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Thread: booting from flash card faster than HD?

  1. #1
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    Cool booting from flash card faster than HD?

    I'm just starting to think about my carPC and I have numerous questions and hurdles to get over before my system is built properly (as would most people). My first consideration is storage...

    a) I figure booting off a flash card could be faster and more efficient, plus this would allow that much more music storage on the HD. Is that correct?

    b) It appears that mini-itx boards have a single pci slot. How to fit fm tuner and soundblaster into the mix at the same time?

    c) How, using a single user screen is the system integrated to using both radio functions and mp3/cd functions? (usually those third party tuners come with their own software. Does Winamp take care of this?)

    d) I know this is a newbie thread, so I don't expect the majority of people here to already have a carPc, but I'm curious for those of you that do how many can't live without their carPC now that it is installed?

    Thanks for your advice and opinions

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate GingerPrince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecolner
    a) I figure booting off a flash card could be faster and more efficient, plus this would allow that much more music storage on the HD. Is that correct?

    b) It appears that mini-itx boards have a single pci slot. How to fit fm tuner and soundblaster into the mix at the same time?

    c) How, using a single user screen is the system integrated to using both radio functions and mp3/cd functions? (usually those third party tuners come with their own software. Does Winamp take care of this?)

    d) I know this is a newbie thread, so I don't expect the majority of people here to already have a carPc, but I'm curious for those of you that do how many can't live without their carPC now that it is installed?

    Thanks for your advice and opinions
    a) no, plus you'll knacker it in no time due to excessive writes.

    b) you can get a pci splitter i think.

    c) various custom interfaces are available. look in the software forums.

    d) i have one but i can live without it - i have beer

    GingerPrince

    Car changed for TVR Griffith 500, so computer de-installed. Using a Dension 100ix w/60Gb HD unit in the interim.

    Carputer Install - http://www.stuffandting.com/carputer/
    CarBox Software -- http://www.stuffandting.com/carbox/

  3. #3
    FLAC robiewp's Avatar
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    b) I have an FM tuner, and a soundblaster (audigy 2 nx). I don't use the one PCI slot

    d) I can live without it driving in town. I can't live with out it on longer trips (even if i know the route) or any trip i haven't taken before.

    a), c), see above post
    car computer rev 5: 8" lilliput and usual suspects

  4. #4
    Banned NightHunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecolner
    I'm just starting to think about my carPC and I have numerous questions and hurdles to get over before my system is built properly (as would most people). My first consideration is storage...

    a) I figure booting off a flash card could be faster and more efficient, plus this would allow that much more music storage on the HD. Is that correct?

    b) It appears that mini-itx boards have a single pci slot. How to fit fm tuner and soundblaster into the mix at the same time?

    c) How, using a single user screen is the system integrated to using both radio functions and mp3/cd functions? (usually those third party tuners come with their own software. Does Winamp take care of this?)

    d) I know this is a newbie thread, so I don't expect the majority of people here to already have a carPc, but I'm curious for those of you that do how many can't live without their carPC now that it is installed?

    Thanks for your advice and opinions
    A) Yes of course if your willing to fork out the money to have a flash car big enough to Support your os, and also have an internal flash drive. USB can be quite a bit slower than having an internal one.
    B) External Fm Tuner, USB
    c)Media Engine Comes with FM and MP3 Support
    D)Living with out, yes. It is not my family or blood or for that matter my beer. Just a hobby.

    Keep searching the forums, most of the questions have usually allready been asked and answered.

  5. #5
    FLAC robiewp's Avatar
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    regarding nighthunter's A)

    unless you're going to fork out over a grand- that is, if you were considreing compact flash, smart media, etc- it will NOT be faster.
    car computer rev 5: 8" lilliput and usual suspects

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecolner
    a) I figure booting off a flash card could be faster and more efficient, plus this would allow that much more music storage on the HD. Is that correct?
    and

    Quote Originally Posted by GingerPrince
    a) no, plus you'll knacker it in no time due to excessive writes.
    Well yes and no to both of these responses...

    What you really want is an EIDE based flash drive that attached just like a hard drive to you PC (via the EIDE bus). This is very shock resistant, instant on, and fast to READ from.
    It is NOT fast to write to (in fact it is very slow), and has a life associated with how many write can be done to it (usually about 100,000. which is not alot).

    Windoze likes to cache memory to the hard drive, so you would as GingerPrince put it "Knacker it" in no time, IF you used the normal ATAPI.SYS driver that is normally used for hard drives.

    What you want to do is to replace ATAPI.SYS with a special device driver that allows reads to come from the flash hard drive, and write to go to a simulated hard drive in memory (i.e. RAM). What this mean is that all writes to the "hard drive" would be lost, but it would not "knacker up" (love that term) your flash drive!

    This is the same approached used when booting Windows from a CD-ROM only PC (as is done in slot machines!).

    Also, these flash drives are not cheap and pretty small, typically a 650 MB drive is around $200 US. For that kind of money you can get hundreds of GBs in a hard drive.

    Chris

  7. #7
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    How to write new ATAPI.sys

    Mister Six, have you ever seen a good tutorial on this subject of ATAPI.sys. I'm probably going to experiment using the flash card because I figure that the largest card I'd have to purchase would be 64mb... That's only like $50 extra and if I can get fast startup it would be well worth the extra money and code. I have experience coding c-sharp and java, but I have never written a device driver in either language (currently taking assembly language course in college). So, if anyone finds a tutorial on how to accomplish caching re-assignment it would be really helpful. Of course, I'll be looking as well.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecolner
    Mister Six, have you ever seen a good tutorial on this subject of ATAPI.sys. I'm probably going to experiment using the flash card because I figure that the largest card I'd have to purchase would be 64mb... That's only like $50 extra and if I can get fast startup it would be well worth the extra money and code. I have experience coding c-sharp and java, but I have never written a device driver in either language (currently taking assembly language course in college). So, if anyone finds a tutorial on how to accomplish caching re-assignment it would be really helpful. Of course, I'll be looking as well.
    You are opening a can of worms!! Good for you!

    Writing drivers for Windows is one of the most difficult programming exercise possible under Windows. There are several good books written on the subject, and you will need the DDK (driver development kit) from M$ ("Microsoft"). Try some searches for WDM or Enhanced Write Filter or EWF.SYS.

    Here are a couple of links to start with:
    MSDN
    as well as
    meta link page

    Here is but one example of the kind of drive you would want to use.
    Simple Technologies

    If I where you I would look for a EIDE flash drive manufacturer who already has a write filtering driver available, would save you alot of work!

    Chris

  9. #9
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    thanks chris. I agree that it would be a great deal of work (only because I have no idea how to make it happen). But I'm gonna look for that manufacturer before delving into any drawn out flash drive project of my own. There might even be some mad scientist in his basement who's done it. It's a giant planet =)

    I have more question still, on less technical topics.

    - Is it possible to get hifi using Epia onboard sound without the SoundBlaster or is it pretty much manditory purchase for audiophile quality?


    - What is the solution for putting fm tunner and other cards onto a board with only a single pci... internal usb wires?

  10. #10
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    theres a few on the side where the other ports are

    im pretty sure that there is a plug on the board for adding a few more

    USB ports, that is
    "You can't kill a revolutionary, 'cuz you can't kill the revolution." ~RATM

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