The "Official" low profile card post
Like many of you I have been frustrated on how to build a carputer that has the required specs for my needs. ITX is too expensive and very limited in upgradability. ATX is too dang big for a car and FlexATX has almost nothign available for it. Reguardless many of us have chosen to go with a MicroATX route first. MicroATX allows you to have a very functional, inexpensive, powerful computer with many options. Heck I can run an Athlon, Athlon64/Sempron, Celeron, Duron, Pentium-IV or even a Mobile Prentioum IV or Athlon/Athlon64 if I got the cash.
One of the biggest problems with the issue of a carputer is size. A standard ATX or even MicroATX case is usually too dang big. I have decided to go with what's known as a low profile MicroATX case from In-WIN. There is lots of these cases available and some are even as small as 3.6" tall.
My case is 3.6" tall. This limits me to low profile AGP and PCI cards. While there are many low profile cards out there, there are very few cards with a low profile bracket - in other words without one of these brackets I am going to have to drill holes in the blank brackets or I will have to run with no bracket. Running with no bracket - especially on a regular PCI or PCI express card (not necessarially AGP or PCIe x16 because of the retention lever thich helps keep the card in) could result in the card popping out of the slot while your car is moving. This is a really bad thing.
Here is a list of what I have found that will work in a low profile setup.
You are pretty limited in this, but I have found these which come with a bracket:
Powercolor 9250, 9550SE and 9600SE. These come with a bracket. A quick search on NewEgg finds a few other brands, but no bracket. These are slow - mostly because they use a 64 bit memory interface. Probably ok for Winamp visualizations, but crappy for games or high quality visulizations.
Aopen GeForce FX 5500 Low Profile Edition. This is the most powerful video card you can buy that is affordable in low profile. It's an 8xAGP card with a 128 bit memory interface. It BEATS the Radeon 9600SE and the GeForceFX 5700LE in tests on Toms Hardware. The only problem is it doesn't come with a bracket. A quick test reveals though you can use the low profile bracket from the PowerColor Radeon low profile cards on this card - you can order one of these from TUL (Powercolor) for a few dollars.
If you want a junk card just to get away from onboard video, even a Voilri based chipset will work. There slow as dirt, but get the job done cheap. I'd recommend a Powercolor Radeon 9250. Many GeForce FX5200 cards are available for like $50 as well - but guess what, no bracket. Many GeForce 4MX cards are also low profile.
A Powercolor bracket will work as long as the card has a DVI opening on the buttom of the card and a video out (S-video probably is best) on the top. ]
The fastest card I've seen in Low Profile is the Powercolor Radeon X300 256 MB PCI-E video card. Won't work for you Sempron guys (except for that new JetWay board with 754 and PCIe). Does NOT include bracket - you'll probably have to order it from TUL. http://www2.newegg.com/Product/Produ...82E16814131287
Damn this one was hard to find anything on. I could only find these three:
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live 7.1 PCI. 100 SB S/n Ratio @ 2 V RMS. This card sound be reasonable for noise. low profile, but (you guessed it) no bracket. $30 apx.
AudioTrack MAYA 5.1. Based off of the VIA ENVY chipset. 105 SN/Ratio @3V RMS aparently. Better than Creative, only like $8.00 more. Includes the bracket.
AudioTrack Prodigy 7.1 low profile edition. For you ballers out there, this $100 Card has 7.1 out, a 110 S/N Ratio at 4V RMS and it allows you to play DVD-Audio. Includes the bracket.
This is the only one I found that was low profile AND included the bracket:
The $15 Kingwin U2-PCI5 USB PCI card can give you 5 powered USB ports (including an internal one) without having to buy a hub and having to figure out how to power that thing. Comes with the bracket.
Lots of low profile cards - but guess what, only ONE comes with a bracket.
The Buffalo WLI2-PCI-G54 comes with the bracket and has a user replaceable reverse SMA connector. This means you can put a hi gain on it and you don't have to worry about external, weak gain USB wireless devices.
Sorta pricey, but after rebate it's cheap.
That's it. If you need serial or parallel, SIIG makes many low profile firewire and parallel/serial cards with brackets. www.siig.com.
Reply posts are welcome.