ok, first time for a car pc here, but i've done alot of research so far...
the biggest factor for me is gna be cost, mainly thanks to the insurance premium a 19 yr old gets, as well as bills, smoking, average job etc.
im currently bearing towards one of two things...
the ideal which id like to do is get 1 of those espresso minipc's and a USB soundcard to start off, and save later for a xenarc (i intend to just have winamp under the startup folder until i get the screen) with possibly either a compact keyboard, or better just the separate numpad sections u can get, and set these keys to the winamp controls, this can then just rest in the center console.
The pc itself is perfectly sized to fit in a space under my centre console, basically, beneath the head unit / heater controls, theres a space that is about 25cm x 17cm and about a 10cm height-stretches from the front of the footwell all the way to the gearstick - this is all totally invisible from even within the car, unless u bend ur head under the dash...
Power to this minipc is quite straightforward... uses little power, and just needs a 15V input (nt sure about amperage / watts, but it will be low, its tiny and only a 900 mhz) of course 15V should not warrant the use of an opus, i just need something to turn the 12V into 15V, hopefully this wouldnt be too large a drain for even the cigarette lighter socket, and don't need the relays / timing of an opus... im gonna be going very ghetto as for power lol, if i can use the cigar lighter, ill just unplug it, and plug it in once engine is running, and if the lighter is unsuitable, ill wire in a basic on-off switch - again only 15V and low amps, so shudnt be a problem?
PRICE - id say ~ £220
And, option number 2!
ive also been looking about building a very low performing system from second hand parts, things like a pentium 3 600-800 with a smallish desktop case, 256ram, 10gig, motherboard sound and graphics, screwed into the boot, this is better in some ways as i reckon i could do it for under £100, but i don't look forward to routing the cables to the front lol, another advantage of this one, is that its alot easier to ugrade, just slot in a new MB, all cables r in place already, whereas the espresso cant be upgraded (but it is alot safer and more hidden, and tidier, and easier to wire to the battery when i add more peripherals) BUT!! big but! powering an old p3 is gonna be harder, id probs just go for a 150W inverter to start, these r like £15, and run off the cigarette lighter, i have heard of people running pc's from inverters in the lighter socket, and as i said, id just unplug it when not in use... but how would i manage to transplant a switch from the pc in the boot, to the cockpit?
ALOT of questions i know, but i really really wana build a carpc lol, and i know ur all gonna suggest better components, opus, bigger hdd, and so on, but i really am on a tight budget, i could afford to get the espresson within about 2/3 months, the cheapest pentium system in little over a month, but a nice setup, i..e xenarc, opus, miniitx, would take me until nearly next april lol
so! what u guys think?