether. People choosing the board to use it as the centre of a multimedia product will be happy to hear about the MPEG-2 acceleration, but may be a little disappointed with the lack of a TV-Out and 5.1 sound as featured on the VIA EPIA-M series. These features however would not be missed by anyone putting the board to other uses and a PCI card could always be fitted to provide these features.
Performance of the board was disappointing when compared to an ATX system of a similar specification. However, bearing in mind this is an ITX board the performance was very impressive, its ability to handle Unreal Tournament so well was particularly interesting. This board isn't going to appeal to the power-user or hardcore overclocker, at least not as a main machine, so we can't see the performance decrease from a standard ATX PC to an ITX machine to be taken to sorely, considering the type of applications the board has been designed for.
All in all we feel that the comparatively poor performance of the board is more than made up for in its size, ease of installation, efficiency and most of all connectivity.