VIA EPIA ARTiGOWe had a bit of a surprise the other day when we read some recently released PR on VIA’s new ARTiGO Builder Kit. It said that Logic Supply will have the ARTiGOs available for purchase on December 14, 2007. We thought, “But that’s impossible!” We haven’t even seen a real ARTiGO; it was only sort of mentioned in a fleeting e-mail. Did it even exist? Where did it come from? Oh, it was inspired by Pico-ITX? Could someone from VIA have told us before making us appear like we should have known all along?

Honestly, we are very appreciative that VIA specified us as one of its main vendors. But, we would have loved to have been a little more prepared. Nothing is worse than getting a call from a customer and having to say, “ARTiGO-what?”

So, here’s the lowdown. The VIA ARTiGO is a builder kit for the EPIA PX10000G Pico-ITX mainboard. It comes with a chassis, a board, a 60W power supply, and some cables. VIA has a dedicated Web page for the ARTiGO that is very exciting; just click here for some excitement. From all the PR I have seen, the ARTiGO is being aimed at the do-it-yourself enthusiasts out there who have been itching to get their hands on a Pico-ITX board and put it to good use. The chassis is super slim and low-profile, but it has a greater depth than the X07P1 Pico-ITX enclosure. The power supply is a custom 60W DC-DC board. You can download the specifications here: PWB-N550 Easy Guide.

The system has front access to 4 USB 2.0, but if you want to use a keyboard and mouse, you will have to take up 2 of those USB ports; the ARTiGO does not offer direct PS2 (mouse/keyboard) output. It does have 2 audio jacks, line-out and mic-in; VGA; LAN; and a power button. The mainboard heat sink is slightly modified from the original PX10000G; the CPU fan blows across and out the side ventilation holes.

It has holes for mounting brackets, but they are not included (as far as I can tell) and I can’t find them in the accessories section, either. Also, the chassis has mounting holes so the whole system can be installed inside of a 5.25″ HDD bay of another computer. Which, of course is counterintuitive. One would think that the main reason a person would buy the ARTiGO is because it is a super-small computer—not to create a super-mega double computer. But, I could be wrong, the ARTiGO could be exactly what the super-mega-double-computer enthusiasts have been waiting for.

Oh, and apparently, some of the cables might be optional, too (e.g., DVI & COM), depending on the skill level of the end user.

The ARTiGO is a very low-power, energy-efficient platform that barely takes up space on your desk, wall, etc. This is very promising. And, did I mention that this system is incredibly economical? Well, it is. The ARTiGO has a sales price of $279.00. The only components you need will be an HDD, memory, OS, and if you want, the wireless module.

If you have any questions regarding the ARTiGO, please contact one of our technical sales associates at 802 861 2300, option 1. I promise we will know what you’re talking about.

Note: Despite what is being advertised, the ARTiGO will not be available from VIA until the end of Decmeber 2007. We plan to have these in by the first week of January; we’ll keep you posted.

Update 1/22/2008: The first batch of ARTiGOs have arrived! For those of you who didn’t get your ARTiGO this time around, the next batch will be in-house early to mid February.

Update 2/26/2008: We are still waiting for another batch of ARTiGOs to come in. We are expecting 2 shipments, one in the next week that should fulfill most of our backorders and one in early April that will go into stock.