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Advice: laptop vs. desktop based carputer

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  • Advice: laptop vs. desktop based carputer

    Okay so here are my requirements, loosely:
    -serial GPS ideally powered almost all the time from car battery for quick fix
    -1 or 2 VGA outputs, 1 or 2 RCA outputs for multiple monitors
    -able to run for quite some time on battery power
    -700mhz minimum
    -256 RAM minimum
    -minimal footprint (will likely use XPe for this)
    -suspend to RAM with a long-term hibernation (via ACPI)
    -multiple audio inputs

    For a little while I considered using a laptop because it would simplify the power situation, but now that I want multiple audio and video, I think it's going to be a desktop. I am just afraid of the power it will drain when I use it with the car off. Maybe I will just get a second yellow top and be done with it. That's a more appealing option than having a lot of peripherals added to a laptop.
    2003 supercharged cop car - dual core Atom, Xenarc 705TSV, ampie +M2-ATX - done

  • #2
    forget serial in any new laptop they just dont have them anymore
    you will get one VGA out and one RCA out on many laptops just use a spilitter if you need more I dont think a desktop would be any better for this.
    Laptop has its own battery desktop doesnt plus a laptop is usually well under 90w if it isnt working hard.
    Hibernation doesnt suspend to ram thats standby
    Multiple audio as in what way, why do you need multiple in?
    you can get cards that do this but they are pretty high end usually and expensive.
    with everything that you want even if you went with a VIA board your going to end up with something pretty power hungry with all the cards and stuff, course if your happy with everything showing the same stuff its a lot simpler just use spliters. If your looking for multiple video outputs showing different things I think your in trouble with a 700mhz processor, your going to need a load more than that.
    Personally I would say 256 ram isnt going to cut it either as thats the minimum for XP much better with 512 or more
    Visit my site V8 Scimitar

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    • #3
      I am using the Compaq Ipaq SSF Pent III 1 GHZ. It working well. I am about to upgrade the power supply to the Opus 150. I started with a laptop but it was easier to work with the desktop as far as upgrades.


      • #4
        I have some radio stuff, mostly receivers, that I would like to pipe in to the computer for audio mixing. Of course then the problem is that I need to have the computer on to get this mixing. It would make more sense to have an external mixer, but then I can't easily control it via computer. Oy decisions!

        I would like the video outputs to show different things. I think having one VGA and one RCA would be enough. The VGA would be for maps and RCA for music. I would like an extra VGA optional for engine tuning/logging, but maybe I should do that with a separate laptop. More decisions!

        I think at this point I am just going to use some of the spare parts I have lying around and my PCPC DC/DC to build a simple desktop and then run it off my second battery with a DIY isolator. If the power drain gets too high or I can't get ACPI standby/STR to work properly, I'll think about a laptop.

        I think 256 ram will be enough for a stripped down XPE though.

        Thanks for the advice!
        2003 supercharged cop car - dual core Atom, Xenarc 705TSV, ampie +M2-ATX - done


        • #5
          I'm using 192 megs in TinyXp right now and its fine.

          He stated 700mhz minimum so any laptop in that range will have a serial port, and he can always add a card bus one if not.


          • #6
            I'm using a tablet laptop for simpe mp3, video and navigation. Nothing else (for now)... Since I am lazy and cheap (two of the worst things in the universe that came together), I wanted a solution I didnt have to spend a lot of money on (meaning like extra touch screen, etc).

            If you can find an external unit to connect all of your audio to, a laptop may work in your case but as Thrrrive said, they are definitely a ****** and a half to upgrade in terms of components. Pretty much everything you want for it has to be external and connected via USB, Bluetooth or PC CARD or PCMCIA....
            - sh00k
            Duct tape and a Bandana for the win, b!shes!!!

            My Setup:

            Cost so far: Less than a grand ;]

            Economy/Commuter cars + Computers = many entertained miles


            • #7
              I think , this is good choice for you


              with additional notebook-hardware ( slim-dvd and hardrive) your system will consume around 5-6 ampers during divx playback ( as my Epia do). Than your fully charged 50Ah battery ( until reach 50% level) stand supply power for 5 hours and still you will be able to start car.
              "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."


              • #8

                I had the same problem, i was not sure if i should to with laptop or desktop (aka mini computer) . when it came down to it i decided to go with the laptop for many reasons. with todays laptops they are easy to upgrade memory wise and harddrive. i am runing 802.11 wireless network in mine usb connection i have a GPS adapter also USB and i have my touch screen and my crackberry connected so i can surf the web and check my e mail when ever i want also runing all the sound to my car bose system in a nissan 350z . what you should be really think about is how much time are u going to be spending in the car? my laptop set up i can view movies play all my mp3's and i have a bluetooth adapter hooked up to it and my phone is connected i can answer my phone using the touch screen and hear the caller through the stereo system and i just use a mic to talk into on the side of head rest. i drive a total 100 miles a day for my job 5 days a week that for me really is a good set up anything more then that you really should be at home and chillen at your desk