Author Topic: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?  (Read 3696 times)

tzinternet

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VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« on: August 28, 2007, 05:09:06 am »
This might be the wrong place to post this so please forgive me as it is my first post.  I am looking at getting the above board and wanted to see if anyone has tried it with linuxmce?  I want to make sure that it works before I purchase.  I have some sneaky suspection it might be what is in the FIIRE system.  I am trying to build a good system for around $500 bucks or less.  I already have some Hard Drives. 

For motherboard specs see:
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/mainboards/motherboards.jsp?motherboard_id=450
or system
http://e-itx.com/via-epia-ex-2677.html

totallymaxed

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2007, 10:54:18 am »
This might be the wrong place to post this so please forgive me as it is my first post.  I am looking at getting the above board and wanted to see if anyone has tried it with linuxmce?  I want to make sure that it works before I purchase.  I have some sneaky suspection it might be what is in the FIIRE system.  I am trying to build a good system for around $500 bucks or less.  I already have some Hard Drives. 

For motherboard specs see:
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/mainboards/motherboards.jsp?motherboard_id=450
or system
http://e-itx.com/via-epia-ex-2677.html

We have not tested that exact board but have tested many similar boards. But I cant see any reason why it would not be suitable if you use the Unichrome drivers from Via. But remember that Fiire have licensed the Unichrome Pro II drivers from Via and it is these drivers that enable there Via MD's to run UI2 in all its glory ;-). With the 'free' Unichrome drivers you will not currently be able to run UI2... but UI1 runs fine... and importantly the video playback performance will be excellent :-)
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 01:05:29 pm by totallymaxed »
Andy Herron,
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tzinternet

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2007, 04:08:21 pm »
FIIRE and the Unichrome II drivers...The problem I have with that is that once a company starts creating specific custom things that only belong to them they start becoming more like a Micro$oft and I start looking for something different.  I think we need to look at why the LinuxMCE product was created in the first place and really try at keeping as much stuff as public as possible while still keeping EVERYONE's budget insync.  This way the product progresses quite fast and everyone wants to use it because it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 10:08:01 pm »
FIIRE and the Unichrome II drivers...The problem I have with that is that once a company starts creating specific custom things that only belong to them they start becoming more like a Micro$oft and I start looking for something different.  I think we need to look at why the LinuxMCE product was created in the first place and really try at keeping as much stuff as public as possible while still keeping EVERYONE's budget insync.  This way the product progresses quite fast and everyone wants to use it because it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Well... as I said you can run Via hardware with the standard 'open' Unichrome (or totally open Openchrome) drivers and you get top notch Video performance using these drivers. We have the exact same Via hardware as the Fiire station but we use open Via drivers and I can honestly say that the video playback performance blows nVidia right out of the water... its just that some X features that UI2 needs like compositing etc are not supported with these drivers and therefore UI2 is not possible.

If you don't like Fiire's approach then don't use their products... its easy really ;-)
Andy Herron,
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dopey

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2007, 01:59:37 am »
Using proprietary drivers in Linux is nothing new... The Nvidia and ATI drivers are also proprietary, but everyone (almost everyone) still uses those to get 3D acceleration and compositing. VIA is no different from the rest of the Video card industry.

Personally, I prefer open source drivers, but if a closed source solution works better that's what I'm going to use. I believe that closing the source of hardware drivers is ridicules as it isn't stopping piracy (you have to purchase the hardware) and it makes it more difficult to support that hardware on newer platforms (my Adaptec SATA controller is a good example of this). Even so, I use the old saying "the best code wins" and I even apply that to closed source solutions.

Zaerc

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2007, 08:35:43 am »
So let me get this straight, these proprietary drivers that Fiire is using are not freely available at all?  At least Nvidia and ATI make theirs available for download. 
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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totallymaxed

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2007, 11:52:41 am »
So let me get this straight, these proprietary drivers that Fiire is using are not freely available at all?  At least Nvidia and ATI make theirs available for download. 

According to Fiire... they have licenced the Unichrome Pro II drivers from Via and it is those drivers that are bundled with their Fiirestation box and it is those drivers that enable the Fiirestation to work with UI2 as it needs compositing functions to do the overlay etc and these functions are not in either the Openchrome or Unichrome Pro drivers.

We use the freely available Via Unichrome Pro drivers that are mostly open but they do have some small precompiled binaries. You can download the sources for these from Via and build them yourself. The resultant Unichrome Pro drivers work great under UI1 or in terms of the video playback performance (premium video playback performance is what we are focussed on by the way)
Andy Herron,
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Zaerc

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2007, 12:23:49 pm »
Thank you for answering that.  I am definately NOT investing in hardware I can't fully use.  So I guess VIA just lost a couple of sales as far as I'm concerned, congratulations to their marketting department for this brilliant strategy. 
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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totallymaxed

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2007, 01:11:32 pm »
Thank you for answering that.  I am definately NOT investing in hardware I can't fully use.  So I guess VIA just lost a couple of sales as far as I'm concerned, congratulations to their marketting department for this brilliant strategy. 


Well if you want to use UI2 then the Fiirestation works great... the drivers are far less closed than nVidia's are in fact. We are'nt using UI2 so we use the Unichrome Pro on a number of different Via based motherboards.
Andy Herron,
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Zaerc

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2007, 03:03:50 pm »
Well if you want to use UI2 then the Fiirestation works great... the drivers are far less closed than nVidia's are in fact. We are'nt using UI2 so we use the Unichrome Pro on a number of different Via based motherboards.

I'm sory but that does not make sense to me.  As far as I understand the Unichrome Pro II drivers needed for the alpha-blended UI2 are not even available for binary download.  So how can they be less closed then nVidia's?   

Without the alpha-blended UI2 properly supported, I see little reason to buy a VIA board at all, and I'm having some very mixed feelings about what Fiire is (or rather appears to be) doing.

"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
-- Anonymous


totallymaxed

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2007, 03:58:18 pm »
Well if you want to use UI2 then the Fiirestation works great... the drivers are far less closed than nVidia's are in fact. We are'nt using UI2 so we use the Unichrome Pro on a number of different Via based motherboards.

I'm sory but that does not make sense to me.  As far as I understand the Unichrome Pro II drivers needed for the alpha-blended UI2 are not even available for binary download.  So how can they be less closed then nVidia's?   

Without the alpha-blended UI2 properly supported, I see little reason to buy a VIA board at all, and I'm having some very mixed feelings about what Fiire is (or rather appears to be) doing.



Sorry... I meant the Unichrome Pro drivers that we are using (which *currently* do not support UI2) are less closed. Show me an nVidia driver you can build yourself?

Fiire are selling a combined solution of Via based hardware and a binary driver, I can't see any problem with that... if you can't stand the thought of running a binary driver that you can only get if you buy their hardware then don't buy it.

I agree its a pity though that Via do not make their drivers open or at least provide fully functional binaries available... after all it would just make their hardware more compelling.
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
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Zaerc

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2007, 05:38:23 pm »
Sorry... I meant the Unichrome Pro drivers that we are using (which *currently* do not support UI2) are less closed. Show me an nVidia driver you can build yourself?

Fiire are selling a combined solution of Via based hardware and a binary driver, I can't see any problem with that... if you can't stand the thought of running a binary driver that you can only get if you buy their hardware then don't buy it.

I agree its a pity though that Via do not make their drivers open or at least provide fully functional binaries available... after all it would just make their hardware more compelling.

Fair enough: the nv driver included in xorg.  Now could you show me where to download the binary VIA drivers that support alpha blending for UI2?

Being locked in by a vendor is what bothers me, in the long run it gives nothing but trouble.  This is certainly an argument that will stop me from buying their hardware. 


"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
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dopey

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2007, 04:16:36 am »
Zaerc, you make a very valid point. I have no issues dealing directly with VIA as long as they are punctual with new releases. ATI and Nvidia do seem to have this down, but I haven't had to deal with VIA closed drivers before, so I wouldn't know. However, if we have to go through Fiire, which has to go through VIA, in order to get a new release then you can pretty much not do anything non-standard with X or the Kernel... like you would do as a developer... the same developers they claim to support.

We would at the very least need to have the ability to rebuild the driver against various versions of the kernel and X. Yes, both ATI and Nvidia closed drivers can do that (for those who didn't know).

Having said that, the hardware HD playback is a huge plus for this purpose and from what I understand you can not do that on either ATI or Nvidia cards without closed drivers. With this board, you can and do it with open drivers and even better then with an ATI or Nvidia card with the closed drivers. If you choose to use the closed drivers then you will also get the 3d acceleration, but with the added headache of trying to actually get the driver for the kernel/X version you are running.

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2007, 07:50:37 am »
Zaerc, you make a very valid point. I have no issues dealing directly with VIA as long as they are punctual with new releases. ATI and Nvidia do seem to have this down, but I haven't had to deal with VIA closed drivers before, so I wouldn't know. However, if we have to go through Fiire, which has to go through VIA, in order to get a new release then you can pretty much not do anything non-standard with X or the Kernel... like you would do as a developer... the same developers they claim to support.

We would at the very least need to have the ability to rebuild the driver against various versions of the kernel and X. Yes, both ATI and Nvidia closed drivers can do that (for those who didn't know).

Having said that, the hardware HD playback is a huge plus for this purpose and from what I understand you can not do that on either ATI or Nvidia cards without closed drivers. With this board, you can and do it with open drivers and even better then with an ATI or Nvidia card with the closed drivers. If you choose to use the closed drivers then you will also get the 3d acceleration, but with the added headache of trying to actually get the driver for the kernel/X version you are running.

So as ever you are free to not buy the Fiire hardware... its your choice.
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
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dopey

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Re: VIA EPIA EX15000G Mainboard anyone tried?
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2007, 08:08:17 am »
So as ever you are free to not buy the Fiire hardware... its your choice.

That was actually my point. There are pros and cons to each purchase. It's up to you what you choose to buy.

And I did buy media directors and remotes from them. I felt it was still good, well made, hardware put together in a nice package, even with this problem, but others who choose not to buy them also have valid points that I agree with.