Inside the box I found little more than the case and a power brick that serves as the whole server’s power supply. The exterior of the case is a very attractive glossy-black finished steel. The front of the case is plastic and provides numerous LED indication lights next to the power button and a USB port. Still, beyond its simple visual appeal, the exterior case provides little of interest.
However, inside the case was where the real action was: as previously mentioned, the ARTiGO A2000 runs on a custom Nano-ITX motherboard. It may not be surprising to some, but the brains of this barebones system is a measly 4.5″x 4.5″ board, which happens to easily be the smallest full-fledged motherboard I’ve ever seen. The board is dominated by a heatsink/fan and a single DDR2 SO-DIMM slot. Recalling the aim of stability, this board has been built using solid capacitors of the highest quality and is cooled by both a 40mm CPU fan and an 80mm case fan.
The ARTiGO’s motherboard seems packed with features despite its size and intended purpose. It supports 8 channel HD sound from its VIA VT1708B Vinyl integration, as well as VGA video with hardware acceleration powered by VIA Chrome9™ HC3 DirectX 9™. Additionally, there are three USB ports (1 Front, 2 Rear) and a the necessary Gigabit Ethernet port providing network-love. While not included, there is an optional wireless LAN module that could be installed.
Underneath the motherboard is a bootable Type 1 CF socket, something that is commonly found on low-powered servers but which surprised me nonetheless. The ARTiGO is capable of booting from USB, LAN, or the integrated CF socket for the purpose of freeing up all available space on the two 3.5″ hard drives for user usage. Running without any hard drives, the entire server consumes as little as 19W, though the PSU brick can provide as much as 75W. Considering the spin-up for hard drives can consume as much as 30W apiece, VIA was apparently very focused on keeping the running energy consumption as low as possible.