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An LCD Display for an Ultra-Portable Desktop?

Cliff posted about 10 years ago | from the hardware-with-the-right-set-of-connectors dept.

Portables 85

dark_requiem asks: "I've just built a new system based on a Shuttle SN45GV2 XPC, and it's a great little system. However, I'd like to make it more portable by attaching a flip-up LCD display (preferably with speakers) to the top of the case. My video card has TV Out, so connecting via composite or s-video is no problem. The case is just under 8" wide, so the width of the LCD cannot greatly exceed this (it wouldn't fit in my carrying bag then). Thus far, I have been looking at the various 5.4" displays for console systems like the Gamecube, but all of these connect to the systems via proprietary connectors that stick out of the front of the displays and would interfere with mounting it to my case. Has anyone from Slashdot ever attempted a mod like this, or does anyone know of an LCD display that would suit this purpose well?"

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New Technology (5, Funny)

BigFlirt (632867) | about 10 years ago | (#10531943)

Have you heard of these things call "laptops" or "notebook computers." They're freakin' amazing. They're just like this ultra-portable desktop you want to build, but get this, _They're Flat!!_ How cool is that?!? Hasn't technology brought us so far?? Maybe you could strap one of those old CRTs on top? You'd have a portable computer that everyone from West Beverly High would admire... in 1992...

One word: upgradability (3, Interesting)

Nomihn0 (739701) | about 10 years ago | (#10531966)

Upgradability is a major concern for geeks. Shuttle PCs afford users the option to upgrade. Laptops, with their carefully budgeted proprietary systems, usually do not.

Re:One word: upgradability (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10532109)

You should check out Dell's XPS/9100 series, then. The Video card is upgradeable (perhaps of biggest concern), as well as the hard drive and RAM (though this is fairly standard in laptops these days). The CPU is upgradeable, though it will almost certainly void your warranty. All you're missing is the mainboard, and let's face it, by the time you're upgrading the mainboard in a PC, you're probably upgrading the rest of the components anyway (new mainboard for a new processor tends to need higher speed RAM).

No, the upgradeability argument is slowly ceasing to hold water. What is a concern is heat dissipation, cost, and (as a side effect of those two) raw power of your components. You simply won't get the same performance from a notebook as from a desktop, comparing highest end notebooks and highest end desktops.

Re:One word: upgradability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10532263)

Like previous "upgradable" laptops, you'll be able to find parts for the thing for 6-12 months, and that will be it. You won't get a next generation mainboard. The main cost of a laptop is still the LCD.

Re:One word: upgradability (3, Insightful)

DarkZero (516460) | about 10 years ago | (#10532537)

No, the upgradeability argument is slowly ceasing to hold water. What is a concern is heat dissipation, cost, and (as a side effect of those two) raw power of your components. You simply won't get the same performance from a notebook as from a desktop, comparing highest end notebooks and highest end desktops.

One word: Cost.

If you want to upgrade your laptop, you have a to pay a serious premium on every part. The hard drive costs more, the video card costs more, the RAM costs more, and if you want to add any kind of special functionality that isn't already there, like a higher-end DVD burner, a video capture card, more ports, or virtually anything else, you're going to pay at least 20% more for it, if not much, much more than that.

Re:One word: upgradability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10541896)

I was always under the impression that laptops weren't really upgradable until I striped down my Sony Viao (K series) last week. Virtually everything is replaceable/upgradeable/modular. The only exception to this is graphics card, sound card and NIC which are intergrated with the motherboard but then on most comparable desktop systems they are too these days, and there is an undocumented miniPCI slot for upgrades.

Everything else can be changed or upgraded... new screen, new fans, new CPU, new HDD, new memory, new power electronics, new memory stick board, replaceable (and presumably upgradable - to two slots) PCMCIA housing, new optical disc drive, new battery, replaceable speakers, LEDs, keyboard, toutch pad.

Virtually everything is able to be changed/upgraded.

Re:One word: upgradability (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 10 years ago | (#10551748)

Shuttle PCs afford users the option to upgrade. Laptops, with their carefully budgeted proprietary systems, usually do not.
The problem is the cuboid shape. I have a need for something shaped like a headless laptop - nice and slim so It'll fit in the bag alongside my lappie to act as a web/app server (not neceaarily battery powered, but it would be nice to have). Anyone know of HW configurations like this - apart from looking out for someone selling a laptop cheaply with a broken screen?

Re:One word: upgradability (1)

Nomihn0 (739701) | about 10 years ago | (#10552476)

A blade maybe? I don't know much about them, to be honest.

Re:One word: upgradability (1)

adolf (21054) | about 10 years ago | (#10554271)

It occurs to me that a Shuttle box is just as carefully budgeted and proprietary as any laptop. The tradeoffs made in the name of smallness are far in excess of their expansiveness. They are, in essence, a big, cumbersome laptop with an AGP port, no battery, no display, no keyboard, no pointer, no speakers, and a snakepit of attached cables.

That said, what upgrades can one perform on a Shuttle that one cannot perform on a laptop?

Let us examine this question. Laptops offer the following easy upgrades:

Hard drive
CPU (this involves heatpipes and prayer)

Additionally, it is sometimes possible to upgrade the following in modern laptops, provided that you Did Your Fucking Homework before buying:

Internal WiFi

Shuttle boxen offer the following upgrades:

Hard drive
CPU (this -also- involves heatpipes and prayer)
(What WiFi?)

Of course, one cannot easily switch CPU architectures on a laptop. But then, one cannot easily do that on a Shuttle machine, either.

Therefore, Shuttle machines (given their relatively high cost and relative lack of expansion and portability) are useful only for applications where a tiny, stationary desktop machine or headless A/V component is desired. Laptops and more-conventional desktops (Micro-ATX, perhaps ATX or BTX) win in all other categories.

If you want a portable machine, buy one that's portable - a laptop.

If you want a desktop machine, buy a desktop machine.

If you want a portable desktop machine, just rivet a handle to the top of it so you can carry it with one hand.

I don't buy for a second that there's no room in the trunk of the car for a mid-tower case. Nor do I accept that any sane individual would use public transit or bicycle to transport a Shuttle box and LCD display on any regular basis. I also assert that any individual reading this who feels they might be unduly strained by lifting a micro-ATX case instead of a flyspeck Shuttle PC would probably benefit greatly from either the extra exercise of the heavier box, or the serious reduction in bulk and cabling afforded by carrying a laptop instead.

Shuttle's miniature computers, like the tablet PCs of the mid-90s, are a niche solution waiting for a problem that isn't likely to surface anytime soon. This is why they're not very common. And it is also (once you apply the inverse of supply and demand that generally affects computer pricing) why they're so bloody expensive.

In short, Shuttle PCs are stupid and overpriced. I am amazed that they're even in production at this point. Save the money to invest in a cheap, light-guage steel ATX box, good power supply, high-quality motherboard, better video card, and a $5 strap handle from the local pro audio supplier.

(I'm willing to debate this ad infinitum, and I'm quite certain that I'm correct. So, don't bother replying. Thanks.)

rubbish (1)

RMH101 (636144) | about 10 years ago | (#10563321)

speaking as someone who's built upwards of 20 shuttles in various configurations, i can tell you've never had your hands on one.
all components bar the mobo are off the shelf, standard desktop components - which makes it very easy and cheap to put whatever you like in it.
oh, and the cheap shot about the heatpipe is pure bullshit - it's an elegant solution that works very well.

Re:rubbish (1)

adolf (21054) | about 10 years ago | (#10607175)

Right. It's all standard stuff, except for the motherboard, the case, and the power supply.

Which, of course, is all that the bloody things consist of anyway.

So I think what you're really trying to tell me is this: Shuttle's small PCs are absolutely proprietary, containing zero off-the-shelf parts.

Heatpipes can be elegant, and often are, but that doesn't invalidate my commentary. Heatpipes are a comparative pain in the ass in any present implementation. And in Shuttle's case, they're a solution to a problem which is created by the percieved, fictitious need to have a small, proprietary PC. In other words, it's needless bullshit.

Save the money. Buy a standardized box, with a standardized motherboard. It's only a few inches taller, after all. Spend the cash that you didn't drop on a proprietary low-volume motherboard, power supply, and heatsink on extra RAM or a RAID array or beer or something.

Or just buy a laptop, and enjoy real portability with zero cabling and a built-in UPS.

Re:One word: upgradability (1)

excessive (621757) | about 10 years ago | (#10584540)

(What WiFi?)
Oh really? []

Re:One word: upgradability (1)

adolf (21054) | about 10 years ago | (#10607122)

Great. It's a USB WiFi adapter, cleverly packaged in the form of 5(!) seperate parts, that happens to be able to mount on the back of a Shuttle box. I've seen high-school students build better-integrated componentry than that.

The only advantage I see of this, versus a Cardbus of PCI adapter, is that it costs more. In other words, it is a ripoff.

And it is such a ripoff that one doesn't even get any bragging rights with it. (unless you're the sort who likes to say "Hey everyone! Look at what a sucker I am!")

What's the point?


Re:New Technology (4, Insightful)

kagaku (774787) | about 10 years ago | (#10532006)

Most people who buy Shuttle's do so because they frequently goto LAN parties and don't wanna bring all of their shit. Laptops aren't the solution to this problem, because most integrated video solutions on laptops are.. lacking, and that's saying it nicely.

Re:New Technology (3, Informative)

Lazyhound (542184) | about 10 years ago | (#10535874)

Laptops aren't the solution to this problem, because most integrated video solutions on laptops are.. lacking, and that's saying it nicely.

Uh, what? You know you can get laptops with a 256MB Radeon 9800 card, right?

Re:New Technology (1)

dleifelohcs (777508) | about 10 years ago | (#10542596)

for 3 times more than the real, AGP (PCI-X) version costs, right?

Re:New Technology (1)

mcbridematt (544099) | about 10 years ago | (#10543623)

For 2x less performance right?

Even if they have seperate memory, due to heat restrictions etc. they are still slower.

Otherwise go ahead and prove me wrong.

Re:New Technology (2, Informative)

Lazyhound (542184) | about 10 years ago | (#10546781)

OK. []

Re:New Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10548538)


Re:New Technology (1)

Lazyhound (542184) | about 10 years ago | (#10551008)


Re:New Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10549441)

Laptops aren't the solution to this problem, because most integrated video solutions on laptops are.. lacking, and that's saying it nicely.

Uh, what? You know you can get laptops with a 256MB Radeon 9800 card, right?

Uh, what?? you know what most means, right??

Re:New Technology (1)

Raptor CK (10482) | about 10 years ago | (#10556683)

How much?

I'm betting that I can build a comparable SFF desktop for less, and that's *with* the portable LCD.

Re:New Technology (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10538001)

If you're going to write "Shuttle's", shouldn't you also write "partie's" and "laptop's"?

Then again... (1)

neolith (110650) | about 10 years ago | (#10554090)

those kind of people don't play on five inch screens. It does seem a bit like the article is a solution in search of a problem.

WAR (1)

macromegas (823729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615341)

Well, its not a shuttle butthatswasthewayIfinallygotaboxintothelivingroom, thethinghasahigh [] Woman Approval Rating and its nice for parties indeed.

Should have ht preview (1)

macromegas (823729) | more than 9 years ago | (#10615348)

Well, its not a shuttle []
but thats was the way I finally got a box into the living room, the thing has a high Woman Approval Rating and its nice for parties indeed.

Re:New Technology (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | about 10 years ago | (#10558913)

Wow. Just got a chance to read responses to this. I just wish I had heard of these "notebook computers", as you call them, before spending all this money on a system that I wanted as a portable DESKTOP. Whence came this great wonder of modern science? Sarcasm aside, I see that my fellow slashdotters have already done an excellent job shooting this (very predictable) response down, so I'll refrain from further comment.

Re:New Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10619849)

Honestly get a laptop why waste your time in building a portable bulky cubetop. when you need to upgrade sell your laptop and then get something faster and better, your gona spend the money upgrading anyways...the only thing I would build one of these little things for is like a home media center...other wise it seems stupid to carry a little cube around, when laptops were designed for that. Laptops have come a far way from what they were only a few years ago. so you spend 1000 less on your cubetop... just like s lsptop it need to be upgraded. You pay for the size and mobility. I cant see putting a little ass screen in the pc it slef, unless you spend some money your gona get a cheep low rez junk screen and its goning to be no better than running linux on your ps2.

Most definitely possible - and done. (2, Interesting)

Nomihn0 (739701) | about 10 years ago | (#10531950)

There have been attempts at modding the PSOne flipscreen to work with other systems (Gameboy Advance, for example). Although I do not have any links at present, I recall that the GBA modification was extensive enough to ultimately discount the proprietary VGA plug entirely.

Not that proprietary` (1, Informative)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#10532005)

" Thus far, I have been looking at the various 5.4" displays for console systems like the Gamecube, but all of these connect to the systems via proprietary connectors that stick out of the front of the displays and would interfere with mounting it to my case."

The only thing that's really proprietary about the connector is the shape of it, not the signal. It's just an analog signal that's sent out to RCA cables. A brief trip to Radio Shack and a little trial and error will help you figure out which terminal goes to which analog input. The sad thing, though, is that you'll have to figure out a way to get your computer outputting that signal. Some vid cards have an output like that. In that respect, yeah, you could make it work with that screen. If you don't have NTSC-out, well forget what I'm saying entirely.

Re:Not that proprietary` (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | about 10 years ago | (#10558198)

I'm not really worried about getting signal to the connectors. All the monitors I've looked at do have standard composite/S-Video inputs, it's just that since the proprietary connectors are inteneded to plug into the back of the game system when mounted to it, and since there are obviously no such connectors on the back of the Shuttle, the plugs will press against the case, preventing me from mounting it. And I'd prefer to leave hacksaws out of this.

Video Game displays (3, Informative)

Student_Tech (66719) | about 10 years ago | (#10532021)

I haven't looked at to many of them, but they are likely just using either: RGB out, S-Video or Composite from the system. You might just have to crack one open and see what they are using, you should be able to find pinouts for the video game systems. (And If it uses RGB, it is probably using it at 15.75 KHz) (My personal favorite for pinouts is GameSX [] .)

In-Car LCD Display (1)

acidkillUSF (523372) | about 10 years ago | (#10532083)

Today many people are putting LCDs in the headrests of their cars, and things like that. Most have composite, and some s-video inputs, that would allow you to connect to a video card with TV-out.

I haven't found any small screens with VGA input, but I didn't google too much for them.

Your best bet would be to look into the car video monitors. These displays come in sizes from 5-9 inches(and larger), and range in price from $150-$500.

They even make widescreen ones. =)

Re:In-Car LCD Display (1)

Micro$will (592938) | about 10 years ago | (#10532248)

The problem with car LCD displays (and using a TV for a computer display) is the crappy resolution. You'll be lucky to get 640x480 out of those things, but it's more than likely much lower and sometimes interlaced.

Look for Auto Displays (3, Informative)

DDumitru (692803) | about 10 years ago | (#10532093)

I don't know where you are located, but around here, I would go to a high-end electronics dealer that dealt in in-car entertainment systems, the kind where the kids can watch TV in the back seat. You should be able to find a video-in LCD display from 5 to 10". Most will probably run off 12V power, but this is not that hard to get out of a PC PS.

Around here (Orange County, California) this would be Frys, Best Buy, or one of the independent auto shops. And if you mod me down because I said Frys, then I agree with your judgement.

OT: Whats the deal with Fry's? (1)

KD5UZZ (726534) | about 10 years ago | (#10547733)

Whats the deal with all this Fry's bashing? I don't have a Fry's anywhere near where I live (not even in this State), but when I first heard about Fry's I heard nothing but good. Now, it seems, all I hear is bad. What am I missing?!

Re:OT: Whats the deal with Fry's? (1)

DDumitru (692803) | about 10 years ago | (#10550398)

Frys are good and evil at the same time. They are good because they are very large stores with lots of decent computer hardware, including lots of components. You can buy processors, memory, resistors, MBs, you name it. Not quite an electronics distributor (they are more retail than that) but they have a lot of stuff.

The stores themselver are huge (the size of most large grocery chain stores [~80,000 sf - a guess]). They are typically split into three parts. Computer hardware and accessories occupy about 40% of the store. Software and things like DVS are about 20%. The rest is home and car electronics (everything from portable phones to big screen TVs). They have >40 checkout registers. When they open a new store, I have seen >1hr lines to check out that line the perimiter of the store.

The problem with Frys is both their size and the people they hire. They use commissioned salepeople that arguably dont have a clue. If you want a taste of this, do a good search on "frys electronics employment application". There are at least three versions floating around.

On the whole, I am glad that we have a local Frys. There prices are not the best, you absolutely dont want to use them for "advise", but they are local and they usually do have what you need.

Re:OT: Whats the deal with Fry's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10550617)

OK, I feel quite qualified to comment about this because yes, I was a Fry's employee.

Fry's treats both their employees (associates) and their customers like shit. I was basically forced to quit because I was injured on the floor and couldn't quote them chapter-and-verse about where and when the injury happened. All I know is that one day I walked in there and by the end of the day I was limping out with a left knee that was crying "Ave Maria."

I had to go to my own doctor to get a note to have them give me a desk job. Never mind that this desk job (working the support phones) is a crucial step in the path of going from being a peon floor-walker to becoming a super 'leet commission sales guy. I had to endure the envy and dirty comments of co-workers who wanted to move up but felt they couldn't so long as this undeserving bitch (one of my cow-workers' words) was in one of the coveted phone slots.

While this "hostile environment" was in full effect, I was getting pressure from my supervisor to go back on the floor. "Surely you are healed up by now and ready to go back to your job?" No, asshole, I'm not healed up, and I'm not about to go back on the floor and potentially re-injure myself.

I finally had to sign a voluntary quit form and leave this untenable situation. This was one of the many crap jobs I had after the dot com boom went bust, and was one of the motivations I had to finally go back to school and finish my degree.

Fry's customers (as well as "associates") are treated as guilty of shoplifting until proven innocent. All the checkpoints, the need to keep your purse, if it's bigger than a Disco Pouch, locked up in your car while you shop, (bummer for people who didn't drive there) and the post-shopping paper check are all very annoying. Sure, other stores do the same thing, but it's never as aggressive as the way Fry's does it.

Oh yeah, every "associate" is trained to be a junior store detective too. You are told that part of your job is to watch customers and report to your supervisor any and all suspicious activity. This was pre-9/11. I suspect that now it's only gotten worse.

Thing is though, you're right, often Fry's is the only place, short of waiting for the next Computer Fair, to get certain computer/electronic items you need. I live in LA and this is the case...I suspect that in Arizona and Texas it's even more the case. I would think only people whose local Fry's is the City of Industry store would be in a position to avoid darkening their doorstep.

(Geographical note: the San Gabriel Valley was settled in the 1980s to 1990s by Taiwanese immigrants who invariably open up screwdriver shops where they stock computer parts deep and sell 'em cheap. This is how started. The SGV is also the American home of companies like Viewsonic.)

(Posting anonymously in case the NDA Fry's had me sign is still binding.)

Re:OT: Whats the deal with Fry's? (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | about 10 years ago | (#10554001)

They use commissioned salepeople that arguably dont have a clue

Yep, fry's is terrible. Everytime I've bought something there I've had a problem. 10 Years ago I bought a 486-33 from them ... The guys were scam artists, you'd get one price then "oh they were out of that one" and the next model up was only 200$ more! A few years ago my father bought a printer from them for 100$. It was open box, but he asked the lady if anything was wrong with it, she said no. He opens it up, someone has used the ink cartridges ($14 x 4 cartridges, almost half the cost of the printer). He goes back, demands and unopened one, eventually gets it... goes to buy extra ink for it -- a salesman tells him he needs new black PRINT HEADS which come with ink as well (like 70$). On the way out another salesman stopped him and said "hey, you just need these ink carts that guy gets a comission off all the printer stuff" and he handed him the 14$ black ink.

Re:OT: Whats the deal with Fry's? (1)

The Vulture (248871) | about 10 years ago | (#10553956)

My boss at work related to me how he once bought a hard drive at Fry's, and when he opened it, he found that the warranty card was already filled out. Having had problems with Fry's before, he decided to call the Better Business Bureau to report it.

He was told by them that they have so many complaints against Fry's (the number was in the thousands), and that they won't take any more complaints until they can actually make some progress on the existing ones.

One of the big problems at Fry's is that they will resell merchandise that was returned and previously opened. Most of the time they will test the item out and slap a sticker on it saying that it was a return, but there are many times (as my boss found out) where they don't. They'll just tape it up, or re-shrinkwrap it, and put it on the shelf.

Incidentally, they were having a sale on hard drives a few weeks ago, and I was looking at the Maxtors. The Maxtor drives have their logo printed on the shrinkwrapping (as they say on the box, to prevent counterfeiting, or something like that), yet I saw a Maxtor box on the shelf that had completely plain shrinkwrapping, and no sticker indicating that it had been opened.

Their employees are not very intelligent about the products that they sell, and they are definitely on commission. I once grabbed a $400 item off of the shelf, and I had a new "best buddy" in a sales associate who wanted to ring up my entire purchase before I got to the cash registers (so that it got credited to him).

It also really irritates me on how they insist on looking at your receipt and rifling through your bag when you leave. One time I just walked past the guy, and he was to the point of yelling after me (just, "Sir, sir!"), and following me for a few feet. Another customer asked me why I didn't stop for the Fry's employee, and I politely explained to him that they had no right inspect my bag, and he just didn't seem to care. But, anyway...

I live in the SF Bay Area, and I find myself going to Fry's less and less. There are other smaller stores that have some of the items I am looking for, and I will usually shop there first.

-- Joe

Re:OT: Whats the deal with Fry's? (1)

KirTakat (110620) | about 10 years ago | (#10604395)

YES! Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only person who finds the bag check policy insulting, I understand the idea behind it, but fuck you Fry's, I'm a customer, not a thief, and I can easily take my business someplace else, like online.

Re:Look for Auto Displays (1)

TLSPRWR (711680) | more than 9 years ago | (#10636818)

Sounds stupid, but if you're looking for dirt cheap LCDs 4-7 inches, and aren't too concerned with quality, go to Wal-Mart. Seriously. Go to the auto section and they have some dual LCD kits for cars plus DVD player for like $179.

Car lcds (2, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | about 10 years ago | (#10532148)

LCDs for car installation usually have standard composite or RCA connectors on the back side so they can be flush with seatbacks or on the side for ceiling/dash installations.

Since you have a tv out, these two [] are about the right size.

(note, I'm biased. Feel free to check out someplace else)

Re:Car lcds (2, Informative)

ottothecow (600101) | about 10 years ago | (#10541685)

The key is to not search for the car LCD's but search for the LCD's used by people installing carputers.

They all prefer VGA to composite (which sucks from a PC) and they know what screens do it (primarily the Liliput and the Xenarc (sp?)).

Another bonus, is they have already done a lot of work figuring out how to creatively mount the screens in different configurations (everything from flush with a surface to flip ups)

lilliput? (5, Informative)

complete loony (663508) | about 10 years ago | (#10532149)

Here's one [] , 7" 800x480 seems to be available all over the place (review [] ).

Re:lilliput? - some details (1)

Hyperbolix (214002) | about 10 years ago | (#10538575)

FYI, this is also offered with touchscreen and an 8 inch version is also available. Also, its important to mention a few things:

- The display uses OLED technology, which has a shorter lifetime than certain other LCD panel technologies.

- The viewing angle is 40/60(Up/Down), 60/60(Left/Right).

- This is not a flip up, but I thought it was cool cause its touchscreen and is inexpensive.

- It's made in China.

I'm looking at a similar project, and I had decided on using a touchscreen on a small arm like this. So I can grab it and move it around and tap it... like in the matrix (not really).

I was not able to acquire the information about viewing angle any way but by emailing the manufacturer. That information is valuable.


Re:lilliput? - some details (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10546232)

Hold it. I thought OLED displays didn't have viewing angle issues. Are you sure about that?

Re:lilliput? (1)

coconutstudio (446679) | about 10 years ago | (#10579085)

I have this (7" liliput) for my car-puter. It has VGA input, comes with car 12v adapter & AC Adapter, has touch-screen (although I rarely use it), and resolution is fairly good. 800x480 native resolution can scale well up to 1024x768. It is tiny and very very portable. I carry it with me along with my tools when fixing other PCs.

Zeia Award []

What about LCD properties (1)

Xife (304688) | about 10 years ago | (#10532151)

I've thought about doing this very thing...

For LAN parties I wouldn't downgrade my well crafted system to a second rate LCD with slow response rates.

My personal thought was to add a baffle to the shuttle case to sufficiently cover/protect the LCD.

I've actually considered going with a non-shuttle case thats Tall, deep and narrow (can't think of brand but similar in shape to the Compaq small form factor PCs)

Good luck, cool system, I had one pieced out at $2500 with matched Corsair and a RADEON All in Wonder 9800 to double it as a PVR when I'm not LANing. Could you post the specs?

Re:What about LCD properties (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | about 10 years ago | (#10535001)

I am the admin of the computer room at the local youth club. Granted, many LCD monitors are rather sluggish and may be good enough for 4D Stunts Driving, but not good enough for hard-code Halo gaming.

*However* (if there wasn't a "however", why would I bother to post?) some LCD's are actually quite good, if you know where to look. I've upgraded the youth club computers in the near past, and I did a fair amount of research before deciding on a LCD monitor (well, six of 'em).

ViewSonic VG710b is what I decided on. Their listed response time is quoted at 16ms. I don't know if they're even still on the market, but I can tell you that for actual, real-world gaming use, these are definitely workable.

Re:What about LCD properties (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | about 10 years ago | (#10558252)

I'm using the SN45GV2 (only difference from V1 is 250W PS instead of 200) with the NForce 2 400 Ultra, running an AthlonXP 3200 OC'd to 2.6GHz, with 1 GB Corsair TwinX Xtra Low Latency matched modules, a Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro 256bit 256 MB, Mitsumi floppy/card reader, NEC 2510 8X DL DVD+/-RW, Linksys 802.11b.

5 seconds on google, but, to be fair.... (1)

CliffH (64518) | about 10 years ago | (#10532192)

.... I've been toying with the idea of doing this myself (have an old v1 SS51G). Try here [] for one of the first LCD mods done (and I still think one of the nicest). Go here [] for a rundown of what you need and how to do it. Beyond these, checkout Suhdian Forums (too lazy to look up the address at the moment) and I'm sure you'll find more.


Re:5 seconds on google, but, to be fair.... (1)

CliffH (64518) | about 10 years ago | (#10532353)

... just to reply to my own post, here [] is a Sudhian's page with an XPC rundown...

Re:5 seconds on google, but, to be fair.... (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | about 10 years ago | (#10558303)

I like that mod, but unfortunately it wouldn't work with my system, as I need the 3.5" bay. I've looked at Suhdian Forums, but unless I missed something, I didn't see anything too useful. That's not really the look I'm going for, anyway. The internals of my system are already quite cramped (even for a Shuttle), and internal mods are basically impossible, which is why I'm going for the flip-up approach.

PSOne and Rotation (3, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | about 10 years ago | (#10532236)

I have three suggestions. The first, as has already been suggested, would be the LCD for the PSOne. It uses standard RCA jacks for video (IIRC) so you shouldn't have a problem. If you're willing to hack up a cable, then you could use ones from other systems too (I'm guessing you're not up to this, don't blame you).

Second is you can get little 640x480 displays on the surplus market that are about the right size (the screens that go in those little LCDs for the consoles). Look around on the Hard|Forums (HardOCP's forums) and you'll find people who have put such things in their cases (might even find guides on how to do it!) These things usually take a standard RCA video input too. That's another thing. Find a LCD you like, and build a frame. Some of those frames (like the one for the PSOne or XBox) are wider than they need to be for asthetic reasons. As for the speakers, you can always attach two little speakers above/below the display or on top of the computer and have 'em "fold down" to the sides of the PC for use.

Third, and possibly most important, is rotation. Have you considered that? If you mount the display on a little thing that would allow you to rotate it 90 degrees for storage (and maybe let you fold it down), then instead of being limited to 8" of width, you could be limited to 8" of height. That means instead of a 8"x6" display (frame included that's 10"), you could have a 10.6"x8" display (frame included that's 13.3"). That is a whole extra 3.3" of screen space, which might make viewing easier. But making the pivot and such (probably mounted at the corner of the display) might not be easy (unless you can find a pre-made one used for something else you can "borrow").

Re:PSOne and Rotation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10533460)

The simplest and most robust way to implement the rotation would be to have the LCD fixed to the case, but have some system for rotating the whole case.

As a bit of an off-the-wall suggestion, perhaps you could try putting it on the desk facing to the right rather than straight towards you. This requires no extra parts whatsoever.

I have considered applying for a patent on "using space more efficiently by means of rotating objects to fit better", but I am afraid Tetris might constitute prior art.

Slashdot sorta covered this, oh, a year or two ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10532301)

The question someone asked Slashdot was about small computer screens, like the type that fit inside a standard 5-1/4" bay, then slide out and flip up/down. Search through the old postings here to find it.

Re:Slashdot sorta covered this, oh, a year or two (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10532432)

about 19 months ago: LCD Displays That Fit In A 5.25" Drive Bay? [] (about 15 seconds to look this up, slacker parent poster)

Re:Slashdot sorta covered this, oh, a year or two (1)

pangloss (25315) | about 10 years ago | (#10544354)

hey thanks, that's just what i was looking for; well, as far as subjects go. still haven't found a slide-out lcd that fits in a 5.25 bay.

i imagine this is just for (perceived) lack of market. it's not as if there aren't similar displays used in in-car dash systems.

Re:Slashdot sorta covered this, oh, a year or two (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | about 10 years ago | (#10558592)

Well, I'd say it's the follow up poster who's lazy here. Either didn't read my question, or didn't read the article he linked to. First, this requires an available 5.25" bay, and that is not an option for a shuttle, unless you omit the optical drive, but who would do that? Second, why would I want a screen so small it could fit into a 5.25" bay anyway? The method I'm interrested in is mounting it ON TOP of the case, so it can flip up. This would allow me to use a screen that was a couple of inches wider, or alternately one that had integrated speakers (however crappy). Finally, the author of the posting you pointed to is lamenting the lack of availability of such a device, and no one seems to be able to point him to anything useful. So thanks for your insightful help, but next time, read the article you point to, not just the title.

yes - the ones you talk about. (3, Interesting)

bagofcrap (260283) | about 10 years ago | (#10532316)

While a specific display isn't cited, most of the porta-console displays will take an RCA input (at least my PsOne screen does). Some of the nicer ones will take s-video. The solution to the ugly bit in the front? As a slashdotter, take that screen apart and remount it on custom hardware, everworkable wood or a very slick custom fiberglass mount. Fiberglass is surprisingly workable with smaller sizes. As long as your reworking it, the RCA input can probably be made nicer. If that sounds like too much effort, you could always unscrew it, cut off the plastic bit and the connector, and just leave the parts required for the screen to work. My problem is I want to flip the horizontal orientation of the display, so its a mirror image. I have yet to find an easy solution to that.

Re:yes - the ones you talk about. (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 10 years ago | (#10533999)

I presume you want to do some sort of heads up display where you are looking through a 'transparent and reflective' surface, both at the screen and at the road.

If you can work with a CRT, all you need to do is flip either the vertical or horizontal leads to the CRT. All well and good except be careful about the high voltages within the housing you have to get into to do that. It can really ruin your day, and then some.

With a bitmapped display, you could rewrite the display drivers and subtract the horizontal position value from the max screen width, or if you wanted to flip vertically, the vertical value from the current screen vertical resolution.

Note that this will play havoc with overlay modes, so if you are going to throw the output of a video camera, or video capture card on the screen, you are probably going to run into some serious problems. The overlain video is probably not going to get flipped, and will very likely be positioned wrong. The other major issue would be if you are using sub-pixel drivers. This should not be a problem if you are using a TV out driver, but for those thinking about directly driving a flat pannel, it's something to be concerned about. You will probably have to tell the drivers to flip the rgb sequence as well.

If all else fails, and you are doing your own grapics for letters and numbers, you could always write the app to flip it's output horizontally or vertically. If you have a fast enough system you could even display to a virtual screen, and use a screen grabber to capture an image, flip it via a gimp or other graphic manipulation scrip, and throw that image up onto the user screen. If you can do this every 30th of a second, it will appear as if you are outputting to the user screen directly.

If you have access to plenty of money, you could even pick up several lcd flat panels and start a chip fab to flip the video in and output it to one of those screens. That sounds like more than I am comfortable with, but really all an lcd display is (at the level we are talking about here) is a I/O processor using the lcd screen as a memory storage array. If you can access the processor and tell it to flip either the vertical or horizontal storage addresses for the screen, you won't need to modify anything on the PC, other then possibly telling the sub-pixel driver that the rgb orientation is different.

As a side note for those considering just rotating a display (changing from landscape to portriate) check into the xwindows feature for screen rotation. It may provide you the capabilities you are looking for, even if it means you need to use xnest as a full screen output system. This may also be handy for creating a psuedo tablet system.


Mad Catz 7" Universal Game Screen (1)

b4k4 (692241) | about 10 years ago | (#10532350)

Mad Catz has a 7" screen that connects to a S-Video or composite video output. It's designed to fit a PS2, GameCube, or XBox, but you could probably modify the bracket to fit on your system. It's not cheap at US$199, but it might be what you're looking for. ?product_id=6080 []

7" high res portable (2, Informative)

monopole (44023) | about 10 years ago | (#10532465) has a very nice 7" widescreen display
VGA and Composite (AV) inputs
Screen Size: Diagonal 7" 15:9 Aspect Ratio; Supported Resolution: 1024 x 768 (HxV); Dot Resolution: 2400(H) x 480(V) = 1,152,000 (dots); Display Brightness (w/ Touchscreen): 280 cd/m2; Touch Screen Interface: USB port; Operating Voltage: DC 11-13V; Power Consumption: 9W; Dimensions: 188mm x 125mm x 33mm; Weight: 0.55Kg 03

You're in luck (-1, Troll)

aztektum (170569) | about 10 years ago | (#10532516)

I know the perfect solution for this. There's a few companies that make them but these 2 have some nice products that will really fill the role nicely.

Option 1 []

Option 2 []

Re:You're in luck (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | about 10 years ago | (#10558463)

Wow, that could almost have been funny if someone else hadn't already mentioned the same thing about 5 times. If I wanted a notebook, I'd get one. As I explained in my original post, I'm trying to use a very portable desktop system. Why? More easily (and less expensively) upgradable and more powerful (unless you really want to pay an extra $1000 for a notebook with equivalent specs).

why not (2, Interesting)

krymsin01 (700838) | about 10 years ago | (#10532575)

be the first with a projecter modded into your case. That way you don't have to worry about flipping up the lcd, and you can project doom3 onto the sides of barns, etc.

Why didn't you buy an iBook? (1, Insightful)

Nice2Cats (557310) | about 10 years ago | (#10533030)

It is too late now, but to anybody who finds themselves in a situation like this: Buy a 12" iBook or PowerBook and avoid these kind of headaches. So far, my experience has been that attaching any external monitor is a difficult as plugging the damn thing in -- "It just works" indeed.

Note that I am a Linux person at heart and have my gripes with Apple -- the stupid spanning block in the iBooks, for example -- but this is one thing they do very, very well.

Re:Why didn't you buy an iBook? (1)

biglig2 (89374) | about 10 years ago | (#10533289)

Well, there are two possible reasons why he hasn't bought an ibook.

a) He's so incredibly stupid that he's never heard of laptops.

b) He needs a portable desktop because a laptop doesn't meet his requirements.

Oh, wait, pardon my sarcasm, re-reading your post I realise you haven't read his post, and so are answering a different question. Sorry.

Re:Why didn't you buy an iBook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10533712)


C) He can't fucking play Doom 3 at lan parties on a Mac.

All you need to know is... (2, Informative)

sweede (563231) | about 10 years ago | (#10533352)

more LCD display options than you can shake a stick at.

Here's your answer (2, Informative)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 10 years ago | (#10534869)

Re:Here's your answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10607540)

That thing's got better resolution than my flatscreen at work. Jeez.

Hackaday (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10536159) [] had a mod of a $40 joystick with 2" LCD display for use with a Media Center PC a few days ago (look in the archives)- I bet you could do something with that (and it seems to use standard connectors to boot).

Waht did you build this for? (2, Informative)

cr0sh (43134) | about 10 years ago | (#10537865)

Were you wanting this to do actual work (coding and such), or just to play games? The answer will affect what screen and input type you need. Standard composite or s-video will not be enough (unless your screen is lower-res 640x480) to do any serious work with - but it would be ok for game playing (though icon text and the like will be difficult to read). Finally, if it hasn't been mentioned already, get in contact with these guys [] - they will be able to help you with your problems and needs.

A little late? (2, Informative)

Jozer99 (693146) | about 10 years ago | (#10542521)

I don't know if I'm a little late to post, but I think the best solution would be a 7.2" touch screen. You can buy these on eBay for under $300 (I hope money was not a concern in this project). They have VGA connections, hence a much sharper and higher resolution picture than anything you will get with S-Video or composite. I can tell you that running a PC off TV resolution is unbearable for anything but watching movies or music visualizers. They also have a nifty USB touch screen, great for when you have these things on the road, and you want to set it up without trying to get your mouse to work on your leg.

Still don't understand these... (4, Interesting)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | about 10 years ago | (#10542982)

My friend mike just built a shuttle machine, I don't get why.

He doesn't use it for games, because he doesn't play games. It cost 50% more than a comperable standard computer, it has less upgradability, and theres no room to add alot of add in cards.

PLUS! He already had a good laptop. He did it because he "wanted a desktop, but one like his laptop". What the hell does that mean?

Re:Still don't understand these... (1)

Raptor CK (10482) | about 10 years ago | (#10556714)

Space requirements, really. Maybe he didn't want a large desktop cluttering up his home. Also, Shuttle systems tend to come with some fairly intelligent bells and whistles which won't always be available for other desktops. Front panel ports, memory card readers, integrated bluetooth and wifi.

Admittedly, I went up a notch to the Antec Aria case, which is large enough to support 3 cards, but the concept remains the same. You get a lot more room to store things *other* than computers, and you're generally not sacrificing much in the way of usability when it's done right.

Re:Still don't understand these... (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | about 10 years ago | (#10558621)

These things are great! It's got the power of a desktop, almost as portable as a laptop (with the right accessories, of course. That's what I'm working on here), it has more upgrade potential than a laptop, and chicks dig it 'cause it's "cute".

Sony branded PS1 LCD hack (1)

b_nom (750026) | about 10 years ago | (#10544687)

You can do this hack [] there's also a couple of links in that page for other brands of PS1 LCDs.

Portable DVD player (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10554004)

I use a portable (AMW) DVD player with my PS/2. Has line in for audio/video and works great in the car. My daughter uses it to watch movies and when we get to where we're going she uses it to play the PS/2. The only problem is converting the proper format. Just a thought.

7" VGA LCD (1)

Zathraskun (580270) | about 10 years ago | (#10595913)

Here is where I bought my LCD [] for my carputer project. Im sure it wouldnt be too hard to rig up something to your case to support this LCD.
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