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Thread: Newbie: Mac Mini Setup Questions

  1. #1
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    Newbie: Mac Mini Setup Questions

    How's it going? I am a newbie here and have a few questions. I have used macs for years and feel setting up a mac mini in my car would be most ideal for me, being that I know my way around a mac very well. So ideally I would like to have 2-3 touch-screen monitors and really just want to have the function to choose mp3s or movies. What are all the things I would need to set all of this up, wiring kits?, case for the mac mini?, programs?, etc...

    I tried to read around other questions in the forum, but felt I should just start out with the basics. Thanks and Any help is very much appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Benny

  2. #2
    Newbie NeonBoomBox's Avatar
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    Hey benny,

    as far as a basic setup is conserned id go with a p1900 for the power supply. it powers 1 screen and your mac. your multi screen setup will be a bit more tricky... a case for your mini just depends on you. a lot of people just stick it in their glove box with no problem. if your just wanting music and movies you could just use itunes (but few would recommend that) there are a number of good front ends to chose from in the front end section of the mac forum. all work with a touch screen but some work better with a external controller. just try em out. it all comes down to your preference and what features you want. checkout Neon Boombox we only have music working for now but movies will come shortly.

    hope to see some install pix soon!
    good luck and hope this helps!
    Take a peek >>> www.neonboombox.com

  3. #3
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BennyBenz View Post
    So ideally I would like to have 2-3 touch-screen monitors and really just want to have the function to choose mp3s or movies.
    Unless you are going to install 2 or 3 Minis, this is not possible as the Mini only drives a single screen.

    The best you could do is a VGA splitter or one of those desktop splitters, but both have their down sides.

    The power supply is either the P2140 or P1900. Everything else is entirely up to you.

    As well as reading more in this forum, I would also suggest you check out the FAQs for some of the other forums as well to find good information for things like mounting your LCD, connecting to the car's audio system, etc..

    As far as front ends go, all the Mac options are listed as sub forums of this one.

    AMP - Fairly simple to use with a very Mac-like look&feel. The downside is that development has long since ceased on it and the original developer has disappeared. There have been rumblings of resurrecting it as a OSS project, but nothing has come of it to date.

    CarFrontEnd - Simple and clean open source Mac like UI. Only has a music player plugin at this time and development (for the core anyway) is indefinitely on hold. I am still around though and more than willing to help with/fix any issues that people report though.

    NeonBoomBox - The new kid on the block. Doesn't look at all like a Mac app, but shows promise for the future. It is currently under active development, but is a closed source application.

    QCar - The most robust front end for the Mac to date. The developer effectively pioneered having a Mac in a car with his old Tatra and TatraApp (the first Mac car front end). Under active development, but you have to pay for it. So far it is the only Mac app to have Navigation support built in (or at least really close now).

    FrontRow - There are some people that use FrontRow itself as the front end. There is even an App (search for FrontRowRemote) that will let you control it via the TS.

    iTunes - It's there, you can use it (in fact many front ends have just controlled iTunes running in the background). The UI elements are far to small to safely use while driving though.

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

  4. #4
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    Thanks everyone for all the help.

  5. #5
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Installing a Mac Mini. A little old, but the install is pretty much the same for the Intel Mini.

    Also, the Car PC 101 link in my signature is of a Mini install.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  6. #6
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    Benny, I'm in the same boat, about to install a MM into my car. Infact I have all the components required and have bench tested the setup already, all good. I've played with all the front ends and would have to say that NeonBoomBox is the most promising at the moment. Qcar is great, but costs a lot even if you don't want the navigation portion of the app. AMP is still pretty good, and FrontRow (built into your mac) is also rather good, probably perfect if you have a rotary controller which I do not, yet.

    VGA splitter would be the go for multiple monitors, I do not know how this will impact the quality or brightness of the displays however. I'd also like to look at this for the future so I can put a screen in the back of the car for my soon to be born daughter (wiggles anyone?)

    I bought a 1.4Ghz PPC mac mini with a gig of ram for about $240 USD, it runs very well and all front-ends I've thrown at it work nicely. A carnetix P1900 PSU and macpac cable and a cheap 7" lilliput screen. I've spent about $600 USD in total so far. The only thing I really need to do is install this gear into my car and make a custom mount/facia for my screen.

    all good fun

  7. #7
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    I've mentioned this before in other threads, but most people seem to want back seat screens for entertainment. That means you don't need VGA. So, instead of splitting your output or trying to control two screens from the front unit, put an Apple TV under the front seat and run the video up to a much cheaper video display vs. a VGA one.

    You can sync the Apple TV to your Mini up front, so you can serve up the media to the back seat from your iTunes on the Mini.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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