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Budget build for EMS, please help!

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  • Budget build for EMS, please help!

    Hey everybody. I have a 2003 Acura EL (Canadian Civic) with a k20a2 performance engine in it and I was planning on investing into a k-pro or aem ecu because it's cheap hp gains and I can see dyno graphs if it's plugged into a computer. So I had the bad *** idea to take out the radio and replace it with a big touch screen, but there's a few things I want your guys's opinion on;

    What computer should I go with if I want one with wifi, super fast start up time, really high resolution, 100+gb harddrive and a low price tag?

    I'd also like GPS and am/fm radio, does anyone have a opinion on that stuff? Like if you can buy a computer with it already installed? Or if one brands better than another?

    And where do people usually put all their computer stuff in the car? I figure people fit the computer behind the touch screen and wire the dvd drives and key boards and what not in the glove box?

    Also, what brand of screen is the best in terms of picture quality?

  • #2
    I'm afraid there aren't any major brand x86 computers that fit into a double din opening natively. If there were such things, I think these boards would be a lot less lively. Besides, if you want wifi, super fast startup time, big hard drive, super hi-res screen, it won't have a low price tag.
    You can get a USB GPS unit for around 40 bucks - they are pretty widespread and you can find several at mp3car's store
    For AM/FM, most people go with the Visteon/Directed HD Radio - it's a standalone unit that can be interfaced with from a PC. There are also FM-only tuners that connect directly to the USB port and there's a HQCT tuner that does AM/FM over USB, but it's pretty expensive.
    Most people put a touch screen into the dash, computer in the trunk or under the seat, and wire it all together with extension cables. I'm currently working on building my own all-in-one system that fits into the standard double-din opening. The problem with that approach, is that you have 7"x7"x4" of space to fit a touchscreen, a computer and an AMP. From my own experience, I can tell you that it's pretty damn tough to do (but doable).
    For screens, you have a choice between Lilliput, Xenarc, Mini Touch and several others. Since the market for those screens is pretty small, they go anywhere from $120 and up. In times of $99 HD desktop monitors, paying $120 for a tiny screen seems absurd, but that's just supply and demand, i guess

    Since it sounds like you haven't really been looking into car pc's that much, I suggest you browse these boards a bit more - they are full of information and are broken up by categories you were asking about. If you decide to go with a pre-built solution (instead of building one yourself), the only option I'm aware of is Revosys X500, but it's out of stock and I don't know if they make them anymore. I have no idea about service or quality of these units, so you might have to decide that for yourself.

    Hope that helps!
    My Project: All-in-one Double Din Unit


    • #3
      ^revosys appears to be a reputable company, though, i have never seen any reviews on the quality, or after-sales-support of their products..

      this thread summarizes what you would need to look for, and the common pit-falls of prebuilt all-in-one pc's:

      otherwise, onto your other points:
      1. wifi: really easy, could be as simple as getting a usb-wifi adapter, and throwing it on your dash, or as complex as re-routing the antennas to the rooftop for a better signal..

      2. fast startup time: this is based on a lot of things-- just like fast cars, you can't just have good pistons, you need a good cam, rods, ecu tune, etc, etc. otherwise, the good pistons don't have much benefit... the same goes for the pc world. everything affects boot times-- from your OS selection, to the amount of usb devices, to your hard drive selection, to what options are enabled in the bios. this is something that really needs to be researched yourself... my install has never focused on boot times..
      3. high res. screen: there needs to be a better definition- what is high res? is it a something with a higher res then a 2x12 dot matrix lcd? a 240x320 pixel display? 800x600?

      honestly, i don't see much benefit to screens with a resolution higher then 800x480-- like most of the 7" screens. the clarity is good, and the overall image is good..

      but there is so much more that goes into a high quality screen then just pixel count. my 7" low brightness transflective screen blows my standard 7" screen away due to the optical touch screen bonding, and transflective enhancement. because there is less glare due to the touch overlay, the screen appears clearer, and easier to read, even though both screens use very similar lcd panels....

      but with every major feature comes a added cost.. most transflective screens don't go for less then $500...

      4. 100+gb hdd: as i said above, everything affects boot times, so the type of hard drive you use would affect that.. but it is completely possible..(i run a 120gb ssd)

      5.low price tag: how cheap is cheap? my install has costed me nearly $2.5k US...
      cheap can be done, but you need to shop very carefully..
      Last edited by soundman98; 04-28-2011, 05:48 PM.
      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

      next project? subaru brz
      carpc undecided


      • #4
        So you aren't looking at PCing your EMS?
        If you were, I'd suggest finding suitable software first. (Good luck!)