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Thread: comparing prebuild SFF's

  1. #1
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    comparing prebuild SFF's

    1st pc car build and I want a lot of features so trying to do it right (or as close as possible) on the first try. features it will have: usb gps, digimoto, usb wide angle webcam, usb or pci 802.11b/g, and possibly usb bluetooth as well. No dvd slot player planned at this time.

    I've ruled out laptops, don't want to spend the extra cash just to have to risk soldering the m/b for the startup controller.

    Building from scratch is an option but not the purpose of this post.

    So what is the purpose of this post? Alot of brand name SFF (small form factor) are available 2nd hand at really good prices... likely option at this point:

    -the dell optiplex is quite large, probably unsuitable
    -the ibm netvista is almost as large, but a possibility
    -the compaq deskpro SFF is a candidate but have read it is 'tough' to get working as a carpc (power supply?)
    -the HP e-PC is very very small but offers no pci slot so I'd have to go with a USB wifi device rather than pci.

    anybody have any comments comparing the above models? Any experience with replacing the PSU's in these cases with DC-DC Regulators? Are they clean fits or does it take some bending and cutting?


    noob

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate
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    Hi,

    I went the same route as yourself and choose to use a 2nd hand SSF PC.

    For the simplicity of it your best option is to IBM Netvista. I purchased mine (A 1GHz PIII with 256 MB, 40GB HDD and a CDROM for 100 from ebay and using spares i already had, i upgraded it to 512MB with DVD & a 40GB.

    The only failback is the lack of USB2 and the onboard grpahics can only use up to 512KB of RAM making a third party card necessary, saying this i got both a slimline usb2 card with 3 ports and a slimline graphics card for quite cheap off ebay. The machine does come with three pci slots although one will be taken up by the Network Card (GB Ethernet in my case) leaving you two.

    All in all though you do end up with good options, mine has the accessories connected in the following sequence:

    USB1.1 - Touchscreen
    USB1.1 - GPS
    USB2.0 - Bluetooth
    USB2.0 - 802.11G
    USB2.0 - Creative Audigy External (You know the one)

    PCI1 - Intel Low Profile 1GB Network Card
    PCI2 - Nec Low Profile USB 2 Card
    PCI3 - Nvidia MX4000 PCI Card (128MB 128Bit)

    For power i am using a Opus 120Watt, apart from drilling some new mounting holes were the original power supply was this install was plug and play. I had now problems at all, and as the org power supply was a 95watt, i was left with plenty of power for my screen etc.

    The Compaq's required your to mess with pwer supplies and im sure the e-PC also uses a non standard connector for power. I drive a Peugeot 106 and i have fitted my SSF on it side taking minimum space in the process, far less than a ****tle would have.

    If you have any questions then just drop me a pm.

    Neil
    P4 Celeron 2.2 - 512MB - OPUS 250 - Audigy SE - BU353 - HQCT - No Speakers though :-(

  3. #3
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    interesting. I just noticed some of the netvista's came with touchscreens too (for kiosks etc). hmmmmmm
    99 Explorer: Dell Axim X5, Garmin iQue 1620, Dell TrueMobile wifi
    97 Venture: MII12k,512M,3.5" 80G,7" Xenarc,Holux GM-210, Keyhole Cam, Scanner + CB --> audio in
    currently: installing (finally!)

  4. #4
    Confusion Master
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    I have a compaq EN SFF at present, yes the PSU is a ***** hence I am putting together a custom MicroATX

  5. #5
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    There's a compaq en SFF in the basement here, even has the mini cd rom but might try the plexiglass case route first. let us know how it goes....

    anyone else look into the those netvista X41 with large touchscreens on ebay yet? Looks like IBM discontinued them becuase they wanted to get away from micro-ATX (they wanted all their products using similar motherboards).
    99 Explorer: Dell Axim X5, Garmin iQue 1620, Dell TrueMobile wifi
    97 Venture: MII12k,512M,3.5" 80G,7" Xenarc,Holux GM-210, Keyhole Cam, Scanner + CB --> audio in
    currently: installing (finally!)

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