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lots of questions for 2003 Civic setup

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  • lots of questions for 2003 Civic setup

    The reason I want a car PC is because I'm in my car a lot and I'm sick of using MP3 CDs or an iPhone/iPod, since none of them hold enough space (my audio collection is 300-400GB) and they're much less convenient than a car PC. I'm totally new to car PCs and mini-ITX.

    I need to go as low end as possible (certainly under $500, preferably under $400 - I'm in college) without risking too much performance. As long as I can listen to music, browse the internet, stream web videos, play standard videos from the hard drive, and transfer/sync files from my desktop or server, that's fine. I don't care about HD at all. The OS will likely be XP Pro or Ubuntu.

    Noise is definitely a concern. I know going fanless will cost more, and I'm also concerned about heat problems that may arise as a result (if I put the case under a seat, for instance). I wouldn't mind having a couple 120mm fans, but the small 40 or 50 mm fans do bother me. If I can undervolt the crap out of them and maybe add a 120mm fan, that would be OK. Again, though, heat is a concern there. I live in Ohio at the moment, so it doesn't get too hot. If anything, too cold. How much should I be worrying about temps anyway? Can I replace one of those 40mm chipset fans with a decently sized heat sink?

    Since I'm in and out my car very often, startup time is also a major concern.

    I'm confused regarding how to power this thing. Many cases I see include power supplies. Some mainboards say 12V power is on-board. Do I need a power supply in addition to all these? Do I need an inverter? Do I need a regulator? I know the P2140, for instance, keeps power constant so as to protect against inconsistencies from the alternator, but how important is that? I know almost nothing about this topic.

    I wasn't planning on getting an extra soundcard since the mainboards I'm looking at include HD 5.1, but is a soundcard worth it, even if I'm using amplifiers already?

    How beneficial are the "rugged" or "automotive" cases compared to standard? I will be doing a lot of city driving on roads that aren't so great.

    I would like to buy used, but eBay has proven to be scarce for decent mini-ITX stuff.

    Here's my draft of a parts list:
    mainboard: Intel BOXD945GCLF ($65), BOXD945GCLF2D ($80), or D945GSEJT ($100)
    hard drive: 320GB laptop ($50-70)
    monitor: probably a Lilliput 7" with a decent brightness rating ($200-ish on eBay)
    case: M350, Morex T1610, VoomPC-2, APEX MI-008, Ampie
    network adapter:?
    power inverter:?
    power supply:?
    power regulator:?

    Thanks for your help.

  • #2
    ok, i will try to answer some of your questions, but i go off on tangents easily, so you might have better luck searching the forums...

    for the case, there is not a huge advantage to using a automotive case other than to keep everything in a small, compact area, though some of the cases offer vibration dampening for certain parts, but the jury is still out to weather it helps or hurts(there are very good arguments either way-- it seems solid mounts are not proven any better than vibration dampened mounts

    for most of the boards that require 12 volt input, these require REGULATED 12 volts, so a power supply is still required.

    for a power supply, i would highly recomend a opus, or a dsatx, but neither come very cheaply, so might not work. a small board should be able to use a m1/m2/m3 without issues, and can be had for relatively cheaply, just make sure that you get a real m1/m2/m3-there are many fakes on ebay...

    the sound card is personal preferance-- for higher quality sound, it is recommended, but with you budget contraints, i might recomend skipping it at first...

    for the fan/heat issue, most here have not had too many problems with either heat or cold, most systems can take most of the fluctuation, one of the more common isues i have read is that in extreme lower temps, the grease in laptop drives freezes up, and they must let the hdd warm up to get the grease to flow, and then restart... i live in illinois, and installed my car pc in about july this year, so far, my car sits outside most of the day in the sun, (the temp gauge on my alarm key fob reports temps around 120 deg F), and so far, i have not had any heat related issues with any of my setup(only software problems)

    if your talking about the carnetix p2140, i believe this would be what you need to use with one of the 12 volt input boards.

    a invertor is sometimes cheaper, but are usually plagued by noise issues, the bonus to having a m series power supply would be the integrated start up/shutdown controller, that you could use to put the computer into hibernate between all yoru freqent stops.

    i hope that answers most of your questions, if you have any more though, try to search first, but you can always post it here. and check out the FAQ area-- lots of good info there.
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided


    • #3
      the temp gauge on my alarm key fob reports temps around 120 deg F

      Thanks for your help. I have searched a lot, I just had trouble finding answers.

      What software problems have you had? Anything I should beware of?