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  • Carputer Laptop - New or Used ??

    Hi all and thanks for this Laptop forum,

    I have a VGA screen installed in my dash and tried the setup with a friend's laptop, it works great

    Now, to but a laptop…

    I have an unsolved dilemma in regards to my Laptop – Carputer.
    I would like this laptop to serve me at home, out and about and as a carputer (dock and roll).

    With my setup the Laptop will be mounted almost vertically behind the passenger seat.

    I am debating between a $200-400 X series IBM Thinkpad (i.e X-31)
    (As another option I was thinking of a used Toughbook CF28, as they are build to be kicked around.) And a $600-800 brand new Acer / Toshiba (or equivalent)

    Now, obviously money is an issue or else I wouldn't be here and just bought a BN Toughbook CF19 from the store LOL…

    These are some of the pros/cons from my limited knowledge,
    Please feel free to contribute your opinions / experience to help solve this enormous dilemma LOL

    [HL]Used Thinkpad / Toughbook:[/HL]

    Pros:
    - Good known reliable Thinkpad (I like them)
    - Corporate laptop quality
    - Cradle/ docking stations (for car mount) available and cheap
    - The X series are 12" ultra portable (small, light)
    - More rugged build
    - Immediate cost is lower (about $400)
    - Serial port for ECM scanning

    Cons:
    - Lower performance (Intel M/Centrino 1-1.3Ghz / 512M RAM)
    - Old technology (Video card, wifi, Optical drive etc.)
    - Less modern software support (Games, GPS, etc.)
    - Limited or NO warranty (could be a total loss of $$)
    - Battery is mostly gone or holds 1 hour
    - Win XP only

    [HL]Modern Laptop:[/HL]

    Pros:
    - Higher performance (Intel Duo 1.6/2Ghz / 1G RAM)
    - Modern technology (Video card, wifi, Optical drive etc.)
    - 1-3 year warranty (Can get best buy extensive warranty and repair every issue caused buy carputer usage)
    - New Battery
    - The "new feel"
    - Win Vista support (good or bad?)

    Cons:
    - No docking stations available to consumer models
    - Construction is less rugged
    - Immediate high cost (about $800 with taxes and maybe warranty)
    - Carputer potential damage
    - No Serial port

    There are more and more pros/cons but let's get this thread rolling

    Thanks.
    Fiero Carputer Work Log

  • #2
    Return on Investment

    $400 difference, If you have anything else you'd like to spend it on vs. the return on investing in a $800 system

    Comment


    • #3
      i'd say go used. you don't need all the extra horsepower that a newer lappy would offer, plus an hour of battery life is MORE than enough in a car setup. many just use matx or itx solutions that don't have battery power at all, so you're clear on that end. maybe you could upgrade the RAM situation in the old one, but people can get by on 512 mb. if money is a concearn, i just don't see you getting $400 more bang for your buck in getting the new one.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with the above notes and I'm sure a thinkpad X23 or X31 can deal with MediaEngine and iNav ver3, but since I need this laptop to replace my home PC as well I just don't think an old machine would cut it. If you wanna run any modern software (3D stuff) the 3-4 year old laptops just can't handle it...

        It's starting to dawn on me that I'll have to give up the idea of a machine that does it all Grrrrr... And eventually own 2 units...But it just doesn't make any sense, transferring files on and off a 20-30G thinkpad Carputer...

        Any other options in the $300-400 price tag?

        Anyone running one machine for both home and auto use?

        Thanks.
        Fiero Carputer Work Log

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mister1 View Post
          It's starting to dawn on me that I'll have to give up the idea of a machine that does it all Grrrrr... And eventually own 2 units...But it just doesn't make any sense, transferring files on and off a 20-30G thinkpad Carputer...
          you're right, that doesn't make sense...

          but if you had 2 dedicated systems (1 dedicated carPC and 1 for home/travel use) then I don't see why you would be "transferring files on and off" anyways??? with a dedicated carPC, you put the programs/files you need onto it and then leave it alone. there's no need to constantly transfer back and forth (just add programs/files as you need them). your home PC doesn't need to have anything to do with your carPC, you have them for different purposes.

          F150 Truckputer [1.0] (coming soon!)
          Fusion Carputer [2.0]
          Fusion Carputer [1.0]

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mister1 View Post
            I agree with the above notes and I'm sure a thinkpad X23 or X31 can deal with MediaEngine and iNav ver3, but since I need this laptop to replace my home PC as well I just don't think an old machine would cut it. If you wanna run any modern software (3D stuff) the 3-4 year old laptops just can't handle it...

            It's starting to dawn on me that I'll have to give up the idea of a machine that does it all Grrrrr... And eventually own 2 units...But it just doesn't make any sense, transferring files on and off a 20-30G thinkpad Carputer...

            Any other options in the $300-400 price tag?

            Anyone running one machine for both home and auto use?

            Thanks.
            Since I use mine EVERZYWHERE, I can relate to your dilemma, and a used 2yr old thinkpad can probably be found for under $400. My development machine is a thinkpad T30 that's been thrashed for the last three years. One thing you mentioned above concerns me though, "3D stuff" really needs to be handled via desktop with huge dedicated video memory. $800 isn't gonna getcha even a half decent laptop for 3D. So I'd say you've already made your decision - 2 machines.
            HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ComputerGeek View Post
              why you would be "transferring files on and off" anyways???
              Agreed, mostly the two units will be separated, however if I could have a single laptop that handles all tasks then

              A. You have all your files, songs, videos, contacts with you all the time, whenever wherever, and that's nice
              B. Which is kinda the same, If you just finished downloading some new songs they are already there on your 1 unit, no need to transfer at all. (I know it's not a BIG deal to grab some songs on a USB key, but it's just makes life better, and that's what technology is all about)

              Originally posted by GizmoQ View Post
              "3D stuff" really needs to be handled via desktop with huge dedicated video memory. $800 isn't gonna getcha even a half decent laptop for 3D. So I'd say you've already made your decision - 2 machines.
              No huge 3D stuff here, just some of the modern games it would be nice to be able to use software that was made after 2006 LOL
              Fiero Carputer Work Log

              Comment


              • #8
                as far as keeping the files in sync, if you can get an internet connection you can easily stream any of those files with programs such as orb or hamachi. for me, both of those programs as well as PDAnet (for sharing my cell phone's internet capabilities with the laptop while on the go) have been nothing shy of amazing.

                as far as gaming and laptops, i always kind of chuckle when i hear the newest billing for "gaming lappys"...lol but i know what you mean about using post 2006 software!

                Comment


                • #9
                  if you have a wireless network then you can keep your carPC and homePC syncronized. I believe there are programs (maybe even built into windows?) that you can set up to automatically syncronize two computers via wifi.

                  I have never felt the need to syncronize my computers (because I use them for different purposes) so I have no experience with that type of program. I don't know how easy (or hard) it is to set up.

                  if your goal is to sync your computer files/contacts/etc then it may be worth looking into..
                  F150 Truckputer [1.0] (coming soon!)
                  Fusion Carputer [2.0]
                  Fusion Carputer [1.0]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yep, file sync is an option... After all, I think I'll have to go with a modern laptop to serve my daily computer needs. It will be an ultraportable 12-13 inch most likely if I can afford it.
                    That would serve the car as well, and If I can get my hands of a CHEAP Thinkpad X31 or a Toughbook CF28 then I'll have a separate Carputer unit.

                    Thanks for the comments so far guys. I promise to post pics of the setup when I'll have it running
                    Fiero Carputer Work Log

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      you can buy a used gen2 xps on ebay for around 400 these days

                      they are decent machines but not nearly portable, mine has a 256mb Geforce 6800 ultra and a 17" true life LCD. with at least 2g memory it comes out to work well with 3d rendering and such

                      since i have more then enough desktops and only 1 laptop this has been dedicated to my truck

                      i also find that the more software installed the less stable the machine is and not dependable in your vehicle

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ive got a thinkpad t41 coming in soon that may suit your needs. i ended up getting two thinkpads, an r50 and a t41 from ebay, and obviously only need one. i am leaning towards keeping the r50 cuz its cheaper and selling the t41, so if you are interested, just PM me with what u are looking for and i can see if it would suit your needs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Keep your eye out at bestbuy. They are 99% rebate free, which means they negotiated for instant rebates in their stores. Similar to Walmart, they carry a lot of weight and get what they want.

                          BestBuy $399 laptop normally $599

                          * Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core processor T2310 with 533MHz frontside bus, 1MB L2 cache and 1.46GHz processor speed
                          * 1GB DDR2 memory for multitasking power
                          * Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support records up to 8.5GB of data or 4 hours of video using compatible media
                          They almost every other week have a $399 laptop on sale. Compaq, Toshiba, HP, Acer. All are normally $599 or $649, with $200-250 in instant rebate.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Phatsacks View Post
                            They almost every other week have a $399 laptop on sale. Compaq, Toshiba, HP, Acer. All are normally $599 or $649, with $200-250 in instant rebate.
                            That is cool, but they won't ship to Canada... Grrrrrrrrrrrr
                            Fiero Carputer Work Log

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well...

                              They have BestBuy's in Canada too. You can also use it as a price metric for Future Shop (I think that's what it's called?)

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