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Thread: How does this look? Building my first CarPC...

  1. #1
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    How does this look? Building my first CarPC...

    Hey everyone,

    I'm building my first carPC, and really my first PC altogether and have done a lot of reading on how to pick out the most reasonable options for components. Here's what I've come up with so far. Keep in mind the main functionality here is going to be music, DVDs, navigation, web browsing and possibly engine management in the future. I'm trying to build a little more than what I need right now to allow for expandability in the future. I could very well be on completely the wrong track so please correct me if I am, but what do you think?

    Motherboard:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813121046

    Processor (will this work w/ the mobo?):

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116038

    Memory (they all look the same other than 1GB, 2GB, etc. Any tips?):

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...+667+(PC2+5300)

    Hard Drive (don't really know what the difference is other than price):

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822149080
    or
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148307

    Screen (something like this, don't really know much about these yet):

    http://store.mp3car.com/Lilliput_7_V..._p/mon-001.htm

    I am aiming for let's say just under competition level sound quality for music. I have a 350Z so I won't be running any rear speakers, but I will be running a nice amped 2-way component set and probably a single 10" or pair of 10" SQ subs. For sound I am trying to decide whether I should get a different sound card or run the onboard sound through an external EQ/signal processor.

    For memory, I am thinking 2 gigs will be plenty to start with and will have me running smoothly in all applications, especially if I want to be running, say, GPS and music at the same time.

    The last thing I need to decide on is a power supply. Any suggestions there? The reason I chose that particular processor is because it is high FSB, high speed and fairly low power consumption. as far as the other stuff though, I'm not sure how much power it will use. On top of the carPC power, I will also be using probably 100-200W RMS on the comps up front and 500-600W RMS total or so on the sub(s).

    I guess I will also need a DVDRW or something, but that is a minor detail I can work out later. Some help on picking out the best screen would be cool too.

    As far as my skill level with this stuff, though I've never built a carPC before, I have done probably 300 competition level SPL and SQ sound systems. I can also do custom fabrication w/ fiberglass. I plan on making this a completely stealth install (going as far as keeping the factory head unit in the stock location and just leaving the lights hooked up).

    Bottom line, I want to plan everything out right down to the circuit breakers/fuses/wiring before I make ANY purchases (including audio stuff) because once I do that all I need to do is buy it and put it in, minimizing down time. I think I am well on my way but just need some tips from people that have done this before.

    Any help will be GREATLY appreciated!

  2. #2
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    One other thing...what about a keyboard/mouse? This question has plagued me for some time...

  3. #3
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Well the 350 is a small car. If you have room for a uATX board, go for it. But they make itx form factor boards and they accept pentium 4/4M, or core solo/core duo/core 2 duo/c2d extreme/quad core.

    For the price of the celeron, you are better off getting a low power core duo or core solo chip from ebay. If you spend a little bit more (like $10 - $20) get the core 2 duo version. I got a core duo for $18 shipped, and my core 2 duo for $40 shipped from ebay. Both working laptop pulls. You get good deals that way.

    As far as the motherboard, looks fine to me.

    Going along with the itx suggestion, I suggest you get a 2.5" drive (laptop). They make SATA 3.0Gbps 7200RPM drives. And if you can find a mobo with sataII then go for it, but more than likely it will have sataI so 1.5gbps, and that will be plenty fast. Make sure to get one with the highest possible cache, and lowest possible seek times. Of course cost will be a factor so you will have to make some sacrifices for a slower drive if you are on a budget. One reason for the smaller form factor drive is because all itx cases I have seen only support 2.5" drives. Unless you want a full formed tower in your car, you may want to reconsider your full 3.5" drive. Also a 3.5" drive eats a lot of juice. I have an old one that takes almost a full amp on the 12v rail alone and a few hundred milliamps on the 5v. That is just to spin up the enormous platters. A laptop drive uses 5v only and generally less than what the full size drive uses on just the 5v rail.

    For the screen lilliputs are fine. If your 350 is a convertible (dont know if they even make that, but it looks like it would fit with the style), you want a transflective screen for sure. If you dont have tinted windows a transflective would be a good choice. If you are cheap or on a budget that screen will work fine. I am a cheapo so I got a screen like your link.



    All in all I think it is a good choice if you have the room for it. And if you want real time sound processing, a better cpu is better overall so it may be worth it to you to go for the c2d. Also you should check out Jan's install (redgtivr6), and also turbocad6's. There are lots of good ones but those are some I know off the top of my head. Red has even won awards.

    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
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  4. #4
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    EDIT: Duplicate post... server timed out while responding.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

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    I do have room for the uATX, after all it's only about 10x10" so space isn't really a concern. On the other hand, I don't really know much about choosing a processor and lots of them look the same to me except for being a different speed. What is the difference between the ones you mentioned: the Pentium 4/4m, core solo/duo/core2duo/c2d extreme and qc? I really prefer not to buy used because I want receipts for new stuff for my records, and also I want warranties/customer service.

    As far as the hard drive, both of those ones I posted were 2.5" laptop drives that were 3.0GB/s (and this mobo supports SATAII) so I'm not sure where you saw that I was looking at 3.5" ones. Seems those two are pretty much the same but the Toshiba is a bit cheaper and the seek time is around 10.5ms which is lower than some of the others I've seen (12ms, 12.5ms, etc). So would either of those hard drives be ok?

    What do you mean by "real time sound processing?" If you think the core2duo would be better for this, why, and what kind of difference will it make in terms of power consumption? Speaking of power consumption, I'm still looking for a power supply so once I get all this stuff straightened out I will need to figure out which power supply to go with and I'd prefer NOT to use an inverter.

    Lastly you didn't say anything about the memory. Is it safe to consider all memory is created equal? There are about 9 billion choices and they all look the same... haha

    Edit: By the way the main reason I went with this board is because it has two PCI expansion slots. One of those will definitely be used for a PCI wireless card and the other one I wanted available in case I decide to upgrade to a different sound card down the road.

    Thanks for all your help!

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    The motherboard itself isn't much bigger, but the cases are. I have not found a decent sized mATX case, especially one that is reasonably priced. If you found some small ones please post them :P Going mATX would save a lot of money over mini-itx since those boards are 200+ for core duo.

  7. #7
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    This board also sounds pretty sweet - any thoughts?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16813153073R

    To be used with this processor http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103257

    Low power consumption - 45W
    Twice as much L2 cache - Faster
    Dual core
    Slightly faster operating frequency (2.1ghz vs 2.0ghz)
    Reviews say it runs very cool too...

  8. #8
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    Not really, you are better off doing what the other guy said and get a core duo or core 2 duo CPU that was pulled from a new laptop. Will be ~20-50$ on ebay and will smack the AMD all over the place (And I'm an AMD fan to).

  9. #9
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePistonDoctor View Post
    I do have room for the uATX, after all it's only about 10x10" so space isn't really a concern. On the other hand, I don't really know much about choosing a processor and lots of them look the same to me except for being a different speed. What is the difference between the ones you mentioned: the Pentium 4/4m, core solo/duo/core2duo/c2d extreme and qc? I really prefer not to buy used because I want receipts for new stuff for my records, and also I want warranties/customer service.

    As far as the hard drive, both of those ones I posted were 2.5" laptop drives that were 3.0GB/s (and this mobo supports SATAII) so I'm not sure where you saw that I was looking at 3.5" ones. Seems those two are pretty much the same but the Toshiba is a bit cheaper and the seek time is around 10.5ms which is lower than some of the others I've seen (12ms, 12.5ms, etc). So would either of those hard drives be ok?

    What do you mean by "real time sound processing?" If you think the core2duo would be better for this, why, and what kind of difference will it make in terms of power consumption? Speaking of power consumption, I'm still looking for a power supply so once I get all this stuff straightened out I will need to figure out which power supply to go with and I'd prefer NOT to use an inverter.

    Lastly you didn't say anything about the memory. Is it safe to consider all memory is created equal? There are about 9 billion choices and they all look the same... haha

    Edit: By the way the main reason I went with this board is because it has two PCI expansion slots. One of those will definitely be used for a PCI wireless card and the other one I wanted available in case I decide to upgrade to a different sound card down the road.

    Thanks for all your help!
    receipts for new stuff, I guess, but paypal gives you an invoice too. And as far as customer support, there wont be any anyways. When you buy components, you are entitled to no customer support of the "what do it do" kind. Only the "it doesnt work I want a return" kind. They will not step you through it, so customer service is moot. If you buy off of ebay with a working pull, if you get it and it doesnt work, they violated ebay agreement so you can return it too, and they wont charge you 15% restocking.

    If you dont know the difference between processors, you need to read some more. Pentium 4 comes in the 2 main flavours northwood and prescott and then the defective ones were sold as celerons. that is true, when they stamp out the ic, some have defects and if the defects are too high, they sell it is a celeron since there arent as many functional transistors. They are much faster than you need for a regular car environment, but they run very hot, and consume a lot of power. Same architecture the Pentium D and the P4 Extreme Edition came from. The P4EE could pull 200W by itself.

    Then Intel's new line smashed amd out of the water and they havent come back since. The core duo and the core solo were the first released and were socket M. then intel released the core 2 duo which came in socket m, and is now socket p (as of july last year I think). Core 2 duo is faster, uses less power, and has more power states which is useful for throttling the cpu. Then the core 2 extreme came out, even faster more expensive, mostly for destops and desktop replacement laptops. And now quad core cpus are in fashion with intel ahead of the ****ty amd phenom or whatever they call it. Even the slowest intel quad can beat the newest most expensive amd quad by a good bit... That is sad.

    As for the hd, didnt see they were 2.5". So nevermind what I said. I didnt realize they were so cheap for that storage right now. Might have to get myself another THey are both fine.

    For real time sound processing I mean all that equilizer and band adjustment stuff you SQ people do. I know that the programs that do it are hogs and rightfully so. It wont run on a 1ghz C7 cpu like the m10000.

    For power supply, you need to calculate how much power you use on all rails, and then find a suitable choice. If you go with a core 2 duo, you will probably be ok with the M2 or the opus150, depending on your other peripherals.

    As far as RAM, no they are not all the same. There is buffered, ECC, latency, and of course speed. Another thing is density. If you get a cheap mobo, cheap RAM may not work because it is high density (fewer chips) than low density (more chips, usually on the front and back of the RAM) which will always work. Also the latency is a big concern and cheap ram is usually slower. Also some brands have more defects than others, as all electronics do, so a faster failure rate. I like crucial's high end ram, but I have some geil ram and it works nice too.

    And for PCI you may want to reconsider. A PCI card in a bouncing vibrating car, means little contacts so close together not secured well will jump out. You will need to glue it down or something. And a USB wifi stick is just as cheap and perform just as well, and wont fall out, it is only 4 wires with 8 grips. As for the sound card, if you are going audio processing for SQ, you will need another sound card unless you get a fancy new mobo with something other than the AC97 chip on it. PCI can be used for that, but even nano boards have PCI and again, you will need to glue it.

    You may have room for a 10x10 board, but the case is going to be huge unless you custom fab something up.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

  10. #10
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    thanks for the advice...I will take what you've given me and do some more research, then post back again.

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