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  • Best Mini-ITX Motherboard...

    OK,

    So my first question here in the Newbie forum flopped, so let me try a different angle here...

    If you were to choose a Mini-ITX motherboard for a car computer and one of the main requirements you had was to get a motherboard that had the best quality, on-board, TV out via composite connector, which motherboard would you use? (For use with a 5.6" LCD TV display in the sunvisor)

    Krunch

  • #2
    In what way did your first question flop? I think you got the right answer.

    TV out is never going to be good quality. There isn't some magical "best quality" that is going to make it look nice. Most TV outs are similar quality.
    Old Systems retired due to new car
    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

    Comment


    • #3
      You have 5.6 LCD displays you want to use. You can go one of two ways:

      1) Get a VGA converter(USB powered, passive, or powered off an inverter)
      2) Get a mini-itx(or other) board that has built in RCA out(or a video card with RCA out)

      Ok, lets start with your intended uses for your screens. I'm assuming with such small screens(non-touch, low resolution) that you really don't intend to use them with a dedicated front end. Plus trying to read text with your sun visors down is kind of a hazard. Plus you have a resolution issue with STN vs. TFT screens(STN being the worst). You can search the FAQ board to find out the difference between the two.

      1) IMHO, the external converters just add one more thing to your system to introduce noise, or degrade video quality.

      2) If you are planning on using the screens for mp3 display, and divx/dvd you might want to look at the M10000 Nehemiah. It has good processing power(compared to the ML boards), and supports faster RAM(again compared to the ML boards). It should keep up pretty good with what I'm assuming are your plans. The M10k comes with RCA out so it does all the video conversion on board. One other, cheaper, board out is the Phylon 627FWE. It has roughtly the same specs as the M10k, but is a little cheaper(only like 12 bucks).

      Overall, with such small screens you really won't be able to get away with high resolutions(and thus high quality video playback would be worthless). So you can get away with a "medium" quality board(compared with the MII, or SP series VIA boards).

      Find a good winamp player that has good contrast, and use the windows scaling option to increase the overall size to fit your screen. You won't get the playlist editor, but you can expand the main window to show the current track pretty well, even with a composite connection.

      Comment


      • #4
        OK,

        First off Lureih, I managed to read your post before some other comments were edited out and "I agree".

        I asked a simple question, wanting a simple answer, but it seems I have to spell out the details of everything as most people who reply get confused, and try to offer alternative solutions. So once again.....

        Short question...
        What Mini-ITX motherboard offers the best output quality via the composite connector?

        Long question...
        I already have 2, 5.6" , XO brand, TFT, LCD sunvisor screens that really look slick. The aready come with a nice bracket that allows mounting into a sun visor, and using minimum depth to mount them. The problem is the only signal they accept is composite, nothing else. I really like the look of them, I've powered them up connected to my TV and look great! Problem is I want to put a computer in my car, hence to use these screens I need either a VGA to composite convertor, or, and motherboard that has composite out. I have had several video cards over the years and most of them have had TV out via composite, & S-Video. When hooking a computer up to these screens, the first thing you notice is that the desktop is blurry and not really that clear. It's hard to read text on the shortcuts, etc. Now first off, based on my experience using composite out to TV off a video card, it seems the lower resolution you go, the end quality result is a little better, hence 640 X 480 seleted on the computer seemed to produce a better overall desktop image than the 800 X 600 option. So If I could go a smaller resolution, maybe clean it up a little more, maybe even more if I matched my display settings on the computer to proportions more similar to the screen....I dunno, 320 X 480, just for an example. The image can also be cleaned up a bit more by playing with the options in windows like making fonts larger, enabling the accesability options, etc. This would also, "clean it up". But the main reason I asked the short version is, I want the motherboard, or video card, recomended by a majority of people that offers the absolute BEST video output via the composite video port. Or, I doubt it, but even if an S-Video, or a VGA to composite convertor gave a better quality image to start with. If you start with the best on the source, you'll get the best at the other end on the display. So wwhich is better? A motherboard with a composite port built in, and which motherboard offers the BEST output via the composite port, or is a VGA to composite convertor better than any on-board composite connector? If so, which convertor?

        Now, my intended system requirements....

        I have a 2002, Monte Carlo SS that is a Dale Earnhardt tribute and a show car. But it's also a daily summer driver and I have just gotten into the performance side of my project...Precision PT-61 turbo going in this Saturday and my car will run 10PSI to start and boost my 3.8 V6 to 350 horsepower. Now, with a setup like this, I want my carputer to run an OBDII scanner program where I can monitor realtime PCM data and you can even customize the program GUI to look like guages which adds to my diagnostic ability. Again, then on-screen guages can be made bigger and bolder helping the clarity of the screen. So I want to be able to use and view Windows apps and programs with these screens, also considering mapping software programs as I have an On-Star unit in my trunk that has a GPS built into it, and kits / cables are already available to interface an On-Star unit to a computer for mapping software. So I would like to see maps, again, maps are minimal colors and big and bold. While the screens are small, they will be mounted right in front of your face so, 5.6" should not be an issue. My second requirement is MP3 playback, so a good on-board audio codec is also desired, I have some good Infinity, Sony, Memphis, and Kenwood products in my audio system, so looking for quality here as well. WRT the visual of the MP3 playback, again, big and bold, I already have software, with USB receiver and an RF remote to look after this. As long as I can see the playlist, and browse songs, no more quality than that is required. Next, yes I would like to watch movies on this setup, not for driving (maybe the passeger, I'll just flip my visor up) but depending on what would give you the better picture, ie, playing straight DVD disks in the carputer, or ripping my dvds and encoding them to some other format like mpg or divo or something, if it meant that the overall system performance or screen clarity would be better. It doesn't have to look like a plasma TV, but as long as it doesn't look like garbage. Could also potentially run powerpoint shows on these screens at car shows, and turn the visors sideways so spectators could read information about my car on these screens. I would also be adding a 17" to 27" vga LCD in the trunk at a latter date for this purpose as well. Games, I could play some games too, but they would be games from a few years back that didn't require the absolute best video hardware either. monster truck madness 2, Quake 2, and other similar games.

        Now, I would keep talking but dinner is ready, so I'll let you absorb this much first.

        See why I tried to keep this simple? I had a lot of things already figured out. I am exploring the options of keeping the screens I have, because I like them, they potentially will fit good, and look good. My other option would be to sell these screens, loose money, and then have to hunt down a 5.6" or similar VGA screen and figure out how to get a VGA cable into my sunvisor and then deal with long VGA cables that also give undesirable video. Plus, this screen option would likely be more expensive, and may be unneeded based on my system requirement.

        Krunch

        Comment


        • #5
          First off, VGA is the way to go for clarity.


          Second, I don't believe that one TV-out quality is going to be substantially better than another. I don't use TVout on any of my computers and I don't intend to, Therefore, I can't answer your question.

          The flipside to this is most people who are utilizing composite video setup are doing so because it's all they've got, so having multiple devices to compare quality isn't an option.

          I really believe you're going to be extremely lucky if anyone can tell you what board has better TV out qualities than another board.

          Good luck.





          Oh, and The intimidator would have done it right with VGA screens for the PC video and relegated the composite-in screens for DVD playback, video games or whatever.
          So get a VGA-input screen in the spirit of Richard Childress, Larry McReynolds, Theresa and the black #3.
          Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
          How about the Wiki?



          Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DarquePervert
            First off, VGA is the way to go for clarity.


            Second, I don't believe that one TV-out quality is going to be substantially better than another. I don't use TVout on any of my computers and I don't intend to, Therefore, I can't answer your question.

            The flipside to this is most people who are utilizing composite video setup are doing so because it's all they've got, so having multiple devices to compare quality isn't an option.

            I really believe you're going to be extremely lucky if anyone can tell you what board has better TV out qualities than another board.

            Good luck.





            Oh, and The intimidator would have done it right with VGA screens for the PC video and relegated the composite-in screens for DVD playback, video games or whatever.
            So get a VGA-input screen in the spirit of Richard Childress, Larry McReynolds, Theresa and the black #3.
            Ok, fair enough, so let's look at that angle....what are some options for vga lcd screens that are going to fit nicely in my sunvisors (around the 5.6") and aren't going to break the bank.

            Krunch

            Comment


            • #7
              I edited my first reply because I realized I was filling up my response with worthless opinions just like everyone else.

              Anyway, you'll be hard pressed to find a VGA screen that small. 7" might be your only option.

              With that said, lets look at the option of using what you've got. You've got 5.6" LCD screens with a composite in. They will probably be running at a resolution of 320x240(maybe?). You won't be able to fit much on the screen at that resolution and with the font size you need for it to be readable. You'll have to sacrifice displayed data in order to display readable text on screen.

              You said you alread have an RF remote to control media so I'm assuming you don't need to display things like control buttons on screen, or any extra data(visualizations, album covers, etc...). You could get away with a custom skinned front end that would only show you playlist entries at a font size of your choosing. Please note that as you fiddle with the settings, you'll find your playlist can only display a small number of entries.

              GPS is going to be a problem since you more than likely won't be able to see the street names on screen no matter what you try. If your GPS software has voice prompts you probably won't have too much problem since you'll just be referencing your on-screen map to see road intersections and such.

              DVD playback should be OK since composite LCD screens are like TV's. You won't get great contrast/color, but things will be clear enough. I would stick with the DVD player option for simplicity. You'd have to rip all your DVD's and try to balance quality with HDD space.

              Now here comes the "opinion" part. You mentioned car shows. A lot of folks here(and pretty much anywhere) will tell you to save up and go all out especially when it comes to shows. You don't want to use old, left-over poor quality screens and then a huge VGA LCD in the trunk. It will make for an unbalanced look. If you are looking at displaying information to viewers outside your car, you won't get much info on a 5.6" composite screen. And you certainly don't want people walking by, straining to read what you've got on screen, and ultimately giving up and moving on.

              Here's my suggestion. You can either try to get a 7" VGA screen into your sunvisor(without the plastic frame), or you can get a couple of new sunvisor/screen combos. You can find 7", 8", or 9" sets of two for reasonable on Ebay. Of course, those would also be composite, but they'd be a bit bigger. Of course you'd have problems trying to view a larger visor while driving(and it may actually take up your entire field of view).

              Comment


              • #8
                I will explore those options, thanx for your feedback, very productive.

                Krunch

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