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  • Laptop vs Desktop

    So you want a carputer, huh?
    Where do I start, oh where?

    How about the CPU? I've been seeing alot of postgs about using a laptop instead of a desktop, and vice versa. Well each system has it's pros and cons.

    Laptop Pros:

    Low-power
    Has a battery
    Let's system run for few minutes afer ACC went low
    Good durability (notebook hard drives)
    Small form factor
    Easily removed

    Laptop Cons:
    More Expensive
    Often require low-efficeny inverter is no DC-DC transformer available.
    Limited expandibility
    Hard to get "boot on power"
    Docking station may be needed

    Desktop Pros:

    Cheaper
    Usually a spare around
    Can build a Small form factor case
    GOBS AND GOBS of expandibility
    Some support "boot on power"
    No docking station required

    Desktop Cons:
    Larger size
    less power efficient



    If I forgot anything just shout and I'll throw it on.

  • #2
    For laptop pros: often have exceptionally complete ACPI support allowing sleep, suspend, hibernate, battery/ac power monitoring, device activity, thermal monitoring, cpu throttling, device wake up, etc.

    For laptop cons: sometimes have exotic/proprietary devices/drivers.

    Also, I think docking stations help with the easily removed pro. I can take the laptop in, and leave everything hooked up and undisturbed in the vehicle with a port replicator/docking station.

    For desktop cons: often more heat (although my laptop get's plenty hot too)

    Actually, I think it's hard to make generalizations on many of these things. All can be overcome for either given time and money. I am assuming that more time/money equals con?
    Bob. Yes, that's me.
    ----------------------------------------------
    [=|=======] Hardware Aquisition
    [|========] Fabrication
    [|========] Software Development

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    • #3
      Desktop cons:
      Generally more expensive and more complicated powering solutions (Opus PSU, shut down regulators, etc.)

      Laptop pros:
      Most modern laptops come with built-in wireless cards
      Current Status: For Sale

      Specs
      - 1.5Ghz Toshiba Laptop (available - no screen)
      - Indash Motorized 7" VGA TS
      - DeLorme GPS (sold)
      - Power Inverter (sold)
      - Pioneer HU (sold)

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      • #4
        Equipment prices favor desktops... Laptop parts are generally more expensive than the same spec desktop part.
        TruckinMP3
        D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

        Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

        Read the FAQ!

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        • #5
          I've been a long advocate for laptop systems. Let's see some easilly recognizable advantages:

          Laptop Pro's:
          - They come complete and ready out of the box
          - Low power consumption
          - Built-in screen (or video card that allows at least VGA out, sometimes S-video or composite too)
          - Small in size
          - Easilly powered and have internal battery for standby needs
          - Shock-resistand hard drives
          - Easy to add hardware
          - Easy to remove the whole system
          - Less worrying about overheating

          Laptop Cons
          - Hard to fix, rare spare parts (although not so with modern laptops)
          - Won't let you do major upgrades like CPU or video card (let's face it, is that even a factor when chosing your system?)
          - Easier to steal
          - Usually inferior sound/video cards (but personally I hardly feel any difference)


          Let's say you're on a budget. You need a simple system to play your music and do some GPS navigating. Do you chose to spend time and educate yourself on the ins and outs of building, powering and setting up a desktop (or those mini board things) or would you buy a cheap Pentium III laptop for $250? I'd chose the latter, so much easier.

          One more thing you're forgetting. Tablet PCs have even bigger advantage:
          - Small size
          - Built-in touchscreen
          - Same advantages as a laptop

          Tablets are so easy to install and use, they are small enough that you don't even have to remove the housing, just use the whole thing as your screen. Or if you want to fabricate it into your dash, nothing is easier! OK, higher end tablets are expensive. But if you're like me, and don't need to watch DVDs or play Half Life 2 in your car, then you can easilly afford $300 on a Pentium II tablet, it will do most things you need.

          My current setup cost me $90. Yes, you heard that right, includes shipping. It's a Pentium 166 with 32 mb of RAM and 7 GB hard drive. It runs Windows 98SE, has USB ports, Winamp is my front-end. I can listen to music and use GPS at the same time, I can use steering wheel controls with it. I can browse the web and wardrive with it. Wifi is there. I can put my main 2.8 GHz laptop on the back seat and remote control it from a touchscreen tablet in my dash via either LAN or WiFi. It's the ultimate budget pc, not to mention it sounds great and is incredibly stable and fast for what it is.


          Oh, and my LCD is 10 inches, not 7 Bigger is better, if you ask me
          00 Saturn SL2, boosted @ 8 psi - CarDomain
          Newest install - my quickest ever
          My 2nd carputer - b4 I broke the touchscreen
          My very first carputer - voted the most ghetto

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          • #6
            Deleted some posts due to non-FAQ discussion.
            Originally posted by ghettocruzer
            I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
            Want to:
            -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
            -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TruckinMP3
              Equipment prices favor desktops... Laptop parts are generally more expensive than the same spec desktop part.
              True but the large availability of USB2 & Firewire devices these days help offset that quite a bit. I'm assuming your referring to peripheral add-ons as opposed to replacement parts.
              GE Cache Builder | [email protected] |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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              • #8
                Originally posted by shotgunefx
                True but the large availability of USB2 & Firewire devices these days help offset that quite a bit. I'm assuming your referring to peripheral add-ons as opposed to replacement parts.
                Initial purchase and replacement/upgrade.
                TruckinMP3
                D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

                Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

                Read the FAQ!

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                • #9
                  using a mobile designed computer in a mobile installation just makes sense...all of the things that make a laptop mobile are the things that make them benificial for in car use..... much lower power requirements& lower heat...two major hurdles in a carpc install..not to mention smaller....you can ALWAYS find a dc/dc solution.....of course there are unique problems that have to be overcome...but I think a laptop can make a better install than a desktop in most situations..

                  better doesn't usually come cheaper though...unless you can use the screen in your install...then the bang for the buck definatly goes way up......alot of the times this isn't practical ...unless you want to do a lot more work or settle for a getto install in most cases...although there are exceptions....
                  MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                  first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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                  • #10
                    Sometimes you can get deals on laptops with busted screens on ebay. This is a good deal for you if you are going to put your own screen in anyways.
                    My carputer project

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                    • #11
                      Laptop cons: Easy way out
                      Desktop Pros: Fun building it yourself

                      Meh the only reason I like carputers is actual building of something and
                      keeping it running and such. A laptop is mostly plug and play...no fun.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MikeyTampa
                        Laptop cons: Easy way out
                        Desktop Pros: Fun building it yourself

                        Meh the only reason I like carputers is actual building of something and
                        keeping it running and such. A laptop is mostly plug and play...no fun.
                        that is far from true... a laptop can be as simple or as complicated as any other install.... true, just throwing a laptop under the seat seems easy, but A laptop can be much more intergrated & involved than that.... it all depends on what level of install you are willing to accept.... I am installing a laptop in my dash right now, & it is much much more work than the mini atx that I removed.....

                        A laptop motherboard can be embeded in a dashboard & can be much more involved than just screwing down a mini case.... there are alot more difficultys in installing a laptop, from start-up/shut down to powering everything.... my laptop install will be suplimented & controlled by an opus 150... not all laptop installs are just thrown in....
                        MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                        first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MikeyTampa
                          Laptop cons: Easy way out
                          Desktop Pros: Fun building it yourself

                          Meh the only reason I like carputers is actual building of something and
                          keeping it running and such. A laptop is mostly plug and play...no fun.
                          I'll agree with turbocad6. The only thing your really missing is part of the power supply problems. For me that's not fun. Interfacing to the sensor ouputs & OBDII, writing all the software to make a digital dash, for me, that's the challenge. I want a digital dashboard and using a laptop, helped me get started on the problem I was trying to solve almost immediately.

                          Though when all is said and done, I may redo it with a mini-itx or similar as the docking station and the hanger for it take up a little more trunk space than I'd like.
                          GE Cache Builder | [email protected] |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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                          • #14
                            my biggest reason to use a laptop is because of the suspend mode.

                            I can go from ignition to music in 3 seconds with my laptop carputer. It makes the carputer seems more integrated with the car. It's too bad because I also have a awesome bootup screen
                            my carputer

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wei2cool
                              my biggest reason to use a laptop is because of the suspend mode.

                              I can go from ignition to music in 3 seconds with my laptop carputer. It makes the carputer seems more integrated with the car. It's too bad because I also have a awesome bootup screen
                              My first linux laptop install, I was suprised and relieved how well and how quick that worked.
                              GE Cache Builder | [email protected] |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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