Experiences with the Intel D945GCLF2 Motherboard and VoomPC2 case for Carputer/ CarPC
I thought you might appreciate if I share some experiences I have with using the Intel D945GCLF2 Atom 330 Motherboard for CarPC , Carputer .
Motherboard: Intel D945GCLF2
Memory: Kingston 2GB
Harddisk: WD Scorpio Black, 7200rpm, 16MB, 2.5 Zoll, 320GB
Software: TinyXP revison 9 (with SP3 and MediaPlayer 11)
Return from Hibernation, after BIOS tweaks: 35seconds from turning the key until music is played.
The performance is very good, much more than needed.
Problem1: The VoomPC2 case is not very good for use with the intel motherboard.
Reason: The position of the ATX connector of the Motherboard is excatly where the connections to the 2.5 harddrive should be. It is impossible to use the internal frame for the harddisk.
Solution: Isolate the harddisk with tape and keep it floating in the case. There are so many cables above the powersupply, that the hardisk actually is like on feathers. A little bit of carton on the top of the case above the harddisk results into the harddisk being very well fit. It can move as much as the cables allow it, but it can't go anywhere wrong, which, I believe is actually a very good shock absorber.
Problem2: If you want a CD-Rom built in it will be VERY narrow, its close to impossible and airflow will be very bad. Again because of the layout of the motherboard.
Solution: Best is to leave the CDRom and the frame for CDRom and Harddisk simply out of the case.
Problem3: The original heatsink on the CPU and chipset are very bad (chipset has a fan attached) this maybe ok for Desktop use, but in a heated up car this could be a problem.
Solution: I attached other heatsinks: Zalman ZM NB32K and/or Zalman ZM NB47J the first one has less surface and the fan can be setup on top of it and still fits in the case, but I experienced that the cooling performance get very bad then. Better would be to use two NB47J and attach the fans from the sides (I used hot glue). The ZM NB47J second one has more surface. I used one each, but only because I couldn't get two ZM NB47J. Attaching the fans from the side is not easy and you get in the way of other parts on the motherboard, so you are limited in choice.
To attach the heatsinks on the motherboard you need to remove the springs from the original sinks. If you use the Zalman ZM NB32K you need to break some "rips" of the heatsink so that it fits. The Zalman ZM NB32K could also be used to passive cool the chipset in desktop PCs, but its really the limit of heat. I tried it and noticed some instability of the OS.
To attach the Fans to the heatsinks I used hotglue and made sure that the fans do not directly touch the heatsinks. Its holds very well.
Problem4: The original fans of the Motherboard and the Case are VERY loud.
Solution: I replaced them all with Revoltec "Airguard" - 40mm fans. They are very cheap, but I also recommend the: Scythe Mini Kaze 40mm (which will be more silent but way less powerfull). The fans can be connected to the motherboard, but only the "chasis fan" connector on the motherboard actually has speed control, either via the BIOS or via SpeedFan from windows.
So what I did, I connected all four fans with split cables to the chasis connector on the motherboard. Like that they are all speed controlled via the software. At 50% they are very silent. In case of heat you can spin them up and with 100% CPU Load and 20 degrees celsius outside the heat in the case doesn't go over 60 degrees (Chipset) Cpu will stay bellow 50 degrees.
BUT everyday use has shown that it was not good enough, so I made a big square hole in my voom case and inserted a 70mm fan with a thickess of 1cm. I also built in a pot to control the speed of the big fan. I have a cool and quiet pc when its on lowest speed.
After all the carputer is now very silent, and in case of heat I can spin the small fans up via the software "speedfan" which also reads out the temperatures. there is even a plugin for CentraFuse to display the temps within CF.
I wouldn't exactly recommend the VoomPC2 case for that motherboard, but the case itself is very good quality. You get two USB outputs on the front, which is very handy. There is also cinch connection on the front, which I abused to be able to use the internal microphone connector of the motherboard and at the same time being able to use all 6 outputs (3 stereo) on the back of the motherboard to have 5.1 output. They sound very bad though so I bought a soundblaster x-fi pci and connected it with a PCI raiser card through a big hole in the case with the motherboard.
I removed the parallelport connector and instead of it attached (hot glue) 4 more USB connectors and I regular ATX powerconnector where I draw the power for my screen. See the pix bellow.
By the way: Its very easy to install OSx on that board. Using the iPC or iAtkos OSx86. No 5.1 and microphone for that case. http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/ind...pic=156946&hl=
Nice write up. I've been looking at the board. Have you run any video or serious tests to see test performance for lag or hicups?
I did some benchmarking with sisoft sandra.
Benchmarks are about the speed of a Pentium 4, 2.6 GHz, in some areas even above.
So, performance is very good, no problem doing anything. I know people who can play HD video by using an extra PCI Graficcard.
i have a question about the fans control
you said youve splited 4 3-pin connections to connect to the "chasis fan" port?
isn't it a risk to the mobo? to draw 4 fans current instead of one?
did you experienced any problem with this?
and from what i see in the picture only one fan is connected to the rpm read ( yellow cable ) - is that correct?
this means i can connect 2 2-pin fans and one 3-pin fan and be able to control all of them ( of course not seperatly )?
what will happen if i connect 3 3-pin fans? will it just add the rpm of all of them or mess it up?
thanks in advance , ofir
Originally Posted by Madboy
I also thought a lot about connecting 4 fans to one connector. I also wasn't sure if that is going to work or maybe kill the motherboard.
Finally I came to the conclusion that some people might connect a 80mm or even 120mm chasis fan and the mobo has to be able to cope with that. the four fans are just 40mm fans and do not draw a lot of current.
I let them run in max speed for a couple of hours and nothing bad happend. Mostly they are at 40-50% of the speed anyways, so its like connecting 2 fans.
As for the rpm connection. it is a normal practice to connect only the rpm of one fan. RPM is just a read out which reports the current speed of the fan. The whole speed control is being done by lowering the fan voltage. so all fans are speed controlled but the motherboard only know the current speed of one fan. Since all fans are the same and all fans have the same connection and therefore the same voltage they all must have the same speed.
Hope that helps.
nice thanks for the answer
im planning on connecting 2 60mm and 1 80mm so hopefully it will all go well
If you can find spec sheets for the fans they should state what their power draw is. SPCR includes that with their fan reviews, but those seem kinda out-of-date. Some fans of the same size can draw a lot more power than others.
hey guys, nice write up analographi! helped quite a bit
I am waiting to receive this board and just wanted to ask about your 5.1 setup. Am i correct in understanding that you connect 2 channels (front left, front right for eg.) via the green 3.5 jack on the back of the board, then a further 4 channels via the front audio header? (rear left/right, cenntre and sub for eg.). Traditionally isn't one port on the front audio for line in and the other for out...i'm assuming you need to specify via the drivers that both of these will act as line out..?
can you then still use the pink 3.5 jack on the back for a mic (even if it's mono). sorry if all of this is obvious..
also did you have any difficulty setting up CF with tinyxp? i've read around and it seems people have had some trouble with the dependencies of CF not included in tinyxp
cheers in advance
Originally Posted by cogzi
First I have to say, that I do not use the onboard soundcard anymore, because I found the quality not good enough. I use a PCI soundblaster X-Fi now. I cut a hole into the case and use a PCIextension cord. I'll post pictures later.
As for using the onboard sound. The backsocket can all be OUTPUT, if you set itup like this in the soundcard driver which you find in the bottom right corner of windows (orange speaker) somewhere there you can setup what is output where and if you set 5.1 there all the backsockets are outputs. Front L/R back L/R and Sub/Center.
The frontpanel connector I use for microphone only.
By the way I found out that the USB connector in my VOOM PC is faulty. It works with some devices like memory sticks or harddrives but not with wirless.. . it actually killed a wireless stick here.
As for TinyXP. If you use the version I mentioned it will work as normal. But with some versions it doesn't work. For example with TinyXP Beast edition.
ah ok..cool beans thanks for your help.
yeh i have an old Sound Blaser PCI i used in my previous setup with some kx drivers which served me well, i was just hoping the onboard sound on this new board is up to par outputting at least 4.1 since i don't have a centre speaker so i don't have to completely rework my custom case to accomodate the pci. will have to test it out when the board arrives.