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Planning and Acquisition

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  • Planning and Acquisition

    Not sure where to start, so I will just jump in.

    As stated, I am in the planning and acquisition stages of my first car PC. I am an IT guy by nature, so home computers are NBD. However, car computers are a whole new game.

    I have read through a lot of the threads here and everyone does a great job of answering the questions us NEWBIES have and beleive me, we appriciate it.

    The Plan:

    As I said, I am an IT guy so I have access to all kinds of computers and parts. What I have to date is a Dell GX755 that I have basically removed from the case, layed out and I am building a custom case for it. I have a full size Chevy Avalance so room is not an issue.

    The 755 consists of an ATX motherboard, DuoCore 1.6mHz processor, 4gb of RAM, 120gb hard drive. It has DVI and VGA video outputs on the board. I am going to disable all of the onboard audio and install a Soundblaster card (not sure which one) as I have 2 amps and 3 - 12 inch subs that still need to function.

    I have a 4 port USB hub that will be built in to the dash for any add ins that might need to happen.

    My questions are thus:

    1. Should I go with a Touchscreen monitor, or, go with something like the Griffin Powermate and a regular monitor?

    2. What is the best Touchscreen out there that is still economical? I would rather not spend $500 on the monitor.

    3. Are there any issues with using basically a full-size desktop computer and rearranging the parts to fit into a car.

    4. What is the best DC to DC power supply's for the computer and will they work with the desktop? I have been looking at the M2 or M3 ATX power supply.

    5. With all of the newer cars, all of your warning sounds are played through the stereo speakers. I would prefer to remove the HU altogether as i am going to do the XM thing. How can I still make those functional once the HU is removed?

    I thank all of you in advance for the time you will be taking to answer this NEWBIES questions. Maybe once this is over, I will be able to repay that kindness by answering some other newbie questions myself.

  • #2
    1. What control mechanism do you think will suit you better and meet your aesthetic standards in your vehicle?

    2. Lilliput or Xenarc models are the best. Price range is about $200-300.

    3. If you've got the space, go for it.

    4. Calculate the power draw of the system using one of many online power calculators, then make a decision for yourself. This FA might help you:

    5. That might be a question for your local stereo shop.

    For best results, make sure that USB hub is a powered hub. If it's not, you could very well have problems down the road.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?

    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.


    • #3
      1. Best is probably both to be honest. Touchscreen for me is easier to use but there are times when you need to not look at the screen and make adjustments anyway.

      2. What DP said

      3. Again, what DP said. Building a CarPC can be a bit expensive at first and using what items you have on hand is key to making early progress (unless money isn't an issue) Use the desktop now and if you need to upgrade later, do so.

      4. Depends on your needs but both the items you listed have a great reputation.

      5. If your question is "how do I keep using my speakers after I rip out the head unit?", the answer is with an amplifier. You run the power, control and speakers to the amp, then connect the audio out of you computer to the line in on the amp. Voila! Now you need no head unit. Check it out here:

      5b. If your question is how do I make Satellite radio work after pulling out the head unit, most Front End software has the ability to control XM and/or Sirius built into it. You'll need some hardware though and the store has the necessary stuff. Basically what you'll need is a specific Satellite Radio receiver and the adapter to go with it. There's also a USB radio you can implement but, I honestly don't know that much about it. My feeling is, if you have Sirius or XM, why use the regular radio? But that's just me.

      Check out the FAQ section for more info. The FAQ on FAQs is a great source for people just starting out. Most questions can be answered by checking out just that one area. Good luck!!!


      • #4
        Thanks for the info guys, I have spent much of the afternoon reading through the links you have posted. Things are a little clearer now.