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  • CarPC noob - first post with some sensible questions :)

    G'day all,

    Noob here from Australia..

    Been surfing the forum today as I'm interested in putting together a car pc. I've put together countless car stereos so I thought I might give the PC thing a go So far my system idea looks like this:

    * Flip out touchscreen
    * VoomPC case
    * M2-ATX PSU
    * Via MII10k / Via MII12k
    * 1GB RAM
    * 60-100GB 2.5" HD
    * USB WiFi dongle
    * USB GPS Receiver
    * USB Bluetooth dongle
    * External USB DVDR/Single DIN DVD player.

    Pretty much going for an all in one system with GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth/Radio/TV blah blah blah. I'm tossing up between a single DIN DVD player or building a DIN sized case to hold the slimline external DVD Rom & extra USB Hub for USB Drives and maybe PDA sync, etc. I like the idea of being a ble to play CD's and DVD's on the fly but I don't like the idea of not having a DVD ROM handy.

    Another thing I wanted to grab is a FM Radio/TV PCMCIA card (either from AVerMedia or wherever). I've seen some that have the ability to connect a regular TV Antenna plug directly into the card for the signal.

    2 questions:

    1. What do you think about the setup? Will this be an OK setup? Are there any pitfalls that I should avoid (eg. HD or RAM to avoid etc.).

    2. Since the PCMCIA card I'm considering has an RF input socket, is this in anyway the same as a car's antenna? I'm not familiar with the home tv aerials that much as I've only ever spliced car antennas.

    Thanks and look forward to hearing from you all!

  • #2
    automotive reception of tv/radio signals is always flakey. you'll be hard pressed to find some hardware that will do it well. currently, teh HQCT FM/AM module is the best thing around for that. TV wise, there are some automotive solutions outthere, but not that are computer controlled (not that I've seen anyway). you may get lucky with your PCMCIA solution, since it's built for laptops, but the only test will be to try it. Most have failed!

    USB Wifi will not get you any decent range. I can say that from experience, using bekin's 100m range. I opted to use a PCI card, which has three antenna inputs. if you park right outside your house, you'll probably be ok. but if you want some range, you'll need some antennas.

    Speaking of PCI, using the VoomPC case will not allow you to upgrade using PCI cards. Whilst it's nice that it looks like an AMP, you can get a nice square case that can host cards, and DVD.

    I understand you want to have the DVD up front, I want that too, but you'll have to feed it some extra power. I'm currently having problems powering a DVD-RW drive using USB. I'm still looking at solutions.

    finally, a gig of ram may be overkill. if you want to do any hibernation, then you'll be writing/reading a gig everytime to disk. What you can do, is get 256mb or 512, and turn off all paging to disk (virtual memory). you shoudln't need much more ram than that for most tasks. I'm sure someone here has determined the best RAM size for the performance/hibernation

    oh, and welcome!
    Current:
    [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

    Previous:
    [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

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    • #3
      G'day sama, thanks for the reply and the welcome. I'm only looking to get decent wifi close to home as that would be the easiest way to transfer files back and forth (or when I have the laptop with me in the car).

      Are there any smallish cases that will allow for 2xPCI cards and will still fit the M2-ATX? In that case I can extend the use of 5.1 channel sound and PCI-WiFi. I like the design of the M2-ATX that's all with the Anti-Thump, and I don't have any real need for an internal DVD as I'm going to run the modified 5v molex and the USB to the dash for the external DVD there (I think that should give the required voltage).

      The PC will be located in the boot (or as the Yanks say.. "trunk"

      Also, does anybody know the answer to question 2? I get great FM reception from my antenna at the moment and this would look like the solution for me if it was simply converting the car antenna to an RF type input plug.

      Comment


      • #4
        the RF should be the same. the one in the car will be more aimed at radio frequancies than tv frequencies however

        hae a look at the cupid cases. not sure about the M2, you may have to improvise. but that's easy enough, it only needs two screws.
        Current:
        [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

        Previous:
        [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

        Comment


        • #5
          yeah I'm not that interested in the TV side of things but more on the FM Radio side which should be right I guess. It's the only one so far that has an input like that without having to muck around with soldering wires here and there etc. Take a look if you want:

          http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

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          • #6
            handy!
            Current:
            [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

            Previous:
            [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ahew View Post
              1. What do you think about the setup? Will this be an OK setup? Are there any pitfalls that I should avoid (eg. HD or RAM to avoid etc.).
              I suggest losing half of that RAM. You're not going to be doing anything in your ride that's going to require 1GB RAM, even on the older, slower C3-based motherboard you've selected.

              2. Since the PCMCIA card I'm considering has an RF input socket, is this in anyway the same as a car's antenna? I'm not familiar with the home tv aerials that much as I've only ever spliced car antennas.
              No, it's not the car's antenna.
              The PCMCIA card has an adapter to connect to 75ohm coaxial cable, the standard input for cable/satellite/aerial signal.


              Originally posted by ahew View Post
              Are there any smallish cases that will allow for 2xPCI cards and will still fit the M2-ATX? In that case I can extend the use of 5.1 channel sound and PCI-WiFi. I like the design of the M2-ATX that's all with the Anti-Thump, and I don't have any real need for an internal DVD as I'm going to run the modified 5v molex and the USB to the dash for the external DVD there (I think that should give the required voltage).
              "Small" and "expandability" are two traits in a PC case that you'll almost never find in the same unit.
              I'd think that one of the smaller cases with a PCI riser card would meet your needs. Opus makes a case that includes the riser card, or you could fabricate something yourself, if needed.
              Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
              How about the Wiki?



              Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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              • #8
                just wondering have you thought about loosing the epia boards and going for a uATX factor board, there only a few cm's bigger and you should get about twice as much speed including the cpu for around the same price.. defo worth it if you have the space :-)

                CdR
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                http://www.FreeICE.co.uk

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                • #9

                  The only reason to use the EPIA board is to use with the ampie case, but there are other board that can use that case too.
                  If the PC is going to be in the boot, go with uATX solution. Get any uATX mobo and pair it with a AMD AM2 CPU and you are good to go. Price wise, it about the same as the Epia. You get 2X the performance and decent system for the next couple years.
                  2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                  89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
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                  • #10
                    Many times though, those extra few CMs make all the difference in the world.

                    For instance, I can't fit the uATX board in where I need it, or anywhere else for that matter.

                    Yes, they are faster, however, there are plenty of MiniITX boards out there now that have the ability to take faster processors and memory and hard drives.
                    Jan Bennett
                    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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                    • #11
                      DarquePervert - Thanks for answering some of the questions. I realise that the PCMCIA card I'm looking at has an allowance for a terrestrial antenna, but this is also how the system grabs the FM Radio feed as well (via the antenna). The question was whether the car antenna cable can be used as a replacement, spliced up and inserted into an RF input jack and put into the same spot.

                      Hey all, thanks for the ongoing replies. I guess I should've said that I'm concerned with sound and heat caused by fans, as well as the overall size. I'm actually trying to go for a fanless mobo/cpu design if possible. The other reason why I like the M2-ATX is that it fits inside the case and there's no need for a separate Regulator to take up more space.

                      The only reason I've really gone for the MII10k(E) is because of the PCMCIA slot which I think is pretty handy for adding and removing certain items from the setup without need to take the cover off. Are there any other setups that allow for this and PCI as well?

                      With uATX, will that require a different PSU altogether or can I still stick with the M2-ATX?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        you can get a PCMCIA PCI card, they're fairly cheap. and you can get a dual PCI adaptor, to give you two PCI slots.

                        not as good as having it onboard perhaps, but the option is there.
                        Current:
                        [BMW E46 ///M3 Convertible]

                        Previous:
                        [BMW E31 850CSi]|[BMW E39 535i]|[BMW HVAC Research]|[IBUS Scrolling Text]|[BMPuter]|[Velocity]|[TomTom]|[Vision]|[Space Navigator Driver]|[Super Fast Boot]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ahew View Post
                          DarquePervert - Thanks for answering some of the questions. I realise that the PCMCIA card I'm looking at has an allowance for a terrestrial antenna, but this is also how the system grabs the FM Radio feed as well (via the antenna). The question was whether the car antenna cable can be used as a replacement, spliced up and inserted into an RF input jack and put into the same spot.
                          A TV aerial has the ability to pick up FM signals in addition to TV signals.
                          You're still going to need a TV antenna, I'm pretty certain.

                          The only reason I've really gone for the MII10k(E) is because of the PCMCIA slot which I think is pretty handy for adding and removing certain items from the setup without need to take the cover off. Are there any other setups that allow for this and PCI as well?
                          The M10000 has a PCI slot available, as well. You can have both PCMCIA and a PCI card (or two, if you use a double riser), but you'll have to lose the VoomPC case, because it's much too small for that sort of a setup.

                          With uATX, will that require a different PSU altogether or can I still stick with the M2-ATX?
                          *sigh*
                          microATX is JUST A FORMFACTOR. It has absolutely no bearing on the power draw of the motherboard or the connections used for different compionents or anything else.
                          There are users powering all sorts of setups with an M2ATX PSU, with all sorts of formfactors, including full-sized ATX setups.
                          Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
                          How about the Wiki?



                          Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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                          • #14
                            Like the first poster I am a noobie at the whole car pc idea, accept that I am great with computers. I just dont have a clue about the car part. I do have one quick question for you all...I live in Las Vegas where it is extremely hot during the summers (ie.105-115F) and since my computer background tells me that heat = bad...would putting a carpc be impossible, difficult or possible for me? and if it is possible would i have to put the pc in a "special" place?

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                            • #15
                              hey Darque, sorry... meant to say "will the M2ATX be able to connect to the uATX form factor board without any adapters etc"... which I've now discovered that it does from the specs.. hence the name "ATX" as well... I feel like a right idiot... just brand me with the "noob" iron on the forehead. LOL

                              I'm actually now thinking about changing the setup to a uATX board with AMD64 3000+ (socket 939). I believe the total draw on the CPU is 67W and the M2-ATX has a 96w (97w?) 12v rail.

                              The thing that's changed my mind for me is the cost factor as in Oz we don't have huge support for mini-ITX. I'm a reseller for a whole heap of PC hardware so I get quite a large discount with all the parts. Might have to look into exclusivity rights at selling the mini-ITX stuff for the future in Oz though

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