Mini-ITX: You put a computer WHERE??!
With the constant trend of the computer world to achieve smaller, faster and more efficient, the Mini-ITX motherboard form factor is at the forefront of the movement, with support for onboard video, dual CPU's and other essential accouterments of modern computing. At the crest of the mini- and nano-ITX-board wave, Apple made a splash with its Mac Mini. Although a proprietary Apple board instead of Intel-standard form compliance, Apple has gained exposure for the movement overall.
Mini-ITX standard size is a mere 17x17cm, about the size of a paperback book, allowing the computer modding community the opportunity to put desktop computing nearly anywhere. A Mini-ITX board can serve as the heart of a digital home theater system or allow that same system to be put in a car, occupying the same space that the stock stereo previously held. Car restoration and modification companies such as Classic Restorations are already offering these modifications as part of their services and have been surprised at the outpouring of support and interest from consumers.
Websites dedicated to the Mini- and Nano-ITX form factor abound on the Web, such as Mini-ITX.com, providing a community forum for those involved in the design, development and implementation of this supremely versatile platform.
As the hardware industry nears the theoretical wall of speed increases, unable to progress due to the physical limits of the silicon foundation, the question becomes less of "how fast can we make it" and more "now that it's fast, what do we really do with it?" Processing hardware is now easily fast enough in even low-end systems to run nearly any program for any reason, and the industry is slowing down as people realize that more speed doesn't equal more usefulness. The Mini- and Nano-ITX forms and others to follow begin to address the dreams of science-fiction, putting computers in places that can add functionality, rather than a bloated box crammed full of hi-tech hardware used to check your email. :D [Britt Godwin]