20x2 LCD (202-25) ReviewFormer staff writer -
Price: $65 USD
What would be cooler than putting an LCD infront of your case? LCD's can be programmed to show user and system usage, cpu usage, memory usage, hard drives usage, temps of your video cards, cpu, ect.. Only your imagination can limit the possibilities with a Matrix Orbital LCD. Today we are going to look at a Matrix Orbital 16x2 (meaning 16 characters across and a total of 2 rows) LCD.
Installation of the hardware only took me about 5mins. It's very simple to install. First open your case, and find an empty drive bay and install your LCD in it. Then take the (4) screws that came with it and screw into the bracket. Now plug in the power to a molex connector. Next I screwed the pci slot cover (serial cover) into a empty pci bay. Lastly I plugged the serial cable from the serial slot over to the serial port which connects to the motherboard. I then closed my case and booted up. When you boot up you should see the lcd display light up. You can program the lcd with a custom boot message with a program provided on the CD.
Now you have your LCD installed you must now install software so you can communicate with your LCD. The Matrix-Oribtal CD that I received came choc full of programs and documentation. It comes with a great winamp plugin allowing you to display the song thats being played, bitrate, time left, album, ect..
Software on CD-
-AlphaDemo: This program lets you send text to your LCD display. It has Key-press indicators for keypad interface models. Allows you to control the backlight. Plus many other options.
-Change Screen: This program allows you to change the boot screen of the LCD when you first turn on your computer/LCD.
-I/O: This program to switch between keypad and GPO (general purpose output) modes.
-Change Speed: This program can change the RS-232 communication speed. The model I'm reviewing is set default at 19200 so you can use this program to bump it down to 9600 (the speed most programs run at) or you can build your own program to work at 19200.
-Version: This program display's the version, type and serial number of the LCD module you have.
-LCDPlugin/src: This is the winamp plugin as I said earlier. Also it comes with the source codes so that you can change the program to fit your needs.
If you get one of these LCD's you will be the envy of all case modders at your local lan party's. Only programming can limit the possibilities with a LCD. If you got the cash and are looking for something new to spiff up your case then get one of these Matrix Orbital LCD's! I highly recommend them.
*Update* 9/11/01 Well, my LCD burnt up about a month and a half ago. I'm not sure if I was to fault or not, but I sent Matrix Orbital an email to let them know that I need an RMA # to send the LCD back to the factory to be repaired, ect.. Here it is a month and a half later, still haven't recieved any info on it. I'll keep you posted as time goes.
- LCDriver supported
- Looks very cool :)
- You will be the envy of all nerds at your local lan party's
- Can be programmed to do just about anything
- Must know how to program to get full use out of the product (There are alot of programs out there already made though, no programming required)