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  • How many here are using a laptop instead of....

    How many here are actually using a laptop instead of a dedicated CarPC. 30%, 20%, 50%???
    After MUCH debate and anguish, I think I'm going that way. With a core2duo 2.0. Expensive yes, practical a BIG YES! Double duty........it just makes sense to me. Power management is handled.
    Any draw backs?

  • #2
    I started off with a laptop but in the end it just wasn't customizable enough for me.

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    • #3

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      • #4
        I used laptop, but it's a dedicated laptop.
        I used a docking station, so if the car goes to service, I just unplug the laptop.

        very reliable and trouble free (I meant major trouble)
        dsatx in voompc 2 case <HERE>

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        • #5
          I use the laptop as it was a lot easier for me to set up and I don't need to do too much with other than use it for GPS & music ect. I wouldn't mind getting the phone to work through it though.


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          • #6
            Dont even think of using a laptop. Do it right the first time. Get a mini itx or small form factor computer that has a lot of expanability. You will want it in the future.
            A lot of people started with laptop but there are only a few that keep them as there system. As you start your build you will desire upgrades and more features as they become available.
            New Age Garmin - Skin for RR
            New Age Slider - RR SKin In Progress
            "It's called CODE because I don't want you to know"

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            • #7
              A laptop works great, except...

              I use a docking station and a laptop that is always in the car unless I am traveling, and then it clips out and comes with me.

              There are four issues I can identify that will need your consideration:

              1) Power supply and turning the laptop on
              2) Getting 800x480 video to work
              3) Sound card
              4) Mounting

              1) A good power supply is critical to reduce noise introduced to the system, as well as let the computer and accessories work correctly. I use a Kensington 120w auto power supply wired to a power distribution block in the trunk. Other and probably better options are to use the Carnetix 2140 or 1900, either of which provides power for the laptop directly, as well as an additional 5v or 12v lead which will allow you to power your USB hub and soundcard.

              Regardless of the power source, you will have to solder a lead to the power button on either your laptop or dock (will not work with a generic USB dock) to turn the computer's power on. If you have a dock, you will not have to risk drilling and soldering your (more expensive) laptop. I soldered a lead to the power switch on the dock (do a search for this topic) and connected it to a female jack that fit into the hole I drilled in the side of the dock.

              A momentary switch in my dash is wired to the male jack that fits into the socket I affixed to the side of the dock. This allows me to power my lappie on from the dash, as well as hold the power button down for 5 seconds to hard shut it down when it crashes. I have it set to hibernate when the button is pushed for less than 5 seconds.

              2) If you have a 800x480 screen, you may have problems getting your laptop's video out to drive that resolution. I am running 800x600 and cannot really notice, though I guess it is less sharp than it could be. A program called "Powerstrip" may help, but not for my video driver

              3) Most laptops have poor sound quality, not to mention audible interference due to poorly shield internal components. An external USB sound card is a necessity if you want to have quality sound. This is a topic unto itself and your choices run the gamut from a cheap no-name brand USB dongle, to a decent Audigy 2 NX, to USB DACs that provide get sound (at a price).

              4) You will need to secure your setup somewhere. Since I use my laptop for other purposes, I needed a secure, but easily removable setup. I mounted my dock into a plastic case (pistol case from k-mart: $9.99), drilled holes for all the wiring, and cut insulation foam to allow the laptop to fit snuggly, yet be removed. It may take up extra room, but the computer is safe and doesn't risk flying around.

              One day I'll post photos, as I think my install is looking pretty clean, with no stray wires and a pretty good sounding setup. Oh yeah, I can play music, watch DVDs, connect to the internet, run GPS software, and play games while doing 80 mpg


              Good luck

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              • #8
                I'm going the laptop route. Of course, I had a HP ZD7000 dropped in my lap with a problem with the video to the LCD. Otherwise, it's in perfect working order.

                I question one of the previous posters about "doing it properly". My point of view is with a laptop you have most everything you need in a system that is generally more powerful. With USB, Firewire and PCMCIA theres little problem expanding the system.

                If you have the laptop and you're not using it for anything else, then put it in your car. If it's something you're going to be porting back and forth then I'd say get something you can dedicate to the car. If you will be porting then mini-ITX may be the way to go. Personally, had I not already had the laptop I would probably go mini-ITX as the ZD7000 is way over powered for application in a car. If the LCD was working I'd use it in my office. Of course, I have like 4 other P3 laptops laying around that would work well for a carpc environment. I was going to use one before I got the ZD7000. Having the hardware already at hand and considering the cost of a mini-ITX system I'd have a hard time convincing myself NOT to use a laptop.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ThunderStick View Post
                  Dont even think of using a laptop. Do it right the first time. Get a mini itx or small form factor computer that has a lot of expanability. You will want it in the future.
                  A lot of people started with laptop but there are only a few that keep them as there system. As you start your build you will desire upgrades and more features as they become available.
                  what you need is not what I need.
                  I used laptop for months and I don't regret anything about it. Everything a mini-itx do, a laptop setup can do. (if not easier)

                  you can't really upgrade anything on mini-itx either. most had the processor soldered into the board.
                  mini-itx had :
                  pci (for soundcard etc?), laptop can use pcmcia and usb
                  power supply with on/off function, laptop can use cheap dc-dc regulator and auto on/off device scattered out there

                  I don't think anyone should buy a mini-itx if they already had laptop laying around doing nothing. cost effective solution..
                  dsatx in voompc 2 case <HERE>

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RodeoTristan View Post
                    I use the laptop as it was a lot easier for me to set up and I don't need to do too much with other than use it for GPS & music ect. I wouldn't mind getting the phone to work through it though.


                    can't open the link, registration needed.
                    dsatx in voompc 2 case <HERE>

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                    • #11
                      laptop , cause i have a few spare, all p3 500-700 but thats plenty of power to play music/gps/vid/dvd/etc.

                      mini itx was a bit too customised for me, using a docking station i still have the option to use as a laptop.

                      Docking station i have was not a generic one, so has 2 ports to plug addition PCI cards (so can get decent sound out) as well as addition hdds. dock is big though.

                      Go the lappy way on if you have a spare/old lappy.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by skuller View Post
                        can't open the link, registration needed.
                        K Ill sort it thanks for the heads up

                        Edit:







                        Hopefully sorted now

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                        • #13
                          Wel, it really does depend on your intended use.

                          For mp3's and gps with limited sound fidelity, laptop is fine.

                          I prefer being able to swap sound cards and experiment as I use a little bit more........umm.....complex......audio setup. I used a laptop originally but found the usb soundcard options not to my liking and the onboard sound chipsets suck on every laptop you would have "lying around" or would consider hacking for the car.

                          Laptops do have the power and heat issues already taken care of for you though.

                          Just a bit too limiting in other areas for my preference.

                          All depends on your specific needs.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by vfinterceptor View Post
                            Wel, it really does depend on your intended use.

                            For mp3's and gps with limited sound fidelity, laptop is fine.

                            I prefer being able to swap sound cards and experiment as I use a little bit more........umm.....complex......audio setup. I used a laptop originally but found the usb soundcard options not to my liking and the onboard sound chipsets suck on every laptop you would have "lying around" or would consider hacking for the car.

                            Laptops do have the power and heat issues already taken care of for you though.

                            Just a bit too limiting in other areas for my preference.

                            All depends on your specific needs.
                            How long ago did you use the laptop? I believe they have some very nice USB soundcard options now from M-Audio and others that are very sophisticated now. That is if you were using a Laptop some years back!
                            And yeah I'm looking into it being a double duty setup, but primarly for the car with DVD,MP3's,GPS,Internet,E-mail, and maybe TV/Slingbox and thats about it.The system I'm looking at is a high end 14.1" AGear Asus Core2Duo T7200 2.0GHz with a nVidia GeforceGo 7700 w/512MB solid vid ram. On of the things I like about this system also is it has 5 2.0 USB ports.
                            http://store.agearnotebooks.com/asusa8jsprice.html
                            Now I just need to see if it has VGA out for my Xenarc 7" TVS, as all it says in the description is 1 X DVI out.

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                            • #15
                              I use laptops exclusively & I don't find any limitations that can't be worked around, I prefer a laptop board due to it's size & the fact that it is designed & set up to be used in a mobile environment, power efficient,

                              there are really high end firewire soundcards & dac's, so this is not a limiting factor, I am running an apogee mini dac off one, into a dbx driverack, this is about as serious as audio on a pc can get, not a limiting factor there at all...
                              MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                              first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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