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Thread: Single PCI slot. What's best: audio or video card?

  1. #1
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    Single PCI slot. What's best: audio or video card?

    I'm trying to understand the tradeoffs involved in constructing a carpc. It's tough to evaluate the different EPIA motherboards because there are no comparisons, only lists of features.

    anyway, one question I've got at the moment is what's the best use of the single PCI slot on these EPIA motherboards (with appropriate case and riser board to turn it sideways)? It seems like video will definately offload a lot of work and keep the framerate up on the display (a plus for my use of GPS it seems).

    On the other hand, I don't have any first hand experience with the quality of sound output from the onboad chipsets. Is a audio card a necessity? Certainly in my gaming PC at home it is. I'm not gaming on the carpc, mainly playing media files into the car's sound system.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    FLAC
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    vid card. you can do usb audio without a hitch, which you will need. With a second VGA port you can do dual screens or have a better vid card period. Yes you can use a riser and get both if you want
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMachine View Post
    I'm trying to understand the tradeoffs involved in constructing a carpc. It's tough to evaluate the different EPIA motherboards because there are no comparisons, only lists of features.
    Mini-ITX boards

    not a comparison, but a good start...

    anyway, one question I've got at the moment is what's the best use of the single PCI slot on these EPIA motherboards (with appropriate case and riser board to turn it sideways)? It seems like video will definately offload a lot of work and keep the framerate up on the display (a plus for my use of GPS it seems).
    not sure you HAVE to fill a spot just because it's there....plenty of people use the onboard video without a problem.

    I know I do, running GPS and all, no issues.

    On the other hand, I don't have any first hand experience with the quality of sound output from the onboad chipsets. Is a audio card a necessity? Certainly in my gaming PC at home it is. I'm not gaming on the carpc, mainly playing media files into the car's sound system.

    Any advice?
    onboard audio is absolutely horrid.

    Get a USB sound card or if you get a board with a PCMCIA slot go with a PCMCIA sound card.
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  4. #4
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    yes, loads better.
    Jan Bennett
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  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate Dragonknell911's Avatar
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    yes, loads better.

    haha i've been wanting to say that.
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  6. #6
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    I put a video card in mine, and Im using a USB digital audio converter for sound.

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate jschrauwen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMachine View Post
    what's the best use of the single PCI slot on these EPIA motherboards (with appropriate case and riser board to turn it sideways)?
    I was fairly limited myself, with one PCI (which also because of case size a similar PCI riser) and 2 mini PCI slots available. Initially the focus was on ensuring I had an onboard Optical out to increase the sound capabilities/options and also that it had VGA out. During bench testing it became obvious that the onboard video wasn't up to snuff with notchy video while watching DVD's. Although sound testing is not complete as of yet, I'm confident that it will be more than adequate for my needs. So the option was clear to use the single PCI slot for a Radeon 9250. No regrets either. The video is superb and quite noticably an improvement over the onboard when using the VGA (and there's still a DVI and S-video). Although this doesn't relate to the Epia boards I thought it might be helpfull since they were the first options I was looking at when I started my build. Since then I opted for a newer type board with better options and capabilities with the added bonus of flexibility for future upgrades which the Epia boards are somewhat limited to. I added the specs on the Commell LV-675 at this thread; Mini-ITX boards
    Other info on the Commell LV-675 is here; http://www.commell.com.tw/Product/SBC/LV-675.HTM
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  8. #8
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    I've been considering the Commell boards, but my main problem with them is the potential heat produced by the more mainstream processors.

    What type of cooling and case do you use, and how would you describe the heat it generates?

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate jschrauwen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMachine View Post
    I've been considering the Commell boards, but my main problem with them is the potential heat produced by the more mainstream processors.
    What type of cooling and case do you use, and how would you describe the heat it generates?
    I was concerned with that too, but lengthy bench testing has shown that heat generation is minimal with only a single fan in use. I'm quite impressed with how little heat is generated by the processor and have no concerns whatsoever. The case I'm using is the Travla C138B.
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  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate shiltz's Avatar
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    I would use the PCI slot of a video card over a sound card, their are tons of external USB sound cards and honestly for music onboard is fine IMO, about the only thing that I would say is better on my audigy 2 on my home PC over my carputers onboard is the surround sound processing, but since I go thru a headunit and have no seperate front/rear inputs that's a non issue. A video however is good if you are using one of the 7" widescreen monitors with 800x480 res as that is such a probematic res to get, Nvidia cards however can do it no problems at all with their standard drivers, no additional sofware required.
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