11 January 2006
Testing the EPIA MII-12000 in an open testbed
I had some spare time this evening and got around to setting up the system in an open testbed environment. I figured this would save some time, rather than having to install the board into a micro-ATX case and then removing it again once the final choice of mini-ITX case is made.
I'm currently trying Windows 2000 SP3 in the testbed stage, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the EPIA MII-12000's performance under Windows 2000. Currently the system is pretty bare. I have installed the chipset drivers, along with the drivers for onboard audio, lan, usb, firewire, and video.
I've installed TweakUI from the Windows 2000 PowerToys kit. This allows me to get to the desktop without being prompted for a username and password, adding to the hands-free usability of the overall system environment. Once RoadRunner is installed, I'll configure it to enter directly into the RoadRunner environment on bootup, bypassing the desktop entirely.
Testing a fullscreen vis voiceprint/spectrum analyzer
I've installed WinAmp 2.7 (I can't stand newer versions of WinAmp) and have done some preliminary tests for sound quality and fullscreen visualization responsiveness. The EPIA board handles the Geiss plugin almost flawlessly, which was another nice surprise. I don't plan to run the Geiss Vis on the actual system, but it's nice to know this little board can handle it. The plugin in the attached photo is a fullscreen voiceprint analyzer and spectrum analyzer, which is probably one of the visualizations I'll include in the final install.
I've also installed Alcohol 120% v1.9.5 (Build 2802). I plan to use Alcohol 120% only for its ability to create virtual cd-rom drives. I've set it up with five virtual drives so far. This way I can create images of my GPS Map discs, and mount them virtually on the system. This will allow me to run multiple different GPS Mapping applications, while only having to switch from one mounted disc to another. Additionally, the fact that they'll be running from virtual cd-rom drives means they'll be a lot faster than reading maps from a cd-rom.
The machine has, admittedly, very little software installed on it to this point (I still have to install the actual GPS apps, RoadRunner, and possibly a DVD player), but the system currently goes from a cold boot to the desktop in approx 15 seconds, which isn't too bad. It shuts down from desktop to off in about 4 seconds.
I might try Windows 98Micro (http://www.litepc.com/98micro.html) on this board to see how well it fares, though I worry about compatibility issues primarily with modern GPS apps running under a stripped down version of Windows 98. The nice thing about 98Micro, however, is that people have reported going from cold boot to desktop in under 8 seconds, which would be very nice indeed.
Note: Be sure to read the follow-up article in which the mini-itx system is fully wired and running from a car battery, simulating the vehicle environment and ignition states.
or, What my speakers are currently pumping...
Talamasca - Illusion World
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Acura, mini-ITX, carputer, MII-12000, EPIA, GPS, mobile, car computer, RoadRunner, testbed