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Thread: Intel D945GCLF (with integrated Atom 1.6Ghz CPU)

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialEd View Post
    Get a PCI video card. I put in a PCI Radeon 7000 and got any rez from 640 x 480 and up.

    Great little board this D945GCLF, that lil Atom cpu packs a hefty punch for such a small chip. Word to the wise, upgrade the chipset fan/heatsink...... lil bastard gets HOT!
    Thanks I will look into it. I wonder if the card will fit in my case though.

    Quote Originally Posted by rijk View Post
    have you tride one of these drivers?
    Yup, I tried those with no luck unfortunately.

  2. #62
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    I'll have to post a picture of what I did to get mine to fit. The Diamond Stealth ATI Radeon 7000 (PCI interface) has DVI, S-video, and VGA outputs. The card itself is rather narrow, but still needed to be hacked to fit in my little case. I made a remote PCI card slot out of a riser card adapter with 80 wire ribbon cable (cut to 60 wire). Then I separated the pci slot bracket from the board, thus freeing the VGA connector from the "card". The vga connects to the Radeon 7000 via cable, so it really can be remotely located. Then, I cut a hole for the VGA connector in an open spot in the backplane. It sounds complicated because it was....... lol


    Anyway, I put it on the other side of the case, horizontally, and upside down, mounted to the side of my case via standoffs. Now I can pop a hole in another open spot in my backplane for the DVI and S-Video outs. The Radeon supports dual display, and I've already had the 7" lcd and 19" desktop LCD hooked up and working together so I can have the gps on my 7", whilst Cyberlink dvd plays Full Metal Jacket via DVI out. Can't wait to get this in the Murano!

  3. #63
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    Wow Definitely sounds complicated. I think Iwill stick with non-native resolution for now. Since the board suppose to support that resolution (accoring to specs) I am hoping the drivers will eventually be found. The on-board card is good enough for what I need it to do and I don't want to hack my setup and add additional power consumption.

    Thanks for the details though!

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorby View Post
    Yup, I tried those with no luck unfortunately.
    ****, maby if we start to spam intel w'll get the wright driver

    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialEd View Post
    I'll have to post a picture of what I did to get mine to fit. The Diamond Stealth ATI Radeon 7000 (PCI interface) has DVI, S-video, and VGA outputs. The card itself is rather narrow, but still needed to be hacked to fit in my little case. I made a remote PCI card slot out of a riser card adapter with 80 wire ribbon cable (cut to 60 wire).
    post the picture, always like to know how others solve the lspace problem.

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    General information on D945GCLF implementation

    I have completed my construction of a general-purpose 12-volt computer to use as a navigation computer in my RV (I intend to use Garmin Mobile PC) and also for amateur radio field use. In building the computer, I had to address a range of issues, and posting those here might help others who will be doing the same searches I did.

    Enclosure

    I'm using a Morex 3777 enclosure. I have replaced the power supply (see below). The enclosure did not come with enough screws for everything, and I had to dig around to find what I needed, particularly the tiny screws used on the slim CD drive tray. The drive tray will hold either a 3.5" HDD or a 2.5" notebook HDD, and I used the latter. The case comes with an IDE interface cable with a single device plug, and I needed a cable with two plugs, so I had to scrounge again. The case is too tight, though, for typical aftermarket non-ribbon IDE cables, unless one cuts off the rubber boots from around the plugs. I used a ribbon cable with the usual requirements for clever origami. Note that the case has laser-cut ventilation slots in an extruded aluminum enclosure into which the chassis slides. The ventilations lots have sharp edges. IDE and power cables tend to rub on the inside of the case and need to be protected from those sharp edges.

    The case included a very quiet system fan.

    Operating Systems

    My system provides multiple boot capabilities. I have an XP SP2 partition, an Ubuntu Linux partition, and the ability to boot as an MS-DOS box using a compact-flash adapter (see below).

    Ubuntu Linux version 8.04 has a problem with the Realtek LAN adapter on the mobo, which some have resolved by turning off the LAN adapter in the BIOS setup and using an external PCI card. This was an unacceptable solution for me. Ubuntu 8.04.1 resolves this issue, along with flashing the BIOS with version 099. The new BIOS is available here:

    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/filt...9&submit=Go%21

    And Intel has recently acknowledged the problem and also reported the solution of moving to the newer version of Ubuntu, here:

    http://www.intel.com/support/motherb.../CS-029475.htm

    These two things resolved the LAN issue completely, without the need for installing new LAN drivers. The LAN adapter worked out of the box with Windows XP.

    Getting Ubuntu to recognize all devices proved a bit challenging. I had to configure the IDE flash adapter as a secondary device on the IDE chain using the middle plug on the IDE cable, reserving the end plug for the CD/DVD driver, which was not configurable for master or slave with the slim-drive adapter that came with the enclosure. I have the BIOS configured to boot from CD first, then HDD, then the CF adapter, using automatic sensing. I also set the BIOS to "natural" SATA and IDE disk operation.

    Windows XP had no trouble recognizing all the devices, and was much less picky about the IDE setup.

    I used the "CD5.sys" driver for the AOpen CD/DVD drive for operation in MSDOS. This driver is available here:

    http://oldfiles.org.uk/powerload/msdos.htm

    The "CDROM.EXE" file is the one to download, and it includes five generic .sys files for various brands. CD5.sys is the one that worked with my AOpen CD/DVD drive (I have not, and don't intend to, tested DVD operation under MSDOS). CD1.sys worked with an older Mitsumi CD reader. Once I had configured the CD drive and the CD/DVD drive on the IDE chain to make Ubuntu happy, MSDOS was also happy.

    I could find no easy way to get MS-DOS to interface to the SATA hard disk, but I didn't really need to do that.

    I installed MSDOS using a CD iso file that I downloaded here:

    http://www.bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm

    I then formatted the Lexar CF card with FAT16, using the /s parameter to install the system boot files.

    I'm using the GRUB boot loader that comes with Ubuntu Linux. I modified the menu.lst file used by GRUB to allow booting from the CF card as an option. On power up, I can therefore choose between booting XP (the default) from the first partition, Ubuntu from the second partition, or MSDOS from the CF card. GRUB is a much more flexible multiple boot load than the bootloader that comes with XP. But it requires installing XP first, then Ubuntu Linux, to keep from having to fight battles that are beyond my skills.

    Monitors

    First, for the 800x480 issue, this has been resolved in Version 099 of the BIOS, which is available from Intel. I was able to flash the BIOS without difficulty using the resources supplied here:

    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/filt...9&submit=Go%21

    I am using the 10-inch touchscreen monitor provided by Gooddeals18.com. I used the drivers available from here:

    http://www.touchkit.com/Drivers.htm

    These drivers worked, but I also had difficulty with the drivers supplied on CD with the panel.

    I am powering the panel from the computer (see below), but it does come with its own power brick. I can confirm the rated power consumption for the monitor of less than 10 watts. I'm running the monitor at the native 800x600, but 1024x760 is also readable. Changing the resolution, though, requires recalibrating the touch screen.

    I was unable to figure out how to install the touchscreen drivers for Linux, but I do not need that capability in Linux so I did not pursue it very far. I'm a Linux novice, and wanted the OS only to have access to some free applications. But it means keeping a mouse handy, or using a keyboard with an integrated trackpad. I also did not attempt to make the touchscreen work with MS-DOS, though drivers are available for touchscreens that use an RS-232 interface.

    Power Supply

    I am using the Mini-Box M2-ATX-HV power supply. I have provided a power cord hard-wired into the enclosure that uses Anderson Powerpoles to connect to a 12-volt source (I'm a radio amateur and have standardized on these connectors for my many 12-volt applications and devices). I am not (at present) using the ignition circuit source, and am thus using the PS as a conventional PS, not as a "smart" automotive PS. Mainly, I wanted the wide input voltage range, and the M2-ATX-HV will accept input voltages from 6-32 VDC.

    I have also wired the case's coaxial power connector into the incoming 12-volt bus using two paralleled 3-amp rectifier diodes. This will allow me to plug in the power brick or another battery without disconnecting the main battery source, so that I can change batteries without interruption. The PS handles the voltage drop from the diodes easily, and the diodes prevent the main battery from attempting to feed current to the additional power source. Note that this is not intended to be a tank battery, which requires a charging feature.

    I am powering the monitor using a 16-gauge zip cord that is wired to an HDD molex connector inside the case. That provides a regulated 12-volt source to the monitor.

    Power Consumption

    Here's the final tally of system hardware:

    - Intel D945GCLF Little Falls motherboard, with 1GB ram
    - Samsung 120GB SATA 2.5" HDD
    - Addonics IDE CF card interface, mounted in a PCI card slot (but it does not use the PCI bus) with Lexar 1GB CF card (for booting MS-DOS)
    - AOpen slim CD/DVD drive
    - Mini-Box M2-ATX-HV power supply
    - Morex 3777 enclosure (separate 4-pin Molex cable required for the Intel mobo; separate two-device IDE cable also required). The case includes one very quiet system fan.
    - Gooddeals18.com 10" touchscreen monitor, with Touchkit drivers, powered from the M2-ATX power supply

    The power consumption for these devices totals 35 watts, no matter what OS is being used. The CD drive might increase that by 2 or 3 watts when spinning at full speed (I did not do a write test), but in normal operation, its consumption is less than a watt. Without the P4 power cord in place, the power consumption is less than 20 watts, so much of the power is consumed by the Intel supplemental power bus for the processor. The two fans (one for the 945 chipset and one in the enclosure) draw less than a watt each. Power consumption was measured at the 12-volt source. This met my goal of having a computer that would run for over 24 hours on a large, deep-cycle battery.

    Published tests notwithstanding, the computer provides quite decent performance.

    Many of the problems I ran into were solved while I was building the computer, so hopefully this summary will provide help the next person who comes along. I may still be having some issues: The mobo seems to lose its real-time clock if left unplugged for very long, and the touchscreen needed recalibration on one occasion unexpectedly. I'll know more about these issues when I put the computer in actual service.

    RickD

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorby View Post
    Wow Definitely sounds complicated. I think Iwill stick with non-native resolution for now. Since the board suppose to support that resolution (accoring to specs) I am hoping the drivers will eventually be found. The on-board card is good enough for what I need it to do and I don't want to hack my setup and add additional power consumption.

    Thanks for the details though!
    For some reason, my long post reviewing implementation of this mobo (one would think central to the thread) has not appeared in the couple of days since I posted it. I don't know what I ran afoul of--but I'm not typing it again.

    Anyway, go to the Intel web page (I no longer have the link handy) and navigate to the BIOS downloads. You'll see that 800x480 has been supported in the new BIOS starting with Version 095. I saw that resolution available in the OS when I upgraded the BIOS to the current version, which is 099. The instructions for processing the BIOS upgrade are included and are straightforward.

    EDIT: I see that my previous post was approved by the moderator, making this one redundant. But it is more succinct! Thank you, moderator.

    RickD

  7. #67
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    That's an awesome write up! Thank you so much for sharing what worked for you. Not a lot of Little Falls supporters on this site, but it's benefits far outweigh it's drawbacks IMHO.

    I'm still having problems with the onboard sound. I'm thinking a fresh XP SP2 install might help, otherwise I'll ditch the video card for a PCI audio card.

    I need to get some pictures up of this thing in it's case. It's about the size of a Nintendo wii, and so crammed full of hardware and wires it almost makes me nervous.

    Anyway, glad your post finally made it up there, as I will surely be coming back in to help me figure mine out in the weeks to come.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialEd View Post
    That's an awesome write up! Thank you so much for sharing what worked for you. Not a lot of Little Falls supporters on this site, but it's benefits far outweigh it's drawbacks IMHO.
    Thanks for the comments. My main reason for using the Little Falls mobo could be counted on, oh, about 175 fingers. The Intel mobo was significantly cheaper than the alternatives.

    What got me started on this was a $35 hamfest find--an older VIA Epia in a cheapie Morex box that had been used as a dedicated gateway. That motherboard would only work for a few minutes before locking up, so I wasn't prepared to believe that VIA ruled the universe.

    So, I started replacing things one at a time, trying to keep things cheap. Of course, I ended up replacing the whole thing in my quest for the ultimate 12-volt computer. I thought of using an old laptop, but this is better--the components are standardized and replaceable, and I'd already paid a high price (in a nearly lost contest log in a radio contest) for using dumpster finds.

    All of the above has cost me $600-700 including XP. Not too bad for what I was trying to do.

    I do stand in amazement at the level of integration you guys are undertaking to put these in your cars. I'll be using mine in a motorhome, where I have room to build a kitchen cabinet if necessary, heh, heh. My level of integration will be pretty functional.

    RickD

  9. #69
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    Another snippet for the archive, to supplement my previous post:

    Sound

    I finally attempted to play sound through the integral Realtek soundcard, and Windows XP could not locate any soundcard hardware.

    Intel has provided an updated driver for the integral soundcard, here:

    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Deta...stems&lang=eng

    Installing this driver solved the problem completely within Windows.

    Fans

    The D945GCLF motherboard comes with a D945G northbridge chipset and an ICH7 southbridge. The northbridge chip includes the video controller, the sound controller, and the memory hub, and therefore it has quite a lot to do. It is this chip that has the very tall heatsink on it.

    That heatsink can be replaced with a shorter heatsink, available from Mini-Box.com here:

    http://www.mini-box.com/Heatsink-rep...8&category=100

    This heatsink uses the same fan that is mounted on the taller heatsink from Intel, which I believe is 40x40x10 mm.

    The Intel fan uses a poor-quality sleeved design and mine started making bearing noise right from the start. The fan does seem to be necessary--the heatsink became too hot to touch with the fan disconnected, though with the fan running the heatsink is never more than warm to the touch.

    I have ordered a replacement fan that uses magnetic levitation to float the fan on magnetism such that when running there is zero friction. It doesn't make it any quieter than a properly functioning fan with a mechanical bearing--the noise is caused by turbulence from the very high fan speed and small size. But the durability characteristics of the fan greatly exceed any fan with sleeved or ball bearings that I have seen, with a claimed MBTF of 50,000 hours and a very wide operating temperature range. The fan is made by Sunon and is available here:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...Tpk=35-221-004

    Given the price, I bought a couple. I just hope it's the right size.

    RickD

  10. #70
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    Hmm I never had any sound driver issues, even though I installed Windows XP in many different ways. When I using TinyXP rev09 with driverpacks, it already had drivers for the realtek audio. Are you running Windows XP 64bit?

    Didn't realize the chipset fan is 40mm, I have some ultra quiet 14 dBa 40mm fans that I originally purchased for my noisy vooompc-2 case that I can reuse. My fan is quiet and does not need replacing, but if it fails I'm ready with something better.

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