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Single PCI slot. What's best: audio or video card?

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  • Single PCI slot. What's best: audio or video card?

    I'm trying to understand the tradeoffs involved in constructing a carpc. It's tough to evaluate the different EPIA motherboards because there are no comparisons, only lists of features.

    anyway, one question I've got at the moment is what's the best use of the single PCI slot on these EPIA motherboards (with appropriate case and riser board to turn it sideways)? It seems like video will definately offload a lot of work and keep the framerate up on the display (a plus for my use of GPS it seems).

    On the other hand, I don't have any first hand experience with the quality of sound output from the onboad chipsets. Is a audio card a necessity? Certainly in my gaming PC at home it is. I'm not gaming on the carpc, mainly playing media files into the car's sound system.

    Any advice?

  • #2
    vid card. you can do usb audio without a hitch, which you will need. With a second VGA port you can do dual screens or have a better vid card period. Yes you can use a riser and get both if you want
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    • #3
      Originally posted by GreenMachine View Post
      I'm trying to understand the tradeoffs involved in constructing a carpc. It's tough to evaluate the different EPIA motherboards because there are no comparisons, only lists of features.
      http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=82299

      not a comparison, but a good start...

      anyway, one question I've got at the moment is what's the best use of the single PCI slot on these EPIA motherboards (with appropriate case and riser board to turn it sideways)? It seems like video will definately offload a lot of work and keep the framerate up on the display (a plus for my use of GPS it seems).
      not sure you HAVE to fill a spot just because it's there....plenty of people use the onboard video without a problem.

      I know I do, running GPS and all, no issues.

      On the other hand, I don't have any first hand experience with the quality of sound output from the onboad chipsets. Is a audio card a necessity? Certainly in my gaming PC at home it is. I'm not gaming on the carpc, mainly playing media files into the car's sound system.

      Any advice?
      onboard audio is absolutely horrid.

      Get a USB sound card or if you get a board with a PCMCIA slot go with a PCMCIA sound card.
      Jan Bennett
      FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

      Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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      • #4
        yes, loads better.
        Jan Bennett
        FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

        Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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        • #5
          yes, loads better.

          haha i've been wanting to say that.
          REBUILDING!!

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          • #6
            I put a video card in mine, and Im using a USB digital audio converter for sound.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GreenMachine View Post
              what's the best use of the single PCI slot on these EPIA motherboards (with appropriate case and riser board to turn it sideways)?
              I was fairly limited myself, with one PCI (which also because of case size a similar PCI riser) and 2 mini PCI slots available. Initially the focus was on ensuring I had an onboard Optical out to increase the sound capabilities/options and also that it had VGA out. During bench testing it became obvious that the onboard video wasn't up to snuff with notchy video while watching DVD's. Although sound testing is not complete as of yet, I'm confident that it will be more than adequate for my needs. So the option was clear to use the single PCI slot for a Radeon 9250. No regrets either. The video is superb and quite noticably an improvement over the onboard when using the VGA (and there's still a DVI and S-video). Although this doesn't relate to the Epia boards I thought it might be helpfull since they were the first options I was looking at when I started my build. Since then I opted for a newer type board with better options and capabilities with the added bonus of flexibility for future upgrades which the Epia boards are somewhat limited to. I added the specs on the Commell LV-675 at this thread; http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/show...t=82299&page=4
              Other info on the Commell LV-675 is here; http://www.commell.com.tw/Product/SBC/LV-675.HTM
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              • #8
                I've been considering the Commell boards, but my main problem with them is the potential heat produced by the more mainstream processors.

                What type of cooling and case do you use, and how would you describe the heat it generates?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GreenMachine View Post
                  I've been considering the Commell boards, but my main problem with them is the potential heat produced by the more mainstream processors.
                  What type of cooling and case do you use, and how would you describe the heat it generates?
                  I was concerned with that too, but lengthy bench testing has shown that heat generation is minimal with only a single fan in use. I'm quite impressed with how little heat is generated by the processor and have no concerns whatsoever. The case I'm using is the Travla C138B.
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                  • #10
                    I would use the PCI slot of a video card over a sound card, their are tons of external USB sound cards and honestly for music onboard is fine IMO, about the only thing that I would say is better on my audigy 2 on my home PC over my carputers onboard is the surround sound processing, but since I go thru a headunit and have no seperate front/rear inputs that's a non issue. A video however is good if you are using one of the 7" widescreen monitors with 800x480 res as that is such a probematic res to get, Nvidia cards however can do it no problems at all with their standard drivers, no additional sofware required.
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                    • #11
                      honestly for music onboard is fine IMO
                      This is an opinion lots of people on these forums don't share...

                      Just keep in mind what you choose to use, depends alot on what you want/ feel you need.

                      If you can't tell the difference between onboard and aftermarket soundcards, then by all means keep the onboard.

                      Btw, im using onboard video for gps, dvds, divx movies, and winamp visulations on a msi ms-6714 (old mATX board, not sure what the onboard video is).
                      REBUILDING!!

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                      • #12


                        If you're listening to it on a stock system with 2 speakers and cant tell the difference between a drum stick hitting a snare and someone snapping their finger, then I could see the onboard being adequate for your needs....but for the rest of the population out there, it's not.
                        Jan Bennett
                        FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                        Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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                        • #13
                          /shrug, I was just giving an opinion based on the vast majority people who listen to music, very few people are actualy audiophile's and simply like listening to music, so aside from surround sound wouldn't see any difference.

                          I'm not the type of person who doesn't notice poor sound and thinks stock systems are good or even adiquate as I think stock systems sound horible, on my system i'm not listening to a stock system with two speakers, I have a pioneer headunit with Infinity kappa component speakers front and rear and Infinity perfect subs, nothing near compitition grade or anything but definatly far from cheapo speakers, that being said i'm not an audiophile and I don't notice any difference from the onboard audio and if I put an MP3 CD right into my headunit as is the case with most people.

                          Mostly i'd only think external sound cards are really nessisary if you wanted surround sound/DSP or are an audiophile which most people who listen to music aren't.
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                          • #14
                            Fair enough.

                            While the majority of people may not be audiophiles, I feel there are enough of them on this forum inparticular to make the point that I as well as many others do notice the difference between onboard, and upgraded sound cards.
                            REBUILDING!!

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                            • #15
                              hrmmm - so i guess then you're assuming that everyone will be using the aux-in on a hu?

                              or are an audiophile which most people who listen to music aren't.
                              Hu? Most people who are audiophiles don't listen to music? What?
                              Jan Bennett
                              FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                              Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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