VIA EPIA-P720, alot of power in a tiny package
VIA are a leading manufacturer of energy efficient computer platforms that come in small packages and the EPIA-P720 is no different. It is based on the tiny Pico-ITX form factor, meaning it is only 10cm x 7.2cm. It takes advantage of the latest VIA VX855 graphics chip, to provide flawless hardware acceleration for high definition content of resolutions up to 1080p. The VX855 IGP chipset provides hardware acceleration for H.264, VC1, WMV and MPEG 2/4 codecs, placing almost no strain on the board's fanless 1GHz VIA Eden ULV processor, leaving it free to focus on other tasks. The intergrated graphics also includes full support DirectX 9 and a 128-bit 2D engine with hardware rotation capability.
The board uses a specially designed I/O add-on-board, the VIA P720-A, to add a VGA port, Gigabit LAN port and two USB 2.0 ports to the boards onboard HDMI port. The onbord Vinyl HD audio codec provides 6 channel, DTS capable audio with S/PDIF support. Storage is taken care of by an onboard 44-pin IDE connector and one SATA port. Onboard pin headers provide support for an additional four USB 2.0 ports, an LPC connector, SMBus connector, PS/2 support, audio jacks, LVDS, 4 pairs of DIO and two UART ports.
The ability to playback high definition content often requires alot of power, which usually means it can not be run without a fan, but this is a truly passive solution that will handle just about anything you would require from such a machine. This could be paired with a single low capacity SSD, slip optical drive and a pico PSU for a tiny HTPC, what do you think? No official word on pricing yet, but it looks very promising!