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Newbie looking to CarPC '94 MR2

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  • Newbie looking to CarPC '94 MR2

    I found an old desktop lieing around in the attic the other day, completely forgotten about it until I saw it. I thought maybe I could build this up to be a CarPC even if it is a little on the large side, I've already made up a panel to attach the motherboard to the car through though I still need to sort out enclosure.
    I just need some advice to know if my bits are good enough and also what and where to get some new bits.

    Motherboard – P4M-915G/PDi
    Processor – Intel Pentium 4 3.00gHz
    Graphics Card – Asus EAX1600pro
    Sound Card – Onboard (Amplifier Compatible one required)
    WLAN & Bluetooth Card – None (Required for Wifi)
    RAM – 1GB DDR 400mhz (Planning on 3 more)
    DVB Card - AverTV DVB-T 771 (Good for DAB)
    HDD – None (Can easily “borrow” one from my other PCs or buy a slimline)
    ODD – None (Have 2 spare and can also buy a slimline if required)

    Now my gfx card takes up the only PCIe slot so I need to find a way to get a WLAN card in there, any ideas?
    Are slimline better than normal with regards to vibration protection?
    How do I get the sound working through the PC?
    What psu do I need for this? Also will I need an adaptor or is it all done through the converter?

    That's all the questions I can think of at the moment, please do take mercy on me, I tried searching but came up with zilch really.

    Thanks in advance, much appreciated to any answers.

  • #2
    I assume this is the correct motherboard? I believe that´s the standard 24pin ATX molex, so the usual standard of an opus, mini-box, or the other usually purchased automotive PSU´s will do. To know which one you´d probably want would be to do minor calculations of everything that´s going to draw it´s power from it. Motherboard, CPU, RAM, HDD´s, ODD´s, etc.. Then search here for threads on it, be it the M4-atx, m2-atx, or whatever and decide from there. The FAQ has some more relevant info on how to choose.

    WLAN is just as easily done with a usb one, in some cases even better since you can run a decent length of usb cable to put the attached wireless usb adapter in a place that might have better reception.

    If you want a drive that you don´t have to worry about dieing eventually due to vibration, g-force damage from potholes and the like, go with an SSD, some great sandforce controller ones for the $100 mark (US).

    For optical drives (slim line), from the articles I´ve seen the slot loading ones seem to be more durable for this application then the tray, and of course easier to just mount to the underside of a seat and throw in a cd when wanted.

    For the audio, you will have to adapt the output, usually 3.5mm stereo plugs on the back of the PC to the amp(s) you wish to use. This can easily be done with the 3.5mm male to male RCA cables or adapters. Shielded. Noise from the car, the pc in the car, and the PSU are all going to be your enemy, be it RFI or ground loops.

    My opinion is that your bits are ok, but if your going to need to sink X-amount into it to get it functional, you may wish to view some mini-atx boards that might just give you the bits that are missing for around the same price, be less power hungry, and be easier to throw into the car. But that´s just my take on it.
    2008 Ford Mustang GT/CS CARPC(99%)
    Software: Ride/Road-Runner, Digital FX skin 5.x, iGuidance 2011, GPSgate on Win7 64bit


    • #3
      Your specific questions:
      Now my gfx card takes up the only PCIe slot so I need to find a way to get a WLAN card in there, any ideas?
      Lose the graphics card and use onboard video. You won't do anything in the car that requires that much graphics horsepower.
      Your other option is USB for WiFi and/or bluetooth.

      How do I get the sound working through the PC?
      There's a FAQ for that:

      What psu do I need for this? Also will I need an adaptor or is it all done through the converter?
      There's a FAQ for that, too. In fact, there's a whole section:

      Some observations:

      1 - You have two components that are power-sucking beasts: The CPU & the graphics card. You didn't specify the specific line of CPU, but I have yet to see a low-power-draw P4 clocked at 3Ghz. Power draw is something you want to minimize.
      I suggest looking into a more power-efficient CPU and ditching the discrete graphics for onboard (as mentioned above).

      2 - Any sound card is compatible with an amplifier. No worries there.

      3 - The verdict is out whether laptop hard drives are more durable than desktop drives. There are hardened drives available at a premium price, but I don't see them being worth the expense. Solid-state drives are the other option, but they also come at a premium.

      4 - You didn't search very hard, or you would have come up with some answers, at least.
      Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
      How about the Wiki?

      Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.


      • #4
        Thank you very much for the answers.
        On my original search I did get some vague answers but nothing in definitive.

        Either way with your answers I've decided the desktop will be too much hassle to get working so I have a spare laptop that I will look into, I can use the battery off that and that way have a low power draw.