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Thread: Greetings from down under

  1. #1
    Newbie 4.9 EF Futura's Avatar
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    Greetings from down under

    Greetings to all!

    I'm a new member to the site although I've been reading it for many months now. I'm at the end of the conceptual stage for the carputer and aside from the screen I have everything I need and it's all been 'mock fitted' to make sure it all fits.

    The car is a 1995 Ford Falcon, similar to the vehicles used in our 2-make touring car series (arch rival of the Holden Commodore). It has a sequential fuel injected 5.0L with the HO intake manifold as used in your Mustangs of the same era. Aprox 220b.h.p at the flywheel and runs through a 4speed BTR automatic transmission. Happy to provide pics if y'all are interested.

    The capruter setup will include:

    AMD Athlon 1333Mhz altho may underclock depending on your advice
    VIA chipset based motherboard. I will be using the onboard sound
    256MB DDR
    nVidia Geforce 4MX 440 for TV out & some 3D support
    250W computer power supply fed by 300W power inverter. Availability, foreign exchange and freight costs make a DC-DC PSU impracticle... for now.
    Will run under Windows XP Pro Sp1
    One regular 20GB hard drive and a regular DVD ROM

    Currently collecting software needed to adopt GPS funtionality.

    Anyways theres a few questions which are keeping me up at night and have not been able to find the answers I'm looking for (am a member of several forums and realise the importance of searching....)

    I will be getting a Lilliput 7" screen but am not sure if the TV version will be acceptable for my purposes. I've read the sticky regarding picture quality but would like to hear your personal opinions - is a TV screen really THAT bad or do you think it will be sufficient for MP3/DVD/Basic GPS?. I'm really trying to keep the cost down (I'm paying $1.20 per litre for 98 octane fuel at the mo!!).

    I'm also concerned about power requirements. I've crunched the numbers and I think my power source will have plenty of watts to spare even factoring in the inefficiencies of a PSU/Inverter set up. Nonetheless I'd like to hear peoples experiences who run fully-fledged AMD Athlons

    I apologise for the lengthy post. Many thanks.

    Martin H
    1995 Ford Falcon - All Australian Car with All American Horsepower!
    Athlon 1333Mhz, 256MB DDR, GeForce4 MX 440, 20GB HDD

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate Batmanatthenewb's Avatar
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    your system is close to mine. I have a 300w inverter and a 300w PS. Running XP Pro on an AMD XP 2000 on a MSD Raid board. I also use a 7200rpm 80gig drive and full size dvd. ATI 8500 DV All in Wonder card, 802.11b wireless and a data chute pcmcia card adapter. I have no power problems with this setup.

    As far as the Lilliput: can you afford to replace the "TV" monitor if you don't like it? If not, you should spend the extra up front and get what you think is ther better option. Remember, with a 7" screen, the problem is not with the looking at the front end software, or the pretty icons. The problem with the cheap monitors arises when you have to read the little Windows error messages, reload your machine, install software, etc.... All that text is very small. Its bad enough with the "better" monitors when you have 41 year old eyes.

    Batman

  3. #3
    Newbie 4.9 EF Futura's Avatar
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    Thanks Batman (phew, never thought I'd hear myself say that.....again) lol

    Hearing that you have no problems with your power setup provides me with much comfort - many thanks.

    Yes the question I've been asking myself is - "will i be too cut if the TV monitor's no good ?". Yes I can afford to replace it with an XGA version and could probably find a good use for the TV (chuck it in a friends car or something).

    As for system messges and install programs, this does not bother me a great deal as I can easily hook up a 'real' CRT monitor for system maintenance. I'm only 22yo so hopefully the eyes are in good nik lol.

    In your honest opinion, do you think that selecting a low resolution in Windows and enlarging the font size would make an application such as Windows Media Player readable? I'm not looking to write 'war and piece' on the carputer but wanna make sure I can read a list of songs and the start menu - this would be the lowest level of functionality for me.

    Once again, many thanks for your time

    Martin H
    1995 Ford Falcon - All Australian Car with All American Horsepower!
    Athlon 1333Mhz, 256MB DDR, GeForce4 MX 440, 20GB HDD

  4. #4
    Raw Wave
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    Just for test...if you can connect you PC directly to a 14inch TV, this way you can see roughly what to expect from a small non VGA monitor.

    I dont think you be happy with what youll see though.

    I have tried it on a 29inch 100Hz FST TV, at 800x600 with all those small fonts gives me headaches in no time...it just blured, it shakes and all sort...yuck. Even if you can read ok at 640x480 but remember some software wont run below 800x600.

    I guess if the software is specially writen to use the large font as possible then you can get away with it...Ill say 320x200 is readable but then I dont think window can be setup that low.


    Hope that helps anyway.

  5. #5
    Newbie 4.9 EF Futura's Avatar
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    Heya Ricky. Much love on the Ford power!

    That's a great idea for testing what I'm after, many thanks. I have happily run the GeForce TV out to 30ish, 68 and 80cm televisions (apologies for the metric units, lol) and have adequately used the programs which i intend on using. I'll have to get on to some mates and find out who has the smallest TV I can 'borrow'.

    Many thanks

    Martin H
    1995 Ford Falcon - All Australian Car with All American Horsepower!
    Athlon 1333Mhz, 256MB DDR, GeForce4 MX 440, 20GB HDD

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate Batmanatthenewb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4.9 EF Futura
    Heya Ricky. Much love on the Ford power!

    That's a great idea for testing what I'm after, many thanks. I have happily run the GeForce TV out to 30ish, 68 and 80cm televisions (apologies for the metric units, lol) and have adequately used the programs which i intend on using. I'll have to get on to some mates and find out who has the smallest TV I can 'borrow'.

    Many thanks

    Martin H
    That was a great idea Ricky. 4.9 EF Futura, Make sure you try as small a screen as you can get. There is a big difference between a 18cm (7") monitor and a 30cm (12") , 68, or 80cm screen. As you get smaller the clarity gets worse. Everyone has different ideas and spending habits. The main thing people (and you) will see and judge your system on is how the interface is. You can have a great system with a bad screen and not be happy. You could have an average system and a great screen and love it. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you can afford the better monitor, do it ! After the cpu is bolted far away and in the trunk, the only thing you will seeing on a routine basis is that monitor. If you are not happy with it, you won't enjoy the whole system.

    Batman

  7. #7
    Newbie 4.9 EF Futura's Avatar
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    Yes they are well explained points there Batman. My confidence in the TV style monitor's ability to suit my needs drops by the minute. I am concerned with the VGA style monitor though as these do not have TV tuners. I know the carputer will easily be able to perform TV duties but the system came about by me wanting a TV in the car. Then I thought 'hey if i get a TV i'll be able to put the PC into the car'. Buying a VGA monitor and then a TV tuner for the PC would be working backward from the initial idea - if you get my drift.

    I have been looking at Lilliput and Xenarc screens (as these have appeared in my many searches on this site) - are there any other common brands> Perhaps someone who makes an XGA monitor with a TV tuner?

    I'm starting to lean towards the touch screen XGA from lilliput but I doubt if I can get this for under AUD$400 including postage.
    1995 Ford Falcon - All Australian Car with All American Horsepower!
    Athlon 1333Mhz, 256MB DDR, GeForce4 MX 440, 20GB HDD

  8. #8
    Raw Wave
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    I dont know if you seen those sony playstation screen. Theres some thread in heres that talk about modding them into a vga. I dont know how good the results are though...just look around Im sure it has been mentioned somewhere.

    Dont know if you think its worth doing it...but its just another option if you want a cheap VGA screen. Else I guess you gonna have to wait until you can get the proper stuff.

    The worst thing is buying something and not too happy with it.

  9. #9
    Newbie 4.9 EF Futura's Avatar
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    Once again I thank you for the suggestions. Certainly have a lot of options to weigh up. Now if I may digress....

    Let's say I did go the composite based TV TFT. My GeForce has an S-Video output. I guess ideally I'd like a screen with S-Video input but havent seen any such screen - are you aware of any lilliput model with S-Video in? Failing this my next option would be to create/purchase an Svideo to composite adapter.

    I am aware that svideo is superior to composite and I am concerned that a signial which is converted from s-video to composite would in fact be inferior to a purely composite signal. Have you/others tested this? I havent been able to find any threads which discuss this issue.
    1995 Ford Falcon - All Australian Car with All American Horsepower!
    Athlon 1333Mhz, 256MB DDR, GeForce4 MX 440, 20GB HDD

  10. #10
    C4M
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    Maximum Bitrate C4M's Avatar
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    There seems to be a lot of beating up on the composite screens, and comparing them to the XGA screens. Although they perform the same function, IMO they are hardly comparable.

    I've never had a XGA monitor in the car. Sure it would be nice, but at the time that I bought my screen, the price difference was huge.

    So I have a Digitalww 701. I've compensated by making the font sufficiently large so that it's easily glanced at while driving. I don't use a touchscreen, so as a consequence, I have plenty of space on the screen for the all the things that I want and need. IMHO, my using an RF remote that I don't have to look at makes my system safer to use than a touchscreen while driving. In addition, I don't have to have the screen on to control it.

    In short, if you configure your system to suit your hardware, a composite screen can do the trick nicely.

    Would I like a VGA monitor? Yes - if it was able to be hidden away when not in use, and I wasn't paying for a touchscreen that I don't need or want.

    There are photo's on my website of my setup, if that's of any use. The screen shown is from the old installation - a 5.6" 4:3 ratio screen from DSCustoms.

    C!
    http://carpc.riposte.net
    I reserve all rights in connection to each post I author, without exception.

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