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Thread: ECS U-buddy

  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    ECS U-buddy

    These are not new, but I just got one and it is great for our application.

    What it is:

    The ECS Ubuddy was a SFF produced by ECS (elitegroup). It is 12 V native and has SIS 650 video (no TV out), 4 channel audio, 5 USB ports, but only 1 PCI slot. Most come with a 1.7ghz P4, but you can upgrade it to a 2.8ghz P4 (I did). They use laptop drives. Cdrom is standard and a hard drive, but both IDE channels are full channels and full sized 40 pin connectors are utilized.

    What it costs:

    The U-buddy originally retailed for about $349. They did not sell well. I paid $199 for mine from a surplus source. If you watch Ebay, they show up for that price regularly.

    My setup:

    I am running the U-Buddy in my minivan (pause while everybody laughs because I drive a minivan). The primary screen/control is a 12" datalux touchscreen attached to the roof of the van in the front on a motorized fold down mount. For the rear, there is a 15" fold down (for the kids to watch their movies). Since the U-buddy only has a single VGA out, I am just using a VGA splitter and it seems to be working fine. I am running GPS, a USB radio reciever and the standard software stuff (win XP, media apps, etc...)

    The good:

    1. POWER

    The unit is 12V native, and after testing the power supply and pullign some spec sheets on it, it is apparent that it will run just fine in a voltage range from 9-14 volts. Currently it is wired straight to the vehicles power system. I plan to put some kind of protection inline for it at some point but have not decided the best path on that yet. A replacement power supply board for the Ubuddy is only $12, so if I wait too long and fry it, it is no big loss. The power supply that comes with the unit (12v AC power brick) is only 90 w peak, so the unit pobviously pulls relatively little power. In standby it pulls almost nothing.

    It survives cranking just fine without rebooting.

    2. UPGRADABLE

    Most units come with a 1.7Ghz processor. This would be fine for most apps I think. I know it would have been plenty for my needs. I happened to have a spare 2.8 Ghz processor, so I dropped it in. The CD can easily be replaced with a DVD if you are so inclined, thogh I personally don't see the advatage to adding the DVD player. The unit uses standard DDR, full height, but only has one slot.

    3. SIZE

    9"x9"x3". The thing will fit just about anywhere. I have mine under the front seat.

    The bad:

    1. HARD DRIVE

    Most came with a 20 GB drive. That is too small to hold many movies. Someday I will probably upgrade it. For now I am just using a 250GB USB 2 external drive (also 12V native). It does the job and until I dig up a wireless networking dongle for it, it is easy to grab the hard drive and carry it in with me to add content.

    2. PCI slot

    There is only one and it is half sized

    3. AVAILABILITY

    It would be better if they were still in active production. Then again, if they were, you would not be able to pick them up for under $200.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator xBrady's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
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    USA
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    Pics are good
    AMD XP 2600+/512MB RAM/120GB hard drive
    Opus 150W/DVD/GPS/7" Lilliput TS/802.11g/Bluetooth
    Installed.


    -GPSSecure- - GPS Tracking
    -AltTabber2.2.2- - Handy touchscreen utility.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2006
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    Wellll....don't you just want the world.

    Here are a few pics. The soda is in the picture for scale. It was NOT included in the price of the computer
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  4. #4
    Low Bitrate grimor2000's Avatar
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    Chicago-ish
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    is that a mini-itx board in there?
    Causa latet vis est notissima

    VIA SP13000
    1GB DDR400
    Slimline Slot-load DVD-RW
    60GB 2.5 Inch SATA 5400RPM
    Dual Active PCI riser
    PCI TV/FM card
    Logisys FP800
    Thermaltake VFD Media Lab
    M1-ATX

  5. #5
    Newbie
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    Feb 2006
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    20
    Yep. It is an ECS ES4M v1.9

    There is a review of the 1.6 version (supports up to a 2.6Ghz non prescott) at http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/...die/index.html

    The 1.9 revision supports up to a 2.8 Ghz processor, celeron or prescott

    They have the U-buddy at

    http://www.comtec.ca/elitegroup-comp...-p-258925.html

    for $191.48

    I think that for the money it is a great solution for a prepackaged carputer.

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