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  • getting started....ATX vs ITX etc

    Hi....new to the forums but pretty experienced with PC hardware/software....i do want to (and have confidence to) build a pc for my car rather than purchase a pre-assembled case. My biggest problem is getting started with the setup, ie. motherboard, processor, and power supply....below is my existing list of components (installed in one of my lesser-used PCs)

    WD100 gig HD 7200
    nvidia geforce4 TI 4400
    soundblaster audigy (not 2)

    (from searching the forums....it looks like ITX basically refers to a laptop configuration, and ATX to a desktop, which would let me use the above hardware)

    and possible components to purchase:
    slot-loading DVD player (for in-dash interface)
    active-USB 2-port hub (in-dash)
    ...i'll figure out the screens when i get to it

    a series of questions follow...
    - ATX vs. ITX (am i right with desktop/laptop assumption?) inc. power requirements...
    - what is EPIA900, 10000, etc?? does that have to do with PCI slots, features, etc
    - what kind of mobo should i get if i intend on using pentium4?
    - how long can you run IDE cable (trunk to dash??) without losing data

    sorry for the long post, any help is greatly appreciated!
    '03 Acura TL PC FINISHED!!
    MP3CAR

  • #2
    Originally posted by FiSKARZ
    - ATX vs. ITX (am i right with desktop/laptop assumption?) inc. power requirements...
    - what is EPIA900, 10000, etc?? does that have to do with PCI slots, features, etc
    Mini-ITX.com has info on the Mini-ITX form factor...it has nothing to do with laptops, it is just a smaller architecture made by Via. The Epia M10000 is generally regarded to be the best for use in a car computer, although there are some new ones coming out...these boards have onboard unswappable ultra-low power use processors, the speed of which is indicated by the number (10000=1ghz)

    As far as power, an ITX has something like 10-20 times less power used/heat generated than P4..Don't quote me, but I think the watts on a P4 is up around 75-100, and on an Epia it is single digits.

    - what kind of mobo should i get if i intend on using pentium4?
    Whatever Micro ATX has the amount of AGP and PCI slots that you want is probably a good bet if you're set on P4
    - how long can you run IDE cable (trunk to dash??) without losing data
    Not far enough. You will lose data starting at about 24"...supposedly someone made a 5' IDE cable but I'll believe it when I see it. My advice is don't be ghetto, use something that is meant for longer-distances like USB2 or Firewire.
    MP3 MR2 (click here for details)
    Hardware: EPIA M10000, 512Meg Ram, 5.6"TFT, Opus 150watt DC-DC PSU
    Software: Windows 2000, Media Engine 2.0

    Comment


    • #3
      thanks for the info

      Originally posted by telekineticfool
      Mini-ITX.com has info on the Mini-ITX form factor...it has nothing to do with laptops, it is just a smaller architecture made by Via. The Epia M10000 is generally regarded to be the best for use in a car computer, although there are some new ones coming out...these boards have onboard unswappable ultra-low power use processors, the speed of which is indicated by the number (10000=1ghz).
      so i would be stuck with an onboard processor (maximum 1ghz?) if i were to get any EPIA board?

      Originally posted by telekineticfool
      Whatever Micro ATX has the amount of AGP and PCI slots that you want is probably a good bet if you're set on P4
      I was browsing through OPUS and saw the "ATX Vehicle Workstation" which seems to include a case and power supply (150w)....two questions about that setup.....will 150W be enough power to accomodate a P4 processor, 1 DVD/RW drive, 7200rpm HDD, audigy, geforce4, and say, a couple of USBs.....and also, do the PCI slots line up on every board in the same way (so the cards would fit the openings on the case)

      and finally....if i go the route of a USB DVD/RW drive for my dash, am i limited to only external drives, or is there some sort of IDE to USB convertor i could get?? thanks !
      '03 Acura TL PC FINISHED!!
      MP3CAR

      Comment


      • #4
        there certainly are such converters. How much space do you have in your car? battery power? heat disipation? all reasons to consider the ITX
        car computer rev 5: 8" lilliput and usual suspects

        Comment


        • #5
          besides, what doyou need more than 1 ghz for? Is there some new super virtual porn nobody told me about?
          car computer rev 5: 8" lilliput and usual suspects

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by robiewp
            besides, what doyou need more than 1 ghz for? Is there some new super virtual porn nobody told me about?
            Well, why would anybody need a DVD-R/RW and a Geforce 4400 in the car. Overkill is never good

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FiSKARZ
              and finally....if i go the route of a USB DVD/RW drive for my dash, am i limited to only external drives, or is there some sort of IDE to USB convertor i could get?? thanks !
              Yes, there are external shell casings you can get that will allow you to convert an internal hard drive/rom drive to an external drive connect by firewire, usb, and usb 2.0. I've seen them around for $25. But they require their own DC power supply, so that's something else you're going to have to factor into your total power usage, shouldn't be that high though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FiSKARZ
                ATX vs. ITX
                Good question.

                Best thing to ask is: Do you need/want the small form factor which ITX allows, such as the ability to mount the PC under a seat or in the glovebox?

                On the other hand, do you plan/prefer to use a normal ATX mid-tower case (or even slightly smaller micro-ATX, mini-tower and/or slimline case) located in your trunk?

                Of course, while there are a hanfull of other related issues/concerns (cable lengths, inverters, etc) which will affect your decision, I would start with car PC location (and size requirements) and go from there.
                2008 Subaru Impreza WRX-STI
                Pioneer AVIC-D3 <-- poooor comparison to StreetDeck!!!

                2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder
                Stock... for now

                SOLD - 04 WRX - In-Dash Touchscreen, MacMini, StreetDeck ver 1

                Comment


                • #9
                  OK....after a little more research and some helpful answers, I plan to use the
                  OPUS ATX Vehicle Workstation, 150W dc-dc (PSU, case, and fan). I found a convertor that lets me run a laptop optical drive (mounted in-dash) to the PC via USB 2.0 or Firewire...runs $80 but i can save space in my dash by using laptop drive VS desktop IDE...
                  http://www.bixnet.com/usenforslcdd.html

                  ALMOST A GHOST: a laptop combo drive runs about $40 more than a standard DVD....and the GeForce 4400 i already have.....also not to sound cocky, but i have a hefty amount of money to spend on purchases and installation. I would like good components in the PC itself, rather than selling and buying new hardware when the software catches up. At the same time i'm not investing my money on advanced VGA touchscreens....as my only realistic option is to install 2 7" TFT LCDs in my sunvisors (VGA in the sunvisors would be great, but seems to me that they dont exist)

                  ROBIEWP: (trunk) space is no concern, according to the dimensions at opus, even factoring in a few extra inches on all sides for running wires, etc. as far as battery is concerned, are you saying i will have trouble running this system with the car on (im not to swift with the electronics). I don't plan on using the PC with the car off...also, I plan to install windowsXP with all the bells and whistles, uninstalling/disabling networking services at boot-up

                  BLUEF: i plan (so far) to use the case provided with the opus ATX workstation (DC-DC 150w), in the trunk obviously. The case measures 13" x 15.5" x 5.6"...and according to the site, this case can accomodate a full atx board. Assuming i go the P4 route (which eats up ~75w i think) would i be able to power a basic setup, 512mb ram, 7200RPM hdd, geforce 4, SB audigy, and a few USBs (an optical drive would be used as well, but the laptop drive as well as the convertor bay would be separately powered). Also, regarding that optical drive, it has a separate 5v power jack on the back of the unit...how would i get regulated power to that from the car? or would it be easier to somehow power it from the PC itself?

                  thank you to everyone for your help so far
                  '03 Acura TL PC FINISHED!!
                  MP3CAR

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FiSKARZ
                    ROBIEWP: (trunk) space is no concern, according to the dimensions at opus, even factoring in a few extra inches on all sides for running wires, etc. as far as battery is concerned, are you saying i will have trouble running this system with the car on (im not to swift with the electronics). I don't plan on using the PC with the car off...also, I plan to install windowsXP with all the bells and whistles, uninstalling/disabling networking services at boot-up
                    I was just pointing out that full blown ATX systems generally require much more juice. I don't think you'll have problems if you only use it when the engine is running.

                    Unless there's space you can't use for anything else (say, the center of your spare tire), it's always nice for things to be smaller.

                    As for the adapter that will allow you to connect an internal laptop CD drive to USB2 externally, such things can be found on ebay for under $25, and as low as $15. They aren't both firewire and usb at that price, but why would you need both for a semi-perm install?

                    Originally posted by Almost a Ghost
                    Well, why would anybody need a DVD-R/RW and a Geforce 4400 in the car. Overkill is never good
                    maybe this new super porn nobody told me about can be personalized and requires DVD-R to move the settings from computer to computer, and is so graphic intensive you need a Gefoce 4400.

                    I personally would use a DVD-R for transfering music and DVD images, in the absence of my external firewire drive. I use the car comp so much I find myself wanting things off it, not to put on it. There's nothing like somebody saying, "damn, i wish we had such and such movie to watch" and being able to go out to your car and bring in a disk in 15 minutes
                    car computer rev 5: 8" lilliput and usual suspects

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Geez, I thought this was a transmission fight.

                      ATX or MTX? lol
                      2000 Ford Focus ZTS

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FiSKARZ
                        Assuming i go the P4 route (which eats up ~75w i think) would i be able to power a basic setup...
                        This sounds good to me.

                        In looking at the Opus specs, I see that their ATX case is running a custom 150w DC-DC PSU. This should be sufficient for a most modest P4 systems. Really, the lower the CPU speed (say, around a 1.6Ghz) the better here... although it sounds as if you've got this aspect figured out, "eats us ~75w". From what I can recall, 40w was required for the early P4s, where as the the recent 3.0Ghz (533Mhz) chips can draw ~81w.


                        Originally posted by FiSKARZ
                        laptop drive as well as the convertor bay would be separately powered.
                        I like your idea for a laptop drive (removable) to move files from the home PC to the car PC. Sounds handy, in lue of a wireless network.

                        If you're running these drives externally from the PC case (and it's DC-DC PSU), I'm not sure what sort of inverter (or if an inverter) _is_) the best way to power the laptop and optical drives. Seems like you could get away with 75-100w on this. *However, this is only a mildy educated guess. Hopefully, someone else with more experience can confirm this. I can point out that OPUS claims inverters are hard on the car and sensative electronics. Not sure if this is a sales oriented statement or not. Sounds as tho a bit more research and caution are warranted. : )


                        Originally posted by FiSKARZ
                        optical drive... has a separate 5v power jack on the back of the unit...how would i get regulated power to that from the car? or would it be easier to somehow power it from the PC itself?
                        Too bad both the laptop drive (in a USB external enclosure, correct?) and the optical drive (using a similar, laptop internal to IDE/USB converter) most likely won't be able to draw (enough) power from USB. That would certainly be handy.

                        Cheers,
                        Blue
                        2008 Subaru Impreza WRX-STI
                        Pioneer AVIC-D3 <-- poooor comparison to StreetDeck!!!

                        2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder
                        Stock... for now

                        SOLD - 04 WRX - In-Dash Touchscreen, MacMini, StreetDeck ver 1

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by robiewp
                          As for the adapter that will allow you to connect an internal laptop CD drive to USB2 externally, such things can be found on ebay for under $25, and as low as $15. They aren't both firewire and usb at that price, but why would you need both for a semi-perm install?
                          Good call with that, and also something I forgot to ask. The one I mentioned was the only kind I saw so far. To save the money (and since USB 2.0 actually transmits higher bandwidth than firewire) I would opt for your device. Any good links.....I dont need the enclosure either since this will be mounted into a dash kit. Also, a big problem is supplying power to the device. Another adaptor I was checking-- http://www.bixnet.com/notslimcdtod.html uses standard power run from the PC bus, however I would have to work with 10-15 feet of IDE cable to connect it. I've read successful posts regarding running LONG IDE cable to the dash. Any other suggestions for a laptop to desktop optical drive converter that would be easy to power??

                          Originally posted by robiewp
                          maybe this new super porn nobody told me about can be personalized and requires DVD-R to move the settings from computer to computer, and is so graphic intensive you need a Gefoce 4400.

                          I personally would use a DVD-R for transfering music and DVD images, in the absence of my external firewire drive. I use the car comp so much I find myself wanting things off it, not to put on it. There's nothing like somebody saying, "damn, i wish we had such and such movie to watch" and being able to go out to your car and bring in a disk in 15 minutes
                          Well to address the "super porn", the GeForce 4400 is currently the oldest graphics card that I own, and it is not being used. I can buy a cheaper one and put it in the unused desktop to make it functional, moving the 4400 to the car. That would obviously be cheaper than selling my used 4400 and getting an inferior card that you might find more appropriate in a carPC. To be more precise as to my DVD/CD-RW combo drive, its main use will be to load DVDs i dont have on HDD. Also note that this isnt a DVD burner (you mention DVD-R), the drive would be a combo drive, playing DVDs and burning CDs (CD-R/RW). On my desktop PC, I have a 120GB filled to the brim with divx movies/tv shows/emulation/music/backup apps.....and basically all the stuff ive saved over the years...I do not need to actually MOVE data back and forth, except for the one time installation...ill prbabably take the 120GB desktop and temporarilly wire it as an IDE slave in the carPC.

                          Originally posted by BlueF
                          From what I can recall, 40w was required for the early P4s, where as the the recent 3.0Ghz (533Mhz) chips can draw ~81w.
                          Are you talking about the early 1st-gen P4s that use RD-RAM exclusively? One of my desktops has this processor, and RD-RAM is quite expensive. Any good compromise between a newer generation P4 with lower power demands, maybe around 55-70w? (or even a good resource i can look for info, besides stores like newegg and stuff). A 3.0GHZ only uses ~81w? thought it would be more. Seems like something in the early "2s" would be more cost and power effective, while retaining a relatively "luxurious" speed for a carPC. On a side note and off-topic thought, I could probably get away with 256 ram since I will be loading bare-minimum programs and services at startup. I don't plan to do any hardcore multi-tasking between Photoshop and MS office in the car...hehe

                          Originally posted by BlueF
                          If you're running these drives externally from the PC case (and it's DC-DC PSU), I'm not sure what sort of inverter (or if an inverter) _is_) the best way to power the laptop and optical drives. Seems like you could get away with 75-100w on this.
                          Now we can be talking about a lousy radioshack invertor that plugs into cig lighter....i could clip the cable and hardwire that setup.....Or are you referring to a specific inverter? Theres no way i can run/convert standard 5-pin power supply to that? As I said above i will start my hunt for a USB bridge more like what ROBIEWP mentioned, perhaps with different power connection options. If not, what about this: http://www.bixnet.com/notslimcdtod.html and then i just run a long IDE cable to board. Obviously, I'd much rather run USB through the car though.

                          AGAIN, sorry for posting a short novel. With all the help from this boards, and posts to this thread, I'm getting closer to working out the final kinks of this setup, and will (hopefully) start ordering parts real soon! thanks again in advance
                          '03 Acura TL PC FINISHED!!
                          MP3CAR

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            AHA! Found something else that might be helpful if I use the LAPTOP->IDE convertor. This seems to solve the problem of running the IDE cable through the car, while still allowing the laptop drive to be powered via an (extended) 5-PIN power supply cable:

                            http://store.yahoo.com/meritline/nemeusb20hit.html

                            Again, the link to the proposed convertor to connect a Laptop slim drive to desktop IDE

                            http://www.bixnet.com/notslimcdtod.html

                            ....think that would work?? anything i'm overlooking?
                            '03 Acura TL PC FINISHED!!
                            MP3CAR

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, i just bought an Epia M mini-itx (7"x7"). I'm ripping out the TL head unit and putting it behind the screen. It's about the same size as any aftermarket headunit so it should fit. I'm going to try to stuff the LCD, motherboard, dvd, opus power supply, hard drive, and a controller where the headunit in the TL goes. Fabrication will begin this weekend. Should be a fun project

                              What did you decide on for a screen?

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