Introduction Newbie looking to build boat computer

sailingwriter

What's an ITX?
Original poster
Jul 11, 2019
1
0
Hello - I've never built a computer before, but I think I can do it cheaper than the off-the -shelf versions of what I want.

My husband and I live full time on our boat, and we cruise world-wide. We are in the process of building a new boat and instead of using marine chart plotters, we are going to have our navigation system entirely PC-based. We are using Time-Zero software which allows for use on 4 monitors simultaneously, so that is my first spec.

Our boat is a 24-volt boat powered by solar panels and batteries, and while we have inverters, it would be more efficient to run the PC as all the other electronics on the boat directly from the 24 volt system. I've found a source for the power supply, but it is pricey. https://www.powerstream.com/DC-PC-24V-500.htm.

The folks at Time-Zero tell me that I need at least an i7, 16 GB ram and a high quality graphics card. They have directed me to this industrial computer company http://www.vecow.com/dispPageBox/vecow/VecowCP.aspx?ddsPageID=ECS-4500_EN&. I can't find any prices for these online, but my experience with these ruggedized industrial computers is that by the time you get all the bits, the run upwards of $3K. As on this marine site https://www.argonautcomputer.com/collections/rugged-mini-pc-s.

Our ship's computer will be in a location that will not see sun or sea, so there's no reason to get a ruggedized version. We have space for a full sized tower, but I would prefer a mid-size or smaller form factor if I can swing it. I'd like to see If I can build something for around $1200.

One big question I have is the regarding the size of that DC power supply. What size case would it fit in and in what ways does it limit the rest of the build?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Regards,
Christine
 

RogueLeader

Chassis Packer
Oct 11, 2017
20
0
Hello - I've never built a computer before, but I think I can do it cheaper than the off-the -shelf versions of what I want.

My husband and I live full time on our boat, and we cruise world-wide. We are in the process of building a new boat and instead of using marine chart plotters, we are going to have our navigation system entirely PC-based. We are using Time-Zero software which allows for use on 4 monitors simultaneously, so that is my first spec.

Our boat is a 24-volt boat powered by solar panels and batteries, and while we have inverters, it would be more efficient to run the PC as all the other electronics on the boat directly from the 24 volt system. I've found a source for the power supply, but it is pricey. https://www.powerstream.com/DC-PC-24V-500.htm.

The folks at Time-Zero tell me that I need at least an i7, 16 GB ram and a high quality graphics card. They have directed me to this industrial computer company http://www.vecow.com/dispPageBox/vecow/VecowCP.aspx?ddsPageID=ECS-4500_EN&. I can't find any prices for these online, but my experience with these ruggedized industrial computers is that by the time you get all the bits, the run upwards of $3K. As on this marine site https://www.argonautcomputer.com/collections/rugged-mini-pc-s.

Our ship's computer will be in a location that will not see sun or sea, so there's no reason to get a ruggedized version. We have space for a full sized tower, but I would prefer a mid-size or smaller form factor if I can swing it. I'd like to see If I can build something for around $1200.

One big question I have is the regarding the size of that DC power supply. What size case would it fit in and in what ways does it limit the rest of the build?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Regards,
Christine

i would recommend this computer case instead, because its power supply is 600W, but its much quieter - https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/z-case-p50-premium-console-sized-7-9l-case-available-on-www-z-cases-com.6643/

why not have 100W extra, if its noise is less ??
 

Stevo_

Airflow Optimizer
Jul 2, 2015
283
166
Last edited:

EndEffeKt

Trash Compacter
Mar 23, 2019
51
10
I am not much of an expert for hdplex so i leave that to the other folks arround here.
I think the case is a matter of personal preference, but lets talk about how much horsepower you need.
Does the cpu have to be intel for software issues or could maybe a ryzen 2600 for arround 170 dollars do the job aswell?
Does the company specify "high quality gpu"? Or does the software state some minimum requirements? Because in your case it might be beneficial to use a low power consuming component like a gtx 1050.

Regards
Jan

Edit: I just checked the webpage of Timezero and the minimum specs for TZprofessional are met by an average email-machine. Cpu i5 4. Gen and intel hd4400.
So you would need the cheapest gpu that has enough ports to run your monitors. Do you absolutely need 4 simultaneously or would an ultrawide or two be possible too?
 
Last edited:

W4RR10R

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jan 29, 2019
138
135
I would go with a build like this:
-R5 2600 (as long as the software doesn't require an intel cpu)
-B450 mITX motherboard
-1050ti (gigabyte makes a lp version with 4 outputs) ask them to clarify "high end gpu"
-storage of your choice
-HDPlex 200w (should work directly off your 24v system)
 

W4RR10R

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jan 29, 2019
138
135
After looking at the hardware requirements for time-zero

AMD 2400G(built-in graphics much stronger than Intel HD4000 series iGPU)
B450 motherboard 16GB 3000 C16 RAM
Daisy chain 4 monitors up to 1980x1080 over displayport
M.2 SSD
HDPlex 200W


or something like this for $650 pre-loaded ready to go

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-004R-00198?Description=ryzen 5 2400ge&cm_re=ryzen_5_2400ge-_-9SIA65C93P3046-_-Product
I did some reading and apparently the ryzen desktop apus only support 3 monitors.

Here is another build, would still need a case and the HDPlex 200w.

PCPartPicker Part List: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/PZrcWD

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6-Core Processor ($139.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock - Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($118.90 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial - P1 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($59.89 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: AMD - Radeon Pro WX 4100 4 GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $613.66
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-11 16:45 EDT-0400
 

EndEffeKt

Trash Compacter
Mar 23, 2019
51
10
May I ask why you choose a Radeon pro wx 4100? Couldnt an RX 570 do the same for 100 dollar less?
Is power consumption better?

Edit: Oh and if a recommendation for a case is needed: Fractal Node 202 could be an affordable option.
 

W4RR10R

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jan 29, 2019
138
135
May I ask why you choose a Radeon pro wx 4100? Couldnt an RX 570 do the same for 100 dollar less?
Is power consumption better?

Edit: Oh and if a recommendation for a case is needed: Fractal Node 202 could be an affordable option.
Well I would have suggested a wx 3200 but its not being released until Q3.

Anyway the WX4100 (aswell as the wx3200) is single slot low profile with no pcie power connector, most importantly 4 mini DP. Its also 168mm long.

So with the m.2 drive and HDPlex 200w everything could fit in a case not much larger than the motherboard itself.
 

Goatee

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jun 22, 2018
173
261
You may want to challenge those system specs: source

The following system requirements must be fulfilled to run TZ Navigator:
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 SP1, or Windows® 8.1 or Windows® 10
  • CPU 1.5 GHz
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Video Board:
    • Minimum - Intel HD Graphic Chipset
    • Recommended - Dedicated Video Board with 1 GB VRAM or Intel HD 4th generation or above
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 or higher (1280 x 800 or above recommended)
  • Hard Disk: 30 GB of free space
  • USB or Serial Port for connecting instruments via NMEA0183, Actisense USB NGT-1 for connecting instruments via NMEA2000 or 100 Base-T Network Adapter for Furuno Ethernet Sensors

The following system requirements must be fulfilled to run TZ Professional:
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 SP1, Windows® 8.1 or Windows® 10 (64-bit operating system)
  • CPU 2 GHz Intel® Core™ i5 4th generation or equivalent
  • 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • Video Board:
    • Minimum - Intel HD4400 Graphic Chipset (i5 4th generation with HD4400 or above)
    • Recommended (for PBG and Multi monitor) - Dedicated Video Board with 1GB VRAM
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 X 768 or higher (1280 x 800 or above highly recommended)
  • Hard Disk: 40 GB of free space
  • USB or Serial Port for connecting instruments via NMEA0183, Actisense USB NGT-1 for connecting instruments via NMEA2000 or 100 Base-T Network Adapter for Furuno Ethernet Sensors
 

eiselx86

Trash Compacter
Oct 23, 2017
35
12
I'd suggest getting an intel low tdp processor (ex i7-8700T) and a workstation card like someone already mentioned.
 

W4RR10R

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jan 29, 2019
138
135
You may want to challenge those system specs: source

The following system requirements must be fulfilled to run TZ Navigator:
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 SP1, or Windows® 8.1 or Windows® 10
  • CPU 1.5 GHz
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Video Board:
    • Minimum - Intel HD Graphic Chipset
    • Recommended - Dedicated Video Board with 1 GB VRAM or Intel HD 4th generation or above
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 or higher (1280 x 800 or above recommended)
  • Hard Disk: 30 GB of free space
  • USB or Serial Port for connecting instruments via NMEA0183, Actisense USB NGT-1 for connecting instruments via NMEA2000 or 100 Base-T Network Adapter for Furuno Ethernet Sensors

The following system requirements must be fulfilled to run TZ Professional:
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 SP1, Windows® 8.1 or Windows® 10 (64-bit operating system)
  • CPU 2 GHz Intel® Core™ i5 4th generation or equivalent
  • 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • Video Board:
    • Minimum - Intel HD4400 Graphic Chipset (i5 4th generation with HD4400 or above)
    • Recommended (for PBG and Multi monitor) - Dedicated Video Board with 1GB VRAM
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 X 768 or higher (1280 x 800 or above highly recommended)
  • Hard Disk: 40 GB of free space
  • USB or Serial Port for connecting instruments via NMEA0183, Actisense USB NGT-1 for connecting instruments via NMEA2000 or 100 Base-T Network Adapter for Furuno Ethernet Sensors
Lower them?
 

Stevo_

Airflow Optimizer
Jul 2, 2015
283
166
I did some reading and apparently the ryzen desktop apus only support 3 monitors.
I've read the 2400g will support up to 6 daisy-chaining, not sure I believe that because it only has 4 display controllers. only place I've read 3 is for some 300 series Arock boards using VGA + HDMI + DP

Edit: Some more digging, from one source apparently the laptop version(3700U/3750H) will do 4 displays but a limitation of the AM4 socket keeps the 4th display controller 4 being pinned out in the 2400G so it will only support 3 displays despite having the 4 display controllers. Still have seen no other corroboration.

Edit2: I think the answer that was provided in the Reddit by the alleged AMD guy misunderstood the question. Yes the maximum number of display interfaces is 3 so at the discrete graphical outputs something like 1) VGA or DVI, 2) HDMI, and 3) Displayport (fairly typical). Displayport daisy chaining only depends on the DP 1.2 or 1.4 bandwidth(and cables as well) and how the bandwidth gets split per monitor so it should be possible to run 4 at lower resolution. I think the max of 6 monitors that I read was based solely off of the DP 1.4 spec.

So for DP 1.2, using all 1080 monitors will be on the edge

Display resolutionMaximum number of monitors
1680 x 10505
1920 x 10803 or 4
2560 x 16002
3840 x 2160 (UltraHD, 4K)
or
4096 x 2160 (4K x 2K)
1
 
Last edited:

ermac318

Airflow Optimizer
Mar 10, 2019
233
173
I've worked enough in IT that when people say "you need a big beefy machine for this" and they aren't a well-known 3D or Graphics Design company, they are usually full of shit. Looking at the system requirements posted above, they probably haven't been updated in several years, considering they are recommending a 4th Gen Intel processor or newer (4th gen being 5+ years old at this point). Only the reference to Windows 10 places this as recently as 2015.

Go with a low power ~35W CPU like suggested above and a graphics card with enough outputs (or enough DisplayPort hubs/monitors with hubs) to get to your desired number of screens.
If you don't need more than 2 screens, just get a Ryzen 2400G and call it a day.
 

EndEffeKt

Trash Compacter
Mar 23, 2019
51
10
To sum it up:
You will not need 1200 dollars.
If you want to use 4 displays simultaneously a workstation card like that Radeon wx pro 4100 and pair it with a ryzen 2600 or 1600. For lower power consumption choose an intel chip with the T suffix.
Even more cost efficient is the Ryzen 2400g with integrated grafics, but not able to run 4 monitors. You will need a motherboard with display outputs then.

Pair one of these options up with a 500 gb ssd, your 16 gb ddr4 3000 ram, a psu solution using your 24v input and a case that suits your style.
 
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Choidebu

King of Cable Management
Aug 16, 2017
805
771
Love the project!

While peeps have reccomended hdplex 200W to budget for power, I'd say you get the hdplex 400W and power all your monitors with it.

One thing of concern that hasn't been brought up though: what's your strategy to combat accelerated corrosion and rust due to running electronics in salty, humid air? Conformal coating? Dessicants? Just seal it in dashboard somewhere? Passive/fanless case?

The jury is out there about the effect on general, sealed consumer electronics, but running a fairly perforated PC case with warm components inside seems to me like a recipe for low life expectancy. Condensation, salt deposits and all.
 

W4RR10R

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jan 29, 2019
138
135
So Ive been looking for monitors with 24v external power supplies, to complete the setup, but all I can find is 12 and 19. Anyone have suggestions?