View Poll Results: head unit or no head unit?

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  • I think having a head unit AND a carputer is better

    50 46.30%
  • I think running just a carputer with NO head unit is better

    58 53.70%
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Thread: head unit or no head unit... that is the question

  1. #11
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    my head unit IS a touchscreen, the main reason for a head unit to me is redundancy & 100% reliability, it's like insurance, especially a head with navigation

    to me a head unit is like a spare tire, a hidden key or a first aid kit, if alls well you may not need to use it for months & months, but, when sit happens it's there. to me it depends on how good & reliable you can build your system combined with your tolerance of having to maybe do without entertainment or navigation at maybe an inopportune time. the head unit makes the PC less mission critical & more of just another source.

    the multiple source issue shouldn't be ignored either, with my head unit I can show a movie to my kid on the back screen, have my music playing of my wifes choice from her play list on the PC front end, simultaneously navigate AND monitor a few remote location cameras real time.. a head unit isn't always a waste, in the end it's space space space though for sure, if theres room I prefer a head unit, nothing to do with sound quality though, that's not really a reason for or against, as sq can be had either way

    my next PC will not have a head unit though, it'll be my first all PC system, I'm alittle scared, I gotta have spare imaged hardrives ready to swap & stuff to up the reliability as close to 100% as possible.... but is 100% trouble free 100% up time really possible? I think now I know enough to get close, hopefully close enough

  2. #12
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    I am Hu-less and as soon as I find the right soundcard and mp3car gets their radio on the market I will never go back to a HU. The pc boots before I even get out of the driveway and I then have way more options for listening than with the HU. My volume is controlled through my symmetry unit so no need even the volume control on the HU. The soundcard I have I am not happy with sound wise but I was never happy with any HU(other than my eclipse I used to have) either so it is not something I miss. Besides if I am going to spend 700.00 on an eclipse HU I will just spend the 200.00 for high(er)end soundcard. One of these days I will bother redgti for soundcard suggestions. Besides with my mp3s, videos, sirius, streaming internet radio, and my own big mouth I do not even miss fm.

  3. #13
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    a head unit-less system looks cleaner, but is not as convenient.

    when I drive 2 blocks down the street to the store, I don't want to wait for my car PC to boot up, then require me to tell it what I want it to do. I just want to hear music from my "instant-on" head unit, no fuss, no questions asked.

    I totally agree that a HU-less system can sound as good or better, but that wasn't what the question was about. it was not hardware specific, it was more general than that.

    another reason for me, is secondary PC applications such a GPS. with a PC only setup, you have two choices; 1.) switch back and forth between GPS and audio screens, or 2.) embed the GPS application into your FE (which is more funtional and practical then option #1, but eats up valuable screen real estate as a result)

    for me, I want my head unit to take car of all audio functions so that my car PC can be dedicated to any other task I choose. If I want to use GPS, the car PC can just do GPS, I don;t have to switch screens or lose screen real eststate to change audio options.

    also, as already mentioned, redundancy. PCs are not reliable whether their in a home or in a car. if the car PC fails, I can still listem to music, all I'v lost is my PC-only functions, but all my baic car audio needs are still there. another issue of PC freezing. if your PC freezes at high volume or the systen goes bazzirk and you cant tuen it down via software volume control you're screwed (unless you have a hardwired pre-amp volume control or equalizer to contol it instead)

    for me, the PC is a novelty. I don't want it to take the place of the simple head unit for everyday use.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerGeek View Post
    a head unit-less system looks cleaner, but is not as convenient.

    when I drive 2 blocks down the street to the store, I don't want to wait for my car PC to boot up, then require me to tell it what I want it to do. I just want to hear music from my "instant-on" head unit, no fuss, no questions asked.

    Ok First off, why are you driving 2 blocks to go to the store, you should walk there. I am not busting on you, someone else used that as an example and I do not see why anyone would get in the car, start it, back out of the driveway just to go 2 blocks. I can walk there before the car hit the street.


    I totally agree that a HU-less system can sound as good or better, but that wasn't what the question was about. it was not hardware specific, it was more general than that.

    another reason for me, is secondary PC applications such a GPS. with a PC only setup, you have two choices; 1.) switch back and forth between GPS and audio screens, or 2.) embed the GPS application into your FE (which is more funtional and practical then option #1, but eats up valuable screen real estate as a result)

    for me, I want my head unit to take car of all audio functions so that my car PC can be dedicated to any other task I choose. If I want to use GPS, the car PC can just do GPS, I don;t have to switch screens or lose screen real eststate to change audio options.

    After your audio is playing why do you need the audio screen? If you want to change songs use the remote.

    also, as already mentioned, redundancy. PCs are not reliable whether their in a home or in a car. if the car PC fails, I can still listem to music, all I'v lost is my PC-only functions, but all my baic car audio needs are still there. another issue of PC freezing. if your PC freezes at high volume or the systen goes bazzirk and you cant tuen it down via software volume control you're screwed (unless you have a hardwired pre-amp volume control or equalizer to contol it instead)

    I have not had any downtime on my self built pcs at home in over 3 years. I see no reason I will have any issues with one I built for the car.

    for me, the PC is a novelty. I don't want it to take the place of the simple head unit for everyday use.
    For me it is oppossite, the HU is just a novelty waiting for someone to want and steal.

  5. #15
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malkamus View Post
    Ok First off, why are you driving 2 blocks to go to the store, you should walk there. I am not busting on you, someone else used that as an example and I do not see why anyone would get in the car, start it, back out of the driveway just to go 2 blocks. I can walk there before the car hit the street
    well, first off the situation was hypothetical. I was not referring to an actual store. and second, i always back inot my driveway, which makes leaving the driveway much easier. and third, I live at the top of a series of very steep hills. walking down those hills is no big deal, but walking back up is simply too much effort

    besides, i don't do cool mods to my car (such as adding a carputer) just so I can walk instead. even if I only half to go 1 block, i will drive... just because I can

    Quote Originally Posted by malkamus View Post
    After your audio is playing why do you need the audio screen? If you want to change songs use the remote
    use what remote? I suppose you could add a remote control to your carputer for audio functions, but then you have an ugly remote control lying around. sorry, but I just don't see that as a practical solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by malkamus View Post
    I have not had any downtime on my self built pcs at home in over 3 years. I see no reason I will have any issues with one I built for the car
    with the exception of a failed harddrive a couple years ago, I have not had any downtime in my self built PCs at home either. but the fact is as long as there are delicate moving parts (HDD, cooling fans, etc.) a car environment is not very good for them. this problem could be minimized by using low power fanless systems and solid state hard drives, but then the cost goes way up.

    Quote Originally Posted by malkamus View Post
    For me it is oppossite, the HU is just a novelty waiting for someone to want and steal.
    lol, and nobody would want to steal your carputer? I don't see your logic here...

    if a potential theif was to walk by your car, they would see an LCD screen and probably assume it's a factory navigation system. now which would they rather steal; a ~$200 head unit or a ~$1500 factory navigation unit? I'm not saying that a head unit will not get stolen, but the argument that it makes your car more vulnerable to theft as opposed to a carputer alone just doesn't make much sense.

  6. #16
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    That is the thing, When my car is off you can not see the monitor. I built a cover that slides up into the dash and comes down to cover the monitor when not in use. From outside the car it looks like an empty dash.
    For a remote, get a gyromouse and program the extra buttons to control your media, you drop it in the console when not in use.

  7. #17
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    that sounds pretty cool, got any pics of that sliding cover?

    also, with regards to security, couldn't that cover also hide a head unit as well? even if it didn't, you could just remove the faceplate.

    also (yeah, another also), the gyromouse idea is no good for me for two reasons; 1.) you have to have an ugly gyromouse on the console; and 2.) that's just one more thing you have to do each time you want to use it (or put it away). it that works for you, then thats great; but it's no good for me.

    like I said, I want a head unit for convenience reasons; most of the time I'm just listening to music, i don't need a carputer for that, nor would i want to wait for one to boot-up to use it. i also don't like the idea of having no audio if something like the HDD fails. with a head unit, there's no worries, no fuss, just simple, reliable audio that comes on as soon as I turn the key.

  8. #18
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    I'm not understanding the people saying they want headunit cause they dont want to wait for computer to boot up when they are driving 2 blocks to the store or something.

    My computer is booted and playing a song by the time I back out my driveway <.<

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by koolaidkitten View Post
    I'm not understanding the people saying they want headunit cause they dont want to wait for computer to boot up when they are driving 2 blocks to the store or something.

    My computer is booted and playing a song by the time I back out my driveway <.<
    ditto!
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  10. #20
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    my computer is booted before i even open up my cars door... my car electrical circuits turn up as soon as i press the remote key , then they are tutned of in 3 minutes if no door is opened (by the way it will automatically lock the doors in that case aswell)
    ----i love my car------ :P

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