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Thread: Carputer Laptop - New or Used ??

  1. #1
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    Question Carputer Laptop - New or Used ??

    Hi all and thanks for this Laptop forum,

    I have a VGA screen installed in my dash and tried the setup with a friend's laptop, it works great

    Now, to but a laptop…

    I have an unsolved dilemma in regards to my Laptop – Carputer.
    I would like this laptop to serve me at home, out and about and as a carputer (dock and roll).

    With my setup the Laptop will be mounted almost vertically behind the passenger seat.

    I am debating between a $200-400 X series IBM Thinkpad (i.e X-31)
    (As another option I was thinking of a used Toughbook CF28, as they are build to be kicked around.) And a $600-800 brand new Acer / Toshiba (or equivalent)

    Now, obviously money is an issue or else I wouldn't be here and just bought a BN Toughbook CF19 from the store LOL…

    These are some of the pros/cons from my limited knowledge,
    Please feel free to contribute your opinions / experience to help solve this enormous dilemma LOL

    [HL]Used Thinkpad / Toughbook:[/HL]

    Pros:
    - Good known reliable Thinkpad (I like them)
    - Corporate laptop quality
    - Cradle/ docking stations (for car mount) available and cheap
    - The X series are 12" ultra portable (small, light)
    - More rugged build
    - Immediate cost is lower (about $400)
    - Serial port for ECM scanning

    Cons:
    - Lower performance (Intel M/Centrino 1-1.3Ghz / 512M RAM)
    - Old technology (Video card, wifi, Optical drive etc.)
    - Less modern software support (Games, GPS, etc.)
    - Limited or NO warranty (could be a total loss of $$)
    - Battery is mostly gone or holds 1 hour
    - Win XP only

    [HL]Modern Laptop:[/HL]

    Pros:
    - Higher performance (Intel Duo 1.6/2Ghz / 1G RAM)
    - Modern technology (Video card, wifi, Optical drive etc.)
    - 1-3 year warranty (Can get best buy extensive warranty and repair every issue caused buy carputer usage)
    - New Battery
    - The "new feel"
    - Win Vista support (good or bad?)

    Cons:
    - No docking stations available to consumer models
    - Construction is less rugged
    - Immediate high cost (about $800 with taxes and maybe warranty)
    - Carputer potential damage
    - No Serial port

    There are more and more pros/cons but let's get this thread rolling

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Return on Investment

    $400 difference, If you have anything else you'd like to spend it on vs. the return on investing in a $800 system

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate daclothe's Avatar
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    i'd say go used. you don't need all the extra horsepower that a newer lappy would offer, plus an hour of battery life is MORE than enough in a car setup. many just use matx or itx solutions that don't have battery power at all, so you're clear on that end. maybe you could upgrade the RAM situation in the old one, but people can get by on 512 mb. if money is a concearn, i just don't see you getting $400 more bang for your buck in getting the new one.

  4. #4
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    I agree with the above notes and I'm sure a thinkpad X23 or X31 can deal with MediaEngine and iNav ver3, but since I need this laptop to replace my home PC as well I just don't think an old machine would cut it. If you wanna run any modern software (3D stuff) the 3-4 year old laptops just can't handle it...

    It's starting to dawn on me that I'll have to give up the idea of a machine that does it all Grrrrr... And eventually own 2 units...But it just doesn't make any sense, transferring files on and off a 20-30G thinkpad Carputer...

    Any other options in the $300-400 price tag?

    Anyone running one machine for both home and auto use?

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister1 View Post
    It's starting to dawn on me that I'll have to give up the idea of a machine that does it all Grrrrr... And eventually own 2 units...But it just doesn't make any sense, transferring files on and off a 20-30G thinkpad Carputer...
    you're right, that doesn't make sense...

    but if you had 2 dedicated systems (1 dedicated carPC and 1 for home/travel use) then I don't see why you would be "transferring files on and off" anyways??? with a dedicated carPC, you put the programs/files you need onto it and then leave it alone. there's no need to constantly transfer back and forth (just add programs/files as you need them). your home PC doesn't need to have anything to do with your carPC, you have them for different purposes.


  6. #6
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister1 View Post
    I agree with the above notes and I'm sure a thinkpad X23 or X31 can deal with MediaEngine and iNav ver3, but since I need this laptop to replace my home PC as well I just don't think an old machine would cut it. If you wanna run any modern software (3D stuff) the 3-4 year old laptops just can't handle it...

    It's starting to dawn on me that I'll have to give up the idea of a machine that does it all Grrrrr... And eventually own 2 units...But it just doesn't make any sense, transferring files on and off a 20-30G thinkpad Carputer...

    Any other options in the $300-400 price tag?

    Anyone running one machine for both home and auto use?

    Thanks.
    Since I use mine EVERZYWHERE, I can relate to your dilemma, and a used 2yr old thinkpad can probably be found for under $400. My development machine is a thinkpad T30 that's been thrashed for the last three years. One thing you mentioned above concerns me though, "3D stuff" really needs to be handled via desktop with huge dedicated video memory. $800 isn't gonna getcha even a half decent laptop for 3D. So I'd say you've already made your decision - 2 machines.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComputerGeek View Post
    why you would be "transferring files on and off" anyways???
    Agreed, mostly the two units will be separated, however if I could have a single laptop that handles all tasks then

    A. You have all your files, songs, videos, contacts with you all the time, whenever wherever, and that's nice
    B. Which is kinda the same, If you just finished downloading some new songs they are already there on your 1 unit, no need to transfer at all. (I know it's not a BIG deal to grab some songs on a USB key, but it's just makes life better, and that's what technology is all about)

    Quote Originally Posted by GizmoQ View Post
    "3D stuff" really needs to be handled via desktop with huge dedicated video memory. $800 isn't gonna getcha even a half decent laptop for 3D. So I'd say you've already made your decision - 2 machines.
    No huge 3D stuff here, just some of the modern games it would be nice to be able to use software that was made after 2006 LOL

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate daclothe's Avatar
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    as far as keeping the files in sync, if you can get an internet connection you can easily stream any of those files with programs such as orb or hamachi. for me, both of those programs as well as PDAnet (for sharing my cell phone's internet capabilities with the laptop while on the go) have been nothing shy of amazing.

    as far as gaming and laptops, i always kind of chuckle when i hear the newest billing for "gaming lappys"...lol but i know what you mean about using post 2006 software!

  9. #9
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
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    if you have a wireless network then you can keep your carPC and homePC syncronized. I believe there are programs (maybe even built into windows?) that you can set up to automatically syncronize two computers via wifi.

    I have never felt the need to syncronize my computers (because I use them for different purposes) so I have no experience with that type of program. I don't know how easy (or hard) it is to set up.

    if your goal is to sync your computer files/contacts/etc then it may be worth looking into..

  10. #10
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    Yep, file sync is an option... After all, I think I'll have to go with a modern laptop to serve my daily computer needs. It will be an ultraportable 12-13 inch most likely if I can afford it.
    That would serve the car as well, and If I can get my hands of a CHEAP Thinkpad X31 or a Toughbook CF28 then I'll have a separate Carputer unit.

    Thanks for the comments so far guys. I promise to post pics of the setup when I'll have it running

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