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Thread: Ideas for first build, looking for feedback

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    Ideas for first build, looking for feedback

    Hello everyone. I was pointed over here by a friend as I've been musing with this idea for some time since I heard of Nvidia's ION platform. Before I go farther, here is a list of components I've managed to find online that fit the bill for me.

    8.9" LED Backlit Screen, 1024x600 <-- I'd prefer 1280x720, but the price point and rarity makes these hard to come by. Looking for nothing over 10" right now. Especially LED Backlit
    8.9" Touch Screen <-- I would prefer a capactive touch screen as that can be modified for visibility such as anti-reflection coating. Plus they are a bit more aesthetic. I cannot find an IR base solution in this aspect ratio and size.
    H.264 encoded 720p capable computer(s):
    Zotac IONITX-A-U
    Zotac IONITX-B-E

    My goal is to build a mid-performance, low power solution high-def solution. I need H.264 720p playback support. 1080i or 1080p inside a normal car is a bit extreme and I have the needed computing power elsewhere to re-encode any 1080 content I may come across.

    I'm not sure what signal type is being sent to the LCD panel. Is it LVDS? Initial searches for DVI to LVDS signal converters yield few results. Will I need to use VGA instead as I haven't found out if the display is digital or analog yet.

    From a subjective point of view I've always preferred a matte finish on an LCD and I know LED backlight will provide a better range of light to dark illumination as I do quite a bit of night driving. I'm not sure if I'll go with a build of Windows or a flavor of Linux for my software end as both can easily provide the feature I want and need.

    I posted two base systems as I'm not sure how I'm going to go about this yet. I'll probably pick up a cheap Atom board from Intel so I can run diagnostics/OBD without interrupting multimedia functionality. From there I'm wondering which would be a better solution:
    1. Separate computers for each display which can mean up to 3 systems.
    2. An alternative is using one system with a DVI splitter that will do mirrored playback on all three displays.
    3. Lastly, I could add additional video output and treat each display individually. Since I'm only planning on using 1020x600 as my maximum resolution, I'll still be under the computing power needed for 1080p if I stick to 3 displays. From a technical standpoint this is very possible in Linux with multiple X windows servers. I don't know what Mini/Micro ITX board and gfx car solution I would use.


    My main concern is efficiency. An Ion platform will use no more than about 60 watts under full 1080p playback thanks to hardware accelerated decoding. The Atom processor is nice, but has the performance of a chip from a couple years ago. Can I build a C2D or a C2S or even a Via (never used) system with equivalent capability with similar power usage and price point? Performance-per-watt is what I'm looking for. Are there better alternatives out there that I'm missing that will give me a better quality system?

    I have not decided how I'm going about input for the time being aside from touch screen. I'm considering an external touchpad setup though. As for storage, I'm probably going to get one or two OCZ Vertex SSDs. These would be on the diagnostic computer and shared as a network mount.

    Thanks in advance!
    -DigitalCorpus

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    Thread moved to proposed setup forum
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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    Thank you and sorry about that

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    Well the thing about wanting a 720p capable 8" touch screen is that you do realize that this thing is only going to be 8" diagonal, with 720p resolution. I'm not sure how many screens that size you have looked at, but I don't think you are gonna be able to tell much of a difference between one that is 'high resolution' and one that isn't. I think the main thing you are going to want to find out is whether or not you will even be able to tell the difference in resolution at 8", also make sure that you are looking at the maximum resolution, look at the native resolution. The max resolution will just get scaled down to the native one anyway.

    The other thing you posted about the monitor, most monitors take a VGA some take DVI a few are LVDS compatible. Your safest bet is VGA or DVI, with LVDS you have to worry more about the length of the cable and EMI.

    The idea of running 3 different computers for 3 different applications also doesn't make much sense to me. The carputer is quite capable of running OBDII and multimedia at the same time. If you are trying to run OBDII and video on multiple screens, you might want to think about going to a desktop form factor motherboard for added power.

    The computer can also output different things to different screens at the same time. Search around the forum for more info on this.

    As for the H.264 720p playback support on the hardware side, you could just get a PCI video card that could handle the video. Also H.264 has nothing to do with 720p. 720p is a resolution, H.264 is a video encoding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramb0_Command0 View Post
    Well the thing about wanting a 720p capable 8" touch screen is that you do realize that this thing is only going to be 8" diagonal, with 720p resolution. I'm not sure how many screens that size you have looked at, but I don't think you are gonna be able to tell much of a difference between one that is 'high resolution' and one that isn't. I think the main thing you are going to want to find out is whether or not you will even be able to tell the difference in resolution at 8", also make sure that you are looking at the maximum resolution, look at the native resolution. The max resolution will just get scaled down to the native one anyway.
    I do realize that, this is why I'm fine with a native resolution that these screens usually have which like 1024x600, but I'd like to prefer to over build a little bit in order to avoid problems with possible future upgrades.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramb0_Command0 View Post
    The other thing you posted about the monitor, most monitors take a VGA some take DVI a few are LVDS compatible. Your safest bet is VGA or DVI, with LVDS you have to worry more about the length of the cable and EMI.
    Well I have no issue with shielding the wires if need be or finding ones with a good copper core. I have a box of unterminated Cat6 cable laying around so I can pull from there if I went that route. I'll probably stick with DVI though if I can find it.

    If I bought a LCD panel such as the one I posted above, it would be using LVDS correct? Where could I find a controller board or signal converter to go from DVI-LVDS etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramb0_Command0 View Post
    The idea of running 3 different computers for 3 different applications also doesn't make much sense to me. The carputer is quite capable of running OBDII and multimedia at the same time. If you are trying to run OBDII and video on multiple screens, you might want to think about going to a desktop form factor motherboard for added power.

    The computer can also output different things to different screens at the same time. Search around the forum for more info on this.
    Sorry I did not word this correctly. The point of 3 computers is keeping low power consumption while being able to have the flexibility of independent control over media playback et al. Say if I only need to run one, just run one and leave the rest off. Less of a load on the car *shrug*

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramb0_Command0 View Post
    As for the H.264 720p playback support on the hardware side, you could just get a PCI video card that could handle the video. Also H.264 has nothing to do with 720p. 720p is a resolution, H.264 is a video encoding.
    Thank you for this, though I'm quite familiar with the differences. I'm specifying them both at the same time due to the computing power required for decoding this codec at different resolutions such as my most probably candidate, 720p.

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    If I bought a LCD panel such as the one I posted above, it would be using LVDS correct? Where could I find a controller board or signal converter to go from DVI-LVDS etc?
    I remember having a perfectly good screen but fried componets behind it and i found that it would be cheaper to buy a new screen than the DVI - LVDS converter, which was a shame really. See if you can find someone who has cracked their screen and ask for it instead of them throwing it out


    Personally ive been looking at a Mini ITX board that has an lvds output onboard howvere this means you have to have it really close due to EMI

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