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I'm just getting started and could use some guidance on my pt cruiser :)

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  • I'm just getting started and could use some guidance on my pt cruiser :)

    hey all,

    I decided a while back to build a computer in my car after i heard of one in someones car a few years ago. So now that i can finally drive (going to be a a senior in high school), ive decided to get started. Ive got about $2000 to spend, with more on the way if i need more. Ive got an '02 pt cruiser, golden exterior, brownish interior. I dont have specific measurements yet, but i have friend coming to take a look at my car to help me with measuring and figuring out if i have enough room for a screen in my dashboard.

    So after spending all this morning and all night after work reading more specifically on carputers, i think its time to start putting together a parts and prices list. Ive got a few questions so far.

    1. Should i go with a pre-built computer like from mini-box.com or opussolutions.com, or go with a custom built one? If i were to build it myself, i was thinking about an amd athlon 64 3200+ 940 socket (am2) because of its approximate 35w usage, a microatx mobo with decent onboard video and onboard 5.1/7.1 audio support, dvd burner (for on-the-road movie creation), 80 or 160g 3.5" hd (7200 rpm, most likely just ata). I think with my rig i wouldnt be able to use a dc-dc psu, so i'd have to go with a regular atx psu. Then i guess i would need an inverter... Ive already read in the psu section, and im still really confused about inverters, like what would be the best one for me and where could i buy/order one?

    2. What kind of touchscreen should i get? Again, ive already read the forums and im not sure which one i should get, and what size. I'll have measurements for you guys tomorrow, maybe that'll help me out then. If theres anybody that has already done this with a pt or seen one, then maybe you could help me out w/o the measurements.

    3. Where should i mount the carputer itself? Under the passenger side front seat there is a removable drawer... I could take out the drawer and mount the pc under the seat, would that be sufficient? i'll get some measurements tomorrow to verify if you guys arent sure.

    I cant think of anything else but im sure i will tomorrow.

    (PS- with my carputer, i'd like to be able to listen to music, watch movies, burn dvds, and gps... wireless connectivity, fm radio, tv and internet would be +'s but not a necessity... i'd also like to have it setup for auto power up/auto hibernation/standby if that's possible.. and one last thing, i'd like to be able to have the computer setup for voice commands)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, im in no hurry, and will get back to you guys with some more info and measurements sometime tomorrow night! Thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by lah
    1. Should i go with a pre-built computer like from mini-box.com or opussolutions.com, or go with a custom built one? If i were to build it myself, i was thinking about an amd athlon 64 3200+ 940 socket (am2) because of its approximate 35w usage, a microatx mobo with decent onboard video and onboard 5.1/7.1 audio support, dvd burner (for on-the-road movie creation), 80 or 160g 3.5" hd (7200 rpm, most likely just ata). I think with my rig i wouldnt be able to use a dc-dc psu, so i'd have to go with a regular atx psu. Then i guess i would need an inverter... Ive already read in the psu section, and im still really confused about inverters, like what would be the best one for me and where could i buy/order one?
    Depends on how comfortable you feel building, configuring & troubleshooting PCs...

    2. What kind of touchscreen should i get? Again, ive already read the forums and im not sure which one i should get, and what size. I'll have measurements for you guys tomorrow, maybe that'll help me out then. If theres anybody that has already done this with a pt or seen one, then maybe you could help me out w/o the measurements.
    Measurements are good....

    3. Where should i mount the carputer itself? Under the passenger side front seat there is a removable drawer... I could take out the drawer and mount the pc under the seat, would that be sufficient? i'll get some measurements tomorrow to verify if you guys arent sure.
    Wherever you have the space.


    My advice: You can't plan your project enough. Start a worklogKeep track of ideas, your plan, your vision, photos, etc. As the project progresses, you'll be able to look back and see that one component you thought was a good idea doesn't work into the plan at a later stage... Stuff like that.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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    • #3
      IMO I think that the 64bit processor is just a wee bit much for a carputer. I dont believe you will ever get the full potential out of a 64bit processor in your car. But it would be good to get the best onboard video and sound you can. And for what you are wanting your carputer to do I would ATLEAST get a 120gig hard drive (But if you look at the prices closesly you can pick up a 300gb hard drive for a little over $100.00 (http://www.tigerdirect.com had a sale on them a while back).

      With that being said I would have to agree with DarquePervert about depending on how comfortable you are with building PCs. The only computer you NEED for a carputer is the motherboard(onboard video, sound, LAN, etc.,processor, memory, harddrive, and power supply, DVD Rom drive, and a Touchscreen monitor.
      If I had the allowance you gave your self for building this PC I would go with the follow parts from http://www.mp3car.com/store

      Motherboard = VIA EPIA MII12000 Mini-ITX Mainboard $208.99

      Processor = included with motherboard

      Memory = 1GB DDR2 DIMM PC2-4200 RAM $109.99

      Hard Drive = Inless you are wanting a 2.5" hard drive I would go to tigerdirect or newegg to purchase a hard drive $???.??

      Power supply = M2-ATX 160W Intelligent DC-DC PSU $89.94

      touchscreen = Would really depend on how much dash room you have but I bought a 7" (widescreen) touchscreen and it was plenty big.

      CD/DVD Rom = Pioneer Slot Load DVR-K05 DVD±R/+R DL/±RW Dual $145.00

      I would think this is all the power you would need for what you are wanting to do with it. You would even have money left over


      For your third question...........cant help ya....i've never even seen inside a PT cruiser. But most the fun/headache is actually getting it to work in your car. Goodluck and I hope my post helped even a little.
      ABIT VA-20 motherboard, AMD 1700+, 512mb RAM, 40gb HD, M1-ATX power supply, Lilliput 7" touchscreen

      Comment


      • #4
        Well i'll consider getting the parts from here then, and i think you're right, 64-bit processing might be a little overboard. And i think i'd rather get a 3.5" bb hard drive, i'll probably go with a 250 or 300g (i have 250g of movies, plus about 25g of music). Also i aggree with JD80 on the amount of memory, i think 1g is a must for what i want to do. And on a sidenote, im extremely comfortable building/troubleshooting computers. Ive built several laptops, and built my first computer when i was 11, lol. I'll get back to you guys later tonight with some measurements.

        Comment


        • #5
          Since you have big budget, suggest going with Turion 64 or Pentium mobile. You can than use a DC-DC PS. If you want even more power, you could wait a few months a see about those new Intel duo core mobile cpus coming out. Supposely, they will offer huge performance boost.
          CAR:06 350Z | LCD:Xenarc 700TSV | PS:M2-ATX | CPU:2.0GHz Turion 64 | MB:GA-K8N51GMF | RAM:1GB PC3500 DDR | HDD:WD 250GB SATA | USB1:Zoom 140M WiFi | USB2:iOne Scorpius Keyboard | USB3:Logitech Wingman | SERIAL:GPS BR-355

          Comment


          • #6
            pictures, measurements

            alright so i got some measurements (none yet of the inside of my dashboard cause my friend is actually coming tomorrow, not today).


            Im attaching a picture of my dashboard first... i'd like to ditch the cd player controls, and possibly the buttons below it if i have to. Any ideas or suggestions? And with these measurements maybe i could get some recommendations on what type of screen i should get.

            In the next post i will be uploading a picture of under the passenger side seat, with measurements. The only measurement i did not put on this second picture is the depth, its approximately 15in.

            All of the measurements were approximate.


            One last question, is there any way to find wattage from voltage? Newegg only offers the voltage, so if there was a way that'd be great... thanks guys so far!
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              heres under the seat
              Attached Files

              Comment


              • #8
                one last question/comment that i forgot to mention (doh!).. I'm also considering a new soundsystem (definitely sub/amp)... what kind of sound card will i need, or what specifically outputs will i need on the soundcard? Currently im looking at a micro-atx mobo with an amd turion 64 mt-30 (only 25w!). I'd like the mobo to have onboard video and audio... i have my eye on this one here -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131588 I believe the onboard video is adequate, but am not so sure about the onboard audio, think that'll be enough for a 4.1 or 5.1 system in my car? (not quite sure what i have now, i think just 2 door speakers and 2 in the rear, im car illiterate ) I havent done too much searching/reading on speakers yet, just what ive seen so far on these forums, so i'll be doing a lot more of that before i even start planning, just some words of wisdom to get me started on that would be great! Thanks again

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lah
                  one last question/comment that i forgot to mention (doh!).. I'm also considering a new soundsystem (definitely sub/amp)... what kind of sound card will i need, or what specifically outputs will i need on the soundcard? Currently im looking at a micro-atx mobo with an amd turion 64 mt-30 (only 25w!). I'd like the mobo to have onboard video and audio... i have my eye on this one here -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131588 I believe the onboard video is adequate, but am not so sure about the onboard audio, think that'll be enough for a 4.1 or 5.1 system in my car? (not quite sure what i have now, i think just 2 door speakers and 2 in the rear, im car illiterate ) I havent done too much searching/reading on speakers yet, just what ive seen so far on these forums, so i'll be doing a lot more of that before i even start planning, just some words of wisdom to get me started on that would be great! Thanks again
                  The Nvidia 6100 onboard video chipset is more than adequate. It's almost better than any other onboard chipset out there. Since that MB comes with 6 channel of onboard sound, it should be able to run 4.1/5.1. If you want more, the Gigabyte GA-K8N51GMF I am using has 8 channels and is $5 cheaper at newegg.
                  CAR:06 350Z | LCD:Xenarc 700TSV | PS:M2-ATX | CPU:2.0GHz Turion 64 | MB:GA-K8N51GMF | RAM:1GB PC3500 DDR | HDD:WD 250GB SATA | USB1:Zoom 140M WiFi | USB2:iOne Scorpius Keyboard | USB3:Logitech Wingman | SERIAL:GPS BR-355

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can't wait to get my licence mmmmmmmmmmmmm BIG V8

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      alright so i think ive got a list made up for parts and hardware (let me know if im missing something, except for the screen which ive left out cause i have no idea what to get yet)

                      Motherboard - Mobo (recommended by myzhi, thanks!)

                      Processor - Processor

                      Memory - Corsair XMS 2g or Corsair XMS 1g I'm pretty set on the memory for a couple of reasons, 1. I love corsair xms memory ; 2. They have heatspreaders, which i think would be nice ; 3. There are rebates (gotta love rebates!). I just cant decide if i want to go all the way and get 2g, or just get 1g. Like i said, im going to be doing some movie burning, possibly some video format conversion/ripping on the road, and i might try some gaming every now and then, so 2g would be nice. Any inputs? i know you guys are gonna say 2g is more than plenty, but hey, what the heck? Why not have a carputer that is nicer than my actual computer? lol

                      Hard drive-- 300g SATA/300

                      PS-- I think ive gone over the limit for a dc-dc psu, so could somebody explain to me, in my situation, what exactly i need? I know i will need an atx psu, and an inverter. Anything else? Is it still possible for my carputer to be able to auto turn on and off?

                      Case-- Any recommendations on a small case?
                      DVD burner-- i will probably just use the one that was recommended earlier in this thread.

                      I still need to pick out the lcd screen, and the gps unit (usb).

                      Am i forgetting anything? Any comments or suggestions? Let me know!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        case

                        alright, i just got an idea for a case. I think that my motherboard might just be a standard micro-atx or atx board, so would taking any micro-atx case work? Or instead of going with an enclosed case, howabout just cutting out the mounting part of the case and bolting it to my floor, leaving the computer hardware more open, or is that not safe? It'll end up under the passenger side seat, so it wont be visible at all...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The M2-ATX DC-DC PS is plenty for the hardware you are using. I run all the stuff in my sign with it. You don't need to worry about auto on / off with just that.

                          Use the power calculator if you want to be sure: http://carpc.kyferez.com/Tools/PSUWattageCalculator.php.

                          1GB of ram is a lot for carputer. Most of the time, I hardly ever go over 512MB. If you are doing stuff that requires 2GB, go ahead buy it.

                          As for the Gigabyte MB, it's a regular m-atx formfactor so it will fit any m-atx case. So use one of them or make your own. Having carputer outside of an enclosure under your seat seems kinda dangerous.

                          For LCD, if you looking at 7", suggest Xenarc 700TSV. As for GPS, the USGlobalSat serial GPS BR-355. No drivers needed and no problems with hibernation.
                          CAR:06 350Z | LCD:Xenarc 700TSV | PS:M2-ATX | CPU:2.0GHz Turion 64 | MB:GA-K8N51GMF | RAM:1GB PC3500 DDR | HDD:WD 250GB SATA | USB1:Zoom 140M WiFi | USB2:iOne Scorpius Keyboard | USB3:Logitech Wingman | SERIAL:GPS BR-355

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            ok, i think i like the xenarc 700tsv, so i'll probably go with that. Anybody think i should get the headrest shroud to help me mount/fabricate it into my dashboard somehow, or will i have to make my own shroud?

                            For the case, im currently looking at this. Not quite sure though, because it'll be a tight fit under my seat, and i dont think i want to put the carputer all the way in the trunk cause i'll have to do more/longer cabling. Dimensions for this case are as follows: <5.5" (H) x 16.3" (W) x 17.5" (D)> I'm not sure if it'll even fit, theres enough room under the seat, but some of the bracket looking metal parts under the seat are in the way. It also looks like the M2-ATX psu will fit inside the case after i take the psu out that comes with the case.

                            I could still use some suggestions on how i can mount a screen into my dashboard, im at a total loss. I should be getting some pictures of the inards soon, so you guys can see how much room i have, that might help out a bit.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              just found out that the case wont work, its too long (haha, i actually happened to have the exact same case sitting in my garage so i tested it out.) The height was perfect, so if anyone knows of a case with similar dimensions, just like 3 inches less in length (height cant be any taller than 5.5") let me know

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