ARTiGO Pico ATX Setup

A while back my dad got a nice LCD television for Christmas and immediately wanted a way to view pictures, play music, and surf the web from the couch. Of course The TV is mounted on the wall and he didn't want any wires showing or a loud screaming computer sitting around. Enter the ARTiGO A1000 builder kit.

ARTiGO A1000 in the palm of my hand.

Since dad wanted a full functional computer connected to his TV but still needed it hidden, it was off to search for a viable solution. After looking at all the new small form factor designs, I finally found the the Pico-ITX was actually small enough to fit behind an LCD with a standard wall mount.

EPIA Pico-ATX Motherboard

I was surprised when I opened the box. The A1000 builder kit from VIA comes with everything you need besides your storage device and RAM. However, the distributor I bought my kit from included 1GB of RAM. That was a plus. The main board was tiny, who would have thought you could squeeze everything onto such a small board. If you look at the top you can see the one small heat-sink fan and a bunch of pins where you connect all the components.

Bottom of Motherboard.

The bottom of the main board is where you throw in the single SODIMM module. I do wish it would support a little more than 1GB of ram, but hey I'm not complaining at this size.

Small Enclosure

The little enclosure that came with the kit is fairly pleasing to the eye. It has some basic connections for USB and simple audio. The motherboard has a VGA and network connection built on and it also supports DVI and multi channel audio though the case doesn't have quite that much room.

20GB 2.5" IDE Hard Drive

I had a spare 20GB 2.5" IDE hard drive I decided to use with the enclosure. The drive sits just under the main-board in the enclosure and connects with a little riser that came in the kit. Even though I used an IDE, the board does support SATA too.

All components installed.

All the components fit snugly in the 5.9"x4.3"x1.8" enclosure and is about the same length as my screwdriver. I do like the fact it has the ability to run directly off DC power, just in case I need to use one as a carPC. In the picture above you can see the mainboard with all the case connections made and the DC power supply to the right.

Everything in the kit.

Overall the kit is a really good deal. It fits behind the LCD TV and connects via VGA and simple audio. I loaded Windows XP off a USB drive and the system seems to run smoothly. It does struggle with some of the higher definition video formats and can stutter audio in certain situations. I was lucky enough to have run a network connection when the TV was mounted, so there wasn't a need for trying to wirelessly connect it. But, you could easily use a USB wireless adapter or VIA does sell a wireless kit to plug right on to the motherboard. One other thing I wish VIA included was on-board bluetooth support. I like using bluetooth keyboards with my media computers and had to stick with using a USB adapter for that. Also, as far as noise goes, the system isn't too loud. The loudest part is the old hard drive I used, had I opted for a solid state type storage device, it would probably be quite silent.

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