Nanode redefines the meaning of small PC

The Nanode gives new meaning to small-form factor PCs.

Measuring 9.4 centimeters by 15 centimeters by 16 centimeters, the Nanode is one of the smallest fully-configured desktop computers ever made.

Designed by Hoojum Design of Gloucestershire, U.K., the Nanode is based on Via Technologies Inc.'s upcoming Nano-ITX motherboard and will start shipping during the next three months, said Richard Brown, associate vice president of marketing at Via, speaking on the sidelines of the Cebit exhibition in Hanover, Germany.

Pricing for the Nanode has not yet been determined and the final configuration could change between now and when it goes on sale. The Nanode's price will depend on the price of the Nano-ITX boards, which has not yet been set, Brown said, noting that the PCs will be sold online.

The Nano-ITX motherboard will also begin to ship during the second quarter of this year and the Nanode will be the first computer that will employ the new boards, Brown said.

The Nano-ITX motherboard was first shown publicly by Via at the Computex exhibition in Taipei last September. The boards are strikingly small, measuring 120 millimeters by 120 millimeters. That makes them substantially smaller than Via's Mini-ITX motherboard form factor, currently the smallest available PC motherboard form factor, measuring 170 millimeters by 170 millimeters.

The Nano-ITX boards run Via's C3 processor running at clock speeds of 533MHz, 800MHz, and 1GHz, Brown said. None of these processors require a cooling fan, which means that the PC can be substantially quieter than other computers based on processors requiring cooling fans.

The Nanode will be available in two versions when it goes on sale, said Ewan Wilcocks of Mini-ITX.com, noting that the specific configurations have yet to be finalized.

The first version will offer a hard-disk drive with a capacity of 20 GB to 40 GBs and include a CD-ROM drive, Wilcocks said, adding that 802.11g wireless networking may be available as an option. The second version of the Nanode is a thin-client that will not include a hard drive or a CD-ROM drive, he said.

The Nanode's case is made of aluminum and has a baked ceramic finish, said designer Angus Morrison of Hoojum Design. The Nanode will only be available in one color, white, he said.

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