Unless it's your day job, you REALLY do not want to do this for a modern architecture with near-GHz (or multi-GHz) signals running around the board. Once you do your own layout you'll need to perform some very exotic tuning of the RAM controller setup to adjust the drive level on every address and data pin to account for different trace lengths and parasitic capacitances. The equipment to do this is expensive and the technique is scarily detailed.
Not an easy job, Grab a motherboard out of an EEE-PC, would be a simpler approach.
Some people are already using these, as spare parts become available. Saw some recent pictures, can't find them now of course, but I figured it was an easy, off the shelf solution for XP as these items become available.
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The only thing I see there are CAD files. What I need is schematics and a whole lot of help that comes with a developer community as I imagine I'd be needing it if I ever got to building a mobo of my own.
Is there no way to make a mobo that can run Windows XP.
The benefits of running such a system is that I can use windows compilers to make all kinds of programs. I don't have to write any drivers e.g. display drivers specific to some LCD. Instead the all drivers would come from the chip manufacturer and it would already work with a whole lot of LCDs out there.
I imagine creating something like VIA EPIA PX-Series Pico-ITX Board. Why don't these chip companies release their schematics. How can they sell chips if they keep all the info under wraps.
It can be done. Can it be done by a hobbyist? Basically not; the engineering requirements are immense. Also remember that once you design it, you still have to make it - just buying the chips in small quantities will be close to impossible, and once you've bought them you have to get them soldered down. Ever tried hand-soldering a uBGA?
At a conservative guess you're going to be spending about $1k per board in materials and assembly costs. By the way, you'll also need to write your own BIOS.
The reason x86 isn't used much in embedded applications is that it's not efficient. Similar reasons keep Windows out of embedded appliances. The arguments you just stated are also fulfilled by, say, embedded Linux.
However if you want to use an x86 platform, the fastest and cheapest method is to buy a board in the right form factor.
Think about it. For example, most video cards on the market are just copies of the reference design. Core logic vendors aren't going to give you any design help unless you sell a large quantity of their product.