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Looking for feedback on project idea and it´s combination of non-conventional hardware

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys,

I´ve been planning my two next projects for a while now.

The first project is a desk integrated file server which I wont talk about as it´s got nothing to do with this thread and is a small project.

The second project however which will be my next "main" project (by main meaning that it´ll become my day to day pc).

Hardware aside (I will use my current hw, 2700k,16gbddr3, ssds, 2xgtx560,blabla etc) the point of this thread is to ask, not only if any of you have done the following but if you have feedback or suggestions on the idea and well, if it would actually work.

The idea is the following. Aside from the main hardware I was thinking of integrating within the pc case one of these android based mini-pcs (the ones that look like oversized pendrives) (with ubuntu for triplehead support), a matrox triplehead2go digital edition and a "don´t remember the name, the device used to switch between two computers using the same monitor" which for the sake of naming the device within this post, I will name it "Xthingie".

Questions, obviously I would have to connect the gpu through dvi to the matrox triplehead within the case, which would imply the dvi cable going from outside (connected to the gpu) to inside of the case (I´m not to worried about this), however, would the signal deteriorate by adding Xthingie between the gpu and matrox triplehead? the android minipc would also be within the case, connected to the xthingie and therefore to the matrox triplehead as well, to achieve this I will need to find an HDMI female to DVI and Stereo jack (but male to dvi and stereo or male to vga and stereo and from there use vga to dvi would do, sure it means more adaptors but I dont even know if female HDMI to DVI+Stereo jack exists) to clarify, stereo jack is to be able to have sound on the android minipc which streams sound through the hdmi port.

Again the stereo cable and usb/ps2 cables would have to go from the inside of the case to the outside, and again I´m not to worried, I can fabricate an external rear cover to blend in to the design I will be using to mod the case (those of you who know my work wth the fallout cause sp or APASF projects know that it wouldn´t be my first time extensivly modifying a case to suit my needs).

Really my main concerns about this all in one integration of the several systems involved is loosing video signal quality, specially considering the video bandwith that goes through the matrox triplehead2go digital edition but that´s not a sure fact, I´m just assuming these facts so do correct me if I´m wrong.

If this is not possible or the video signal does deteriorate. An alternative option would be to look for a small lcd or led touchscreen, ideally not wider than the width of the front of the chassis (though I could work around that and make it look decent if it is wider) and mount it on the front (using space normally asigned to a couple of bays) to which I would connect the android mini pc, and use the matrox triplehead without XThingie in between the GPu and it (though I may still share usb/and ps2 ports for control change between both systems even though it may become somewhat redundant if I go the touchscreen way (which would also mean I would keep android on it, rather than installing ubuntu on it) however I haven´t been able to find a place where to buy such screens, any recommendations?.

Network conectivity on the android minipc doesn´t worry me as it has integrated b/g/n wifi, if the signal gets to deteriorated for being encloded within the main pc case I may get rid of it´s onboard antenna and wire a new one to the back of the main pc (and using a pci bay cover to mount it on, essentially like most pci wifi cards do) but that also depends on signal loss regarding the cable from the android mini pc to the antenna itself.

That about covers the ideas I´ve been throwing about, any help would be much appreciated, cheers guys!
    
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2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
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post #2 of 9
I don't see that using a KVM switch (your X-thingie) should be detrimental to video quality.

What is the purpose of the small built in monitor and mini stick PC? Could you just skip all the extra gear and wiring by sticking an Android tablet in there instead? You'd have a fully standalone device with built in touchscreen, and should be able to switch USB devices over to it via the KVM switch.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Normally thats what I´d thought about the KVM (thanks! was driving me crazy not remembering the name tongue.gif) but figured since the matrox triplehead converts the signal to a massive resolution (1920x1080 times 3) just occured to me that might be an issue, then again I guess it wouldnt matter as the KVM goes before the triplehead and not after so I guess I´m good there.

About the second thing, you´re completly right about adding a tablet (could get one of those small cheapo tablets for the project) but it doesn´t seem as much fun (senseless, perhaps, but just seems like doing it the other way is more fun), also it would mean I need to find a cheapo tablet that also has decent video capabilities and proper video out connection (that also supports 1920x1080 resolution when using the video out connection which not all do) in order to be able to display that system through the triplehead on the times where it´s not just for show on the frontal small screen).. I also like the fact that if I go the frontal screen way I can plug that screen to other devices in the future, should I want to change the internal system (use a different secondary, in-buitl computer like a VIA Pico-ITX).
Edited by Luciel - 1/24/13 at 10:59am
    
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Intel i7 2700K ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z /GEN3 2x ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti TOP 16Gb Kingston DDR3 1866Mhz HyperX 
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2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
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Logitech G105 NZXT HAL90 850w Custom B-Move Slim II A4Tech X7 X710FS 
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Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
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post #4 of 9
So, is the thought of the smaller device to be primarily for playing 1080p video when your main box is shut down? Most cheapo tablets won't push 1080p video. You'd be looking in the $200 refurbished price range, not the $70 disposable range.

I would think the cooler way to go for the tablet would be to use it for displaying system performance, weather, RSS/Twitter feeds, and for doing some other tasks on the main system. You could also use it as a remote controller for XBMC or VLC. There are ready made remote apps for that. Would be cool to use it as a breakaway device when you want to hit the road. Keep some stuff stored on it through some shared folders. When it's undocked, it could lock out the main system. Optionally, be able to VNC into your main system using the tablet, possibly as you undock it.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
originally the idea of the screen in the front (either internal hardware or tablet) was to use as a low power server to leave on at night for downloads (to save on power as my home server uses quite a bit of it so rather not have it on over night)

The android device I have does support 1080p playblack on external device (i.e. my triplehead setup). The front image was for when I´m using the main hardware through my triplehead, to still be able to see what´s going on the android hardware, be it to display system info as you mentioned (specially in big lan events to which I go a lot) or to keep track of torrents and what not. So the point being that while its part for looks, its also functional and I want to, if possible have access to it through my main desktop screens (i.e. kvm) which is why I was thinking more of a standard small screen for the front of the case rather than a tablet (which since I already have the android hardware seems a waste to not use it) the question really is that if it´s possible to buy screens of that size as I haven´t been able to find any :/
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z /GEN3 2x ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti TOP 16Gb Kingston DDR3 1866Mhz HyperX 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
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Logitech G105 NZXT HAL90 850w Custom B-Move Slim II A4Tech X7 X710FS 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z /GEN3 2x ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti TOP 16Gb Kingston DDR3 1866Mhz HyperX 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
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Logitech G105 NZXT HAL90 850w Custom B-Move Slim II A4Tech X7 X710FS 
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post #6 of 9
There are small USB connected screens available. But the cost of them is actually more than a cheaper tablet (which has touch capability and a system behind it). If you're down for some hardware hacking, try looking at gutting a netbook or one of those LCD photo frames for it's screen. Only difficult part is interfacing the hardware. Replacement tablet screens from EBay might also be a good source.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
That thought also crossed my mind, unfortunately I tried in the past (Did an AIO mod once) to interface a normal screen with a laptop screen connectiong and/or a laptop screen with a vga connection. Could never make it work : (
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z /GEN3 2x ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti TOP 16Gb Kingston DDR3 1866Mhz HyperX 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G105 NZXT HAL90 850w Custom B-Move Slim II A4Tech X7 X710FS 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z /GEN3 2x ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti TOP 16Gb Kingston DDR3 1866Mhz HyperX 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
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post #8 of 9
I wonder how much a netbook with a broken hinge would run on EBay... bonus is it already knows how to talk to the screen, and you can easily VNC into it.

I've seen others online working on building a controller to interface VGA to laptop type screens. It's not as simple as it sounds, and way beyond anything I'd tackle. I tend to wonder about what it would take to cut out the video portion of a laptop mobo... usually they have the connection to the laptop screen, but also the VGA connector.

I think the digital picture frame route might be worth a look. Could do something really hacky, and make the Android device push a screen capture every second or two to the external screen as just a .jpg... If you're going to VNC into it for control anyway, just use the external screen as a status display, not for interacting with it. Just a thought.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
It´s definately things I can look in to, and of course as you mentioned, can always connect the screen to the netbook´s mobo via it´s vga port. Again the problem with a netbook mobo is it´s video processing capabilities, so it´s a no go. In order to use a netbook screen for this I would need to interface a netbook screen connection to VGA, which I´ve tried in the past and failed. As you mention, it´s no easy feat to acomplish.

Another option would be to use an in car screen which tend to use RCA connections (which are easylly converted to VGA as far as I know) but those are expensive.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z /GEN3 2x ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti TOP 16Gb Kingston DDR3 1866Mhz HyperX 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G105 NZXT HAL90 850w Custom B-Move Slim II A4Tech X7 X710FS 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700K ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z /GEN3 2x ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti TOP 16Gb Kingston DDR3 1866Mhz HyperX 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
2x Kingston SSD 240Gb HyperX RAID 0 Custom Copper Loop Windows 7 Ultimate x64 3x 22" LED + Matrox Triplehead2Go 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G105 NZXT HAL90 850w Custom B-Move Slim II A4Tech X7 X710FS 
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