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Thread: Newbie looking for some direction

  1. #1
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    Apr 2001
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    Post Newbie looking for some direction

    I am new to this forum, car mp3 players, and pretty much everything yous talk about except hardware specs. Well, my head unit is dead, it just plays the samne cd over and over, i cant eject of turn it down, off, or absolutely anything unless i unplug it. So i want to get an mp3 player for my car to go with my new cable connection. I am on a somewhat limited budget, but either way i want to build my own anyway...
    So basically im hoping some of you can help me out and point me in the direction of some info on building my own, if anyone knows where i can find anywalk thrus on building one that would be awesome but any info will help
    thanks in advance

    berzerker

  2. #2
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    Mar 2001
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    Cincinnati, OH USA
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    Well first get a plan of what you want it to do. Sounds like you just want to use it for music.

    Motherboard: $15-$90
    Your best and sometimes cheapest way to go about it is to find a good all in one motherboard. That way you will not need any additional cards and will minimize the size of the case. You can find some on eBay for a good price. Look for onboard Audio (SB compatible), video, and LAN (if needed).

    Power Supply: $15-$40
    You have to think about if you want to be able to take the computer out of the car and use it elsewhere. In that case you will need a regular power supply (w/ inverter). If you do not plan on taking it out of the car you can go with a DC-DC power supply (I don't know much about these power supplies, but you can search this forum).

    I found that most ATX power supplies are kinda tall and will make the case tall also, so if you go this way you could forget the all in one MB and use sound, video and LAN cards. You can find many cheap used ones and it could end up costing less.

    Processor: $25-$70
    75Mhz is all you need to decode MP3s. This is if you will be using DOS. If you are using Windows I would suggest 133Mhz. Any more than this will depend on what you will be running, and if in the future you want to use other things as in GPS or video.

    RAM: $10-$55
    I personally regard RAM as a higher priority than the processor. I would suggests 64MB as a minimum. With RAM prices today I would go with as much as I could afford. I see people with 600-800Mhz processors in there computer but with only 64 MBs of RAM and I just have to laugh. But that is a whole nother story!

    Hard Drive: $40-$300
    Take the total space of MP3s you have and add 2 Gigs for OS space, and extra storage room. You should mount the drive in a vertical position. This will help prevent damage to the disk from bumps and vibration. There are some manufacturers that claim a high G-force rating on their drives. I have heard that Maxtor is one of the best.

    Display: $15-$450
    If you are going for just music I would suggest a 2x40 or 4x40 character LCD. If you would like visualizations or plan on using Windows, I suggest a 5" or larger LCD. The price of these can get pretty high, especially the VGA LCDs. You can use the 2x40 and 4x40 in Windows with no problem, for just music. That would be your best bet!

    Case: $10-$50
    This is where it gets personal! I have seen many types of cases using many types of materials. You can make your case out of plastic, wood, plexiglas, acrylic, and even metal (if everything is insulated very well). It is up to you. You can go through the websites on MP3Car.com and get ideas. You may think about using a standard PC case too.

    Controls: $3-$50
    How do you want to control the computer? Alot of people use just number pads. You can also use remote controls, joysticks, touchscreens, and mouse pointers. This is up to you!

    This is a VERY general checklist, and the prices are what you COULD (or should) be paying (US dollars). You should try to use any hardware you already have to keep the price down. As far as walkthroughs about building a car computer, this is a personal thing. It is kinda asking how to build a house. I have never seen a car computer built the same. If you let me know what you want it to do and what your budget is, I would have no problem giving a more direct description of what you should be looking for and doing to build your car computer. My suggestion is to look at what other people have done, and most of all ask questions! This message board is a holy grail to people like you and me, use it!
    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/Maveric/ M.A.V.I.C. System
    Asus MB, PII 266, 192 MB Ram, 6.8" LCD, 6 Disk CD-ROM, 21 Gig HD, All-in-Wonder Video w/ TV Tuner, Irman, Windows ME, Winamp, Cobra III -- All in a custom acrylic case.

    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/listings/ MP3car Listings - Please add to it! :)

  3. #3
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    Jun 2000
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    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
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    I'm curious (Or Clueless). Why is RAM so important? My DOS player has 16MB of RAM and plays great. I would certanly up that to 48 or 64 if I were running Windows.... Am I missing out on something cause I dont have enough RAM?
    1983 BMW 733i
    Cyrix 166 32MB with MPXPLAY And no display. Player sits on the back seat with a keypad in front. Someday I'll mount this thing for good...
    *****************************
    Gathering parts for carplayer v2.0!

  4. #4
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    78

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    Originally posted by Falcon62Travis:
    <STRONG>I'm curious (Or Clueless). Why is RAM so important? My DOS player has 16MB of RAM and plays great. I would certanly up that to 48 or 64 if I were running Windows.... Am I missing out on something cause I dont have enough RAM?</STRONG>
    I think he meant that if one were running Windows you'd want to add extra memory to prevent it from having to swap back and forth to the swapfile.

    For a DOS setup you're not missing out. I have 16megs in my testbed machine and barely use half of it. Unless you have a need for a really large ramdisk, or a huge disk cache, I'd stick with what you have.

  5. #5
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    You are not missing out on anything, that is plenty for DOS. Think of RAM as a SUPER fast hard drive that holds the data that is used the most. The processor can read from the RAM alot faster than it can the hard drive. The more RAM you have the faster the system can boot and load programs. Try loading say... PhotoShop 6 on a 1000Mhz PIII w/128 MBs RAM, then try it with 256MBs RAM and there will be a noticably faster loading time, and rendering time.

    I would rather have a 700Mhz w/ 384MBs RAM than a 1500Mhz w/ 128MBs RAM (Much cheaper too!). Just my personal opinion!
    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/Maveric/ M.A.V.I.C. System
    Asus MB, PII 266, 192 MB Ram, 6.8" LCD, 6 Disk CD-ROM, 21 Gig HD, All-in-Wonder Video w/ TV Tuner, Irman, Windows ME, Winamp, Cobra III -- All in a custom acrylic case.

    http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/listings/ MP3car Listings - Please add to it! :)

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