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Thread: Need Help using a Netbook as a Car PC

  1. #1
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    Need Help using a Netbook as a Car PC

    So I love audio and video. I love it for HT and spend massive amounts of cash there, I love it in my car so I spent massive amounts of cash there.

    But I havent been happy with my playback options from a high-end audiophile position. I like FLAC as my main format and then use a Zune for playback. But I have limited options when it comes to accessories.

    So I got a thought in my head of, well if you want FLAC which computer programs will play, why not just get a cheap inexpensive netbook/laptop, transfer all your songs onto it (both FLAC and MP3's) and have it be your player.

    I currently have 2 amps one for my fronts, one for my sub. My rears as disconnected currently. My plan was to get a laptop running Windows 7 (so it can serve as a laptop if needed), install Media Monkey or XMBC and then be able to use one of those 3 players for music playback. I was also going to get a Asychronus USB to RCA Digital Audio Converter (like the Musiland Monitor 01 or the HRT Media Streamer) for better sound, and connect that direct to my amp. This bypasses my current system but still leaves it in place.

    I have a Windows Media Center remote that I would use to start with for changing songs, and use the screen for viewing if needed. Then eventually I would get a 7 or 10" touchscreen so I could hide the laptop elsewhere, and use a suction cup mount for the LCD.

    I would run power to the laptop off a cigarette lighter to plug adaptor (as well as for the USB DAC if needed)

    So I found a decently cheap laptop with an Solid State Drive and am debating purchasing it. Its got a 10" screen and Windows 7.

    But I have some questions so I thought this would be where to post them.

    1. Platter Hard Drives can skip and have issues due to drops so I assume its recommended to go with a Solid State drive correct? I ask because its obviously easier to find a inexpensive (i.e. Craiglist) netbook with a regular HDD than a Solid State one. Also SSD's are more expensive and have less space.

    2. Has anyone used a USB to RCA DAC like the ones mentioned above in this context? I know they would work, and also provide the sound fidelity I am looking for, but wanted to check.

    3. Anything else I missed (which is probably a lot since this is my first go around with this idea)..

    I greatly appreciate any comments/suggestions.

  2. #2
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    Im not sure if you saw this before, but give this a read .

    http://www.mp3car.com/showwiki.php?t...let+as+a+CarPC

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by trinybwoy View Post
    Im not sure if you saw this before, but give this a read .

    http://www.mp3car.com/showwiki.php?t...let+as+a+CarPC
    I had not. I havent been on this site a bunch, and its a bit harder to navigate that others I use. Thanks for the link I am reading it as we speak.

    Seems to be quite well written. Only instance possible problem is that the laptops I am looking at are netbooks and typically use a single core Atom processor, which as I was already aware could be a problem due to heat buildup.

    I do have a laptop for my home using a triple core 1.8 AMD Phenom chip w/ dedicated graphics card but that would get too hot IMHO, but I have thought about using that to start with and just buying a screen and using a 3.5mm to RCA adaptor....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    1. Platter Hard Drives can skip and have issues due to drops so I assume its recommended to go with a Solid State drive correct? I ask because its obviously easier to find a inexpensive (i.e. Craiglist) netbook with a regular HDD than a Solid State one. Also SSD's are more expensive and have less space.
    to some extent. if the ssd would fit your needs--both space requirements, and cost then yes, they are preferable. platter drives can skip a little more, but depends on the quality of install. there was one member that had the same platter drive last through 2 car-totaling wrecks.... so wihle ssd is preffered, platter drives can work plenty fine as well..

    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    2. Has anyone used a USB to RCA DAC like the ones mentioned above in this context? I know they would work, and also provide the sound fidelity I am looking for, but wanted to check.
    i kind of do. i run a full active setup(controlled by the computer) with a crummy esi gigaport hd usb soundcard. that dac should be a little better then the one i use..

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