Via pc2500, ITX and ATX Form Factors

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On December - 1 - 2007

When I first read about ClubIT’s $59.99 (USD) gOS Developer Kit, I started thinking about applications where I could use it. How can you pass up a $60 ‘puter?

Via pc2500 motherboard and SilverStone SST-LC11S-300 Case

The Via pc2500 motherboard is relatively small – it conforms to the FlexATX form factor which is 9.0 in. x 7.5 in. (221 mm x 191 mm). I first thought the Via board would be a good starting point for a car computer. With a small touchscreen LCD, I could use it for a GPS and an A/V source for music (and video).

As I started looking for cases, there seemed to be a dearth of cases for the FlexATX motherboard. Most FlexATX cases also fit the larger microATX motherboard. (FlexATX is an addendum to the microATX specification). I may have confused the ATX motherboard sizes with the ITX form factor developed by Via Technology.

Form Factor Max. Width Max. Depth
FlexATX 9.0″ (229 mm) 7.5″ (191 mm)
microATX 9.6″ (244 mm) 9.6″ (244 mm)
ATX, full-size 12.0″ (305 mm) 9.6″ (244 mm)
Mini-ATX 11.2″ (284 mm) 8.2″ (208 mm)

 

The ITX form factors are much smaller than the ATX specs:

Form Factor Max. Width Max. Depth
mini-ITX 6.7″ (170 mm) 6.7″ (170 mm)
nano-ITX 4.7″ (120 mm) 4.7″ (120 mm)
pico-ITX 3.9″ (100 mm) 2.8″ (72 mm)
mobile-ITX 2.953″ (75 mm) 1.772″ (45 mm)

 

SilverStone LC11 Case

I was unable to find a small FlexATX enclosure that might fit under the seat of a car or inconspicuously in the trunk. Instead I found a Silverstone SST-LC11S-300 for $27.51 (USD) on eBay. For a motherboard that has a maximum power draw of 20 watts, this case is a little overkill. But until I find a suitable enclosure, I have another HTPC.

As for the OS, I tried installing the gOS and received an error, /sbin/modprobe “abnormal exit.” I found several reported bugs in Ubuntu that described the same error that required a kernal fix . Instead, I installed an OEM version of Vista, and have the PC headless at the moment.

(3 December 2007) Doing more research on the abnormal exit during the install of gOS and Ubuntu 7.04 led me to add the boot parameter all_generic_ide after hitting F6 on the boot screen. This problem is discussed in the Ubuntu Forums.

15 Responses to “Via pc2500, ITX and ATX Form Factors”

  1. I also found this folding screen installation, but I need something that would retract into the dash because I don’t have that much room.

  2. I was just thinking that I might be able to remove the screen from a cheap DVD player. It wouldn’t cost that much but that wouldn’t have a touch screen.

    Juan Carlos says:

    Sorry, I don’t get it, do you want to use the portable dvd player instead of the HTPC or as part of it?

  3. I got the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150 board on Friday. I haven’t had much time to test it, due to some storms here, the power was out most of Friday and 15 hours today.

    Those look like nice displays. I was also thinking about using a portable DVD player, because they are inexpensive.

    My wife suggested that I just take my old Powerbook and cut that up and put it in the car.

  4. Juan Carlos says:

    I’m really interested in how LinuxMCE will look like in a 7” car monitor, that’s really important I think, I see in some forums that lilliput is a very popular brand

    some screens available below

    touchscreen:
    Lilliput 7″Touch screen LCD
    2008 Lilliput 7″VGA Touchscreen 629GL-70NP LED Backlight
    TM-868 8″USB Touch Screen VGA RCA TFT LCD

    non-touchscreen:
    LILLIPUT 7″TFT LCD CAR MONITOR W/TV TUNER MONITOR

  5. Thanks, Juan Carlos. I have seen some 7" LCDs from vendors in China. When I find the links, I will post them.

    That Hauppage WinTV-0PVR-150 is only $US 65. It was one of the video cards I was thinking about buying.

  6. Juan Carlos says:

    I leave you this thread from a forum that talks about a carputer on an Alfa Romeo (includes pics):

    it’s in spanish, you can always translate it with google

  7. Juan Carlos says:

    hi again Leslie, happy new year to you too!, I have lots of pages on my bookmarks from my research for an on-budget HTPC, and yes, I have visited mp3car.com, it seems like a very nice site about carputers, there is also a video from them in YouTube:

    And recently I found a page from VIA itself with the title “VIA Mini-ITX Projects – Car PCs“:

    If you have problems getting the VIA pc2500 drivers for Ubuntu, you may find those in here and a thread about how to install them right here

    You can find more of the pc2500 mobo info here.

    The capture card I’m willing to buy is a Hauppauge PVR-150 MCE, it’s cheap and well supported with LinuxMCE and MythTV of course.

    Well, please let me know of your experience with the VIA pc2500, I’m really interested about it.

    Bye :-)

  8. Juan Carlos, I have emailed mini-box.com to see if a FlexATX motherboard will fit in one of the VoomPC cases.

    I don’t know if you seen this site, mp3car.com. A good resource.

    I also downloaded LinuxMCE and will try it on the VIA pc2500 today.

    Thanks for your suggestions and Happy New Year

  9. Juan Carlos says:

    I think this link may be useful for you, it’s an article called “Put A PC In Your Car” (it’s from june 2006 though).

    There I found out about a case for car applications. You can find the case here. There it says it is for mini-ITX mobos but its dimmensions are 210(W)x254(L)x56(H)mm

    CASE 254 mm x 210 mm
    FlexATX 229 mm x 191 mm
    miniITX 170 mm x 170 mm

    If you’re not interested in that one you may find useful some other case from
    http://www.mini-box.com
    That Via Pico-ITX you’re talking about seems very small indeed but it works at 1 GHz only, not that good for an HTPC

  10. Thanks for the links. I think the VIA 2500 motherboard may be too large for a car PC. At least I haven’t been able to find a small case that would be good for a car – I think the cube cases are too big for a car.

    I think this VIA Pico-ITX looks like a good size for a car, probably what I really wanted in the first place.

  11. Juan Carlos says:

    I’d love to know anything about your experience with it as an HTPC for your car, I think that’s what you’re trying to acomplish, specially if you’re going to use LinuxMCE, which is the one I’m interested in, I leave you with a couple of links from YouTube about LinuxMCE:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcNwnANrCpw

  12. Juan Carlos, thanks for the suggestion. I was thinking about turning it into a MythTV box.

    I am running it headless at the moment, but I’m looking at the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 150 MCE FM 1042 PCI Interface or the EVGA 256-P1-N399-LX GeForce 6200 256MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Video Card. Since I bought a home theater case, I decided to hook it up directly to my TV via S-Video.

  13. Juan Carlos says:

    Have you tried linuxmce (linuxmce.com) on it? I started a thread in linuxmce forum because I had exactly the same idea than you did ;-), but with linuxmce instead of gOS.

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I like Alfa Romeos, art, barbecue, baseball, bicycling, cars, cigars, computers, cooking, eating, electronics, fly fishing, football, Formula 1, friends, golf, horology, jazz, movies, museums, photography, r/c cars, r/c helicopters, reading, restaurants, Scotch whiskey, softball, slot car racing, tennis, the internets and travel

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