View Poll Results: Which setup should I pursue?

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  • Integrated CarPC. Mini-ITX, etc

    1 25.00%
  • Macbook Pro 15"

    1 25.00%
  • More Powerful Macbook Pro

    0 0%
  • Windows Laptop

    2 50.00%
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Thread: Macbook PRO- Listing pro's/con's, etc

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate
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    Post Macbook PRO- Listing pro's/con's, etc

    Merry Xmas eve!

    I started thinking about a carPC after seeing how little you can modify an alpine/pioneer/etc double din unit. I already have a strong list of components I can use specifically for a car. However, with the release of the new macbook pro...I've decided to investigate it's use as a carPC.

    As mentioned, a dedicated carPC led me to mp3car...etc. However, a laptop would fit more of my needs in the end. Here is a list of tasks depending on the route I take:

    Dedicated CarPC:
    Music
    Movies/Videos
    GPS
    Phone integration
    Possible OBDII integration
    Possible wireless connection(via tethered phone)

    Laptop Uses(If I chose this route):
    Music
    Movies/Videos
    Wirless Connection(Via wifi or tethered phone)
    HTPC use(if the unit is powerful enough)
    A bit of gaming, nothing too intense

    This thread will act as a bit of a notepad per-say. Any useful information I find(Macbook related) will be posted here so that I may receive some input/comments/suggestions from other users!!

    I am currently looking at the 15" model(MB470LL/A).
    # Operation System: Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard
    # Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    # Memory: 2GB DDR3
    # Graphic: NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT / NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
    # Display: 15.4" WXGA+
    # Hard Drive: 250GB
    # Optical Drive: 8x slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    # Communication: Gigabit LAN and WLAN
    # Model #: MB470LL/A


    Pro's:
    • I FINALLY get a laptop!!!!!
    • Bootcamp & Parallels Desktop=The best of both worlds!
    • A macbook/laptop is much more versatile than a mini-itx unit. It's mobile!
    • Besides the lack of CarPC support for Mac, the OS should be more stable than Windows(Bootcamp will perform tasks that Mac cannot. Provides versatility)
    • Mini Display Port. Works with dvi/hdmi. Most mini-itx mobos are stock with VGA. Pointless on a xenarc, but useful everywhere else



    Con's:
    • How to power a $2000 laptop?
    • How to dock a $2000 laptop
    • Front End software is lacking...
    • ...Did I mention the price?? lol
    • How to use a laptop for everyday use, but also integrate frontend/Car related software seamlessly. No changing settings when I take the unit in the house unless I can create a profile for Car & House. I would need the profile to be easily accessible or even automatic


    Docking Solutions:



    Accessories:



    To be continued as I find stuff throughout the day

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate scatebase's Avatar
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    mac mini is cheaper and easier to power.
    Mac mini for your car, macbook for you.

  3. #3
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archy88 View Post
    Dedicated CarPC:
    Music
    Movies/Videos
    GPS
    Phone integration
    Possible OBDII integration
    Possible wireless connection(via tethered phone)
    GPS, OBDII, and phone integration really suck on OSX

    Quote Originally Posted by Archy88 View Post
    Laptop Uses(If I chose this route):
    Music
    Movies/Videos
    Internet surfing(Via wifi or tethered phone)
    HTPC use(if the unit is powerful enough)
    A bit of gaming, nothing too intense
    There is nothing here that warrants a $2000 laptop. I can play 3D games on my integrated video laptop. Todays processors are powerful enough to cope with the parasitic nature of intergated graphics with all but the top end video games. Light video gaming is no problem on the $400 walmart special laptop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Archy88 View Post
    Pro's:
    • I FINALLY get a laptop!!!!!
    • Bootcamp & Parallels Desktop=The best of both worlds!
    • Laptop used for personal use, carPC use, and possibly HTPC use(Hope it's powerful enough)
    Finally getting a laptop is a good pro. I couldnt live without mine!

    Bootcamp, is just dual booting. Parallels is just virtualizing. I run OSX 10.5.4, WinXP x32, Vista x32, Ubuntu, and now Windows 7 all my on laptop. Apple uses Intel chips. Not PowerPC/IBM/Motorola like they used to. Apple IS a PC no matter how hard they try to deny it. They just make a fancy case for it and make it run a different operating system. Anybody with an hour of time can do the same thing and save themselves over $1000. Then with virtualization I can run any of the other OS's inside whichever I am booted into at the time. I use VMWare isnt completely free. VirtualPC by M$ is but I havent played with it much. VMWare has a free running software, but you need the paid version for easy setup. If you havent done it before then you can find details online, but the paid ("workstation") copy is really easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Archy88 View Post
    Con's:
    • How to power a $2000 laptop?
    • How to dock a $2000 laptop
    • Front End software is lacking...
    • ...Did I mention the price?? lol
    • How to use a laptop for everyday use, but also integrate frontend/Car related software seamlessly. No changing settings when I take the unit in the house unless I can create a profile for Car & House. I would need the profile to be easily accessible or even automatic
    To power it is just like any other PC, because it is. A carnetix will work fine.

    Docking, like all other PCs, is just a proprietary docking station I am sure. Would probably want to pick up 2, 1 for the car, 1 for the home so the dock can be permanently installed, and just move the laptop around.




    First off, welcome.

    Ok, here are some things to think about. A CarPC and an HTPC are similar, and neither require anything fancy. As I said, the $400 (well non-netbook) laptop will work just fine. Anything more than that is bragging rights.

    OSX is not the best choice for in the car. Most people that use OSX, run windows in some form for something. GPS software is really a big downpoint there. There have been some good advances made, but it is no where near as compelte or as supported as the windows end.

    Anyways, the whole point of a frontend is to hide the operating system. Once the welcome screen goes away and RoadRunner appears, unless you knew that is was running RR (and hence a M$ operating system), you wouldnt know what it was running or if it even was a CarPC and that is the way it is supposed to be.

    Also keep in mind that everytime you start your car, you probably want tunes. So modding your power button so that it can be started with the car will be really important. Do you really want to do this on a $2000 laptop? Probably not, so you wont. And then you will manually turn it off and on every time. That would get annoying fast and ruin the whole experience.


    So this is what I reccommend:

    Buy a small permanent install laptop or desktop for the car, only reason to choose one over the other is size. Then it will be integrated you will love it.

    Buy a small HTPC. I got my HTPC off of woot.com for $289. It has a Core 2 Duo, 2Gb of RAM, HDMI out, and all my media is synced between my desktop server with now 2Tb of hard drive space and its 120Gb. It is the size of a book and looks awesome too.

    So laptop, lets say $600 so it gets in the Core 2 Duo range, HTPC in the $400 range to be high, and another desktop/laptop for the car in the $400 to $600 range. All these are high estimates. You save $200, you get 3 computers, you get a better install, you get better software, you get better support, and the list goes on.

    Cons, it doesnt have a glowing mac logo...

    If you really want to run OSX, buy a laptop that has a Core 2 Duo and a video card or integrated chip that you find on a macbook for the easiest integration. If you want to search for kext files, then almost anything will work, but installing OSX will be more difficult since it needs to be fooled into it thinking it is a mac.

    I think the first step is software. Find a frontend you enjoy. I would reccommend RoadRunner. Big following and free. Always help available, and lots of plugins. Check out the frontend area for more ideas. After you find one that you like, then you know what operating system you want to run on. After you know what OS, then you can choose hardware tailored to it.

    XP is in my opinion the best choice, and that will run on anything.


    And in case you can't tell I have a bias against Apple. I have used apple products since forever, and PC products. I have had more issues with apple products though. But the real killer is when a company bold face lies (mac vs. pc ads). If you think windows crashes all the time and gets viruses all the time and yadda yadda yadda, you need to try it for yourself and stop believing the lies.

    I am just trying to help you get the best system for your money, that will work the best and has the best support.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

  4. #4
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Don't get a Mac unless you are interested in experimenting in the hobby. I have a Mac install and it's great, but the Windows software is far more advanced, flexible, and feature rich. There are numerous GPS options on the PC, none that are suitable on the Mac.

    Frankly, putting a PC in the car is trivial, whether Apple or PC. The hobby has really turned toward software developments and integration with external hardware. XP holds the advantage here.

    OTOH, if you WANT an Apple in your car, then go ahead and do it. They work great. Just have your eyes open.
    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

  5. #5
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    Hey thanks for the reply. The mac mini is certainly a good idea for form factor, and the mac os/windows base. However, I certainly don't have the money for both a macbook and a mac mini. lol.

  6. #6
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    Thanks a lot for taking the time and breaking things down for me. I will be the first to admit that the glitz & glamor of the new macbook really holds my attention. Any time I go to a PC store, the majority of my time is focused there. HP's, Sony's, Asus's, Acer's...just don't grab my attention. Most of the attention is drawn to the multi touch surface on the new macbook...it just feels so natural. But tis a mute point.

    3 computers for the price of one sure sounds enticing...I just hate the idea of having to move files between each other. One unit would have been perfect. However, I absolutely see where you guys are coming from.

    I knew I would at least have to run Parallel Desktop for GPS use...but I didn't think of the frontend factor. I doubt it can load PD & THEN load GPS.

    Powering the laptop...there was no way in hell I was fiddling around with it. If anything, I was going to mess with the dock in hopes of getting an automatic configuration.

    Damn...just when I thought the end was near! You guys certainly know a great deal about this hobby, and I really appreciate your input on nearly every point. Now I guess I should compare the price of a mac mini vs the original mini-itx setup...and that's merely for form factor and cleanliness alone. I would certainly run only windows on it...then dabble with OSX when I get bored and want to experiment.

  7. #7
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Just so you know, the multitouch pad again is not a mac only thing. They didnt even do it first. Almost all modern laptops support it hardware wise, it is just the OS that needs to use it. I believe Windows 7 is supposed to take advantage of it, but there are drivers available for XP and Vista to make a multi-touch enabled touchpad useable.

    So if you want to have a multi-touched trackpad, buy some hardware that supports it, and that does include apple, but includes a lot of other products too.

    And also I am not sure how long you can wait or how much you like the mac mini idea, but they have gone a very very very long time without an update to it. Apple never does that. That either means a) a new one is coming out very soon, or b) they canned it.

    Either way it seems like a risky move to buy a new piece of hardware that hasnt been updated in well over a year. I think the numbers are 505 days since last update, and the mean time between updates is 188 for the mini... draw your own conclusions.

    But if you get a mini non-apple you can upgrade and choose all your parts. The price though is not a big deal between them. You can pick up used ones on ebay for about the same price as you could build a brand new mini-itx system too, so not a big deal there.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate
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    I am always open to hearing people's thoughts...and with that said, your conclusion seems dead on. I checked the update numbers on their laptops, but I failed to check the mini. Like i said, it was merely for the form factor.

    If I can do multi touch on a windows laptop...you will be my hero. lol. Now I have another thing to research! Multi touch, and a hackintosh. then put the extra $1000 towards a chip for the mustang and a nice seafood dinner.

    I was going with the DG45FC board, so I think I'm back to that. However...I just noticed the post on the Nvidia Ion. If it is put into production...looks like I am waiting till summer!

    Since the thread has already gone off topic...why not ask another question. Which laptop manufacturer are you drawn to right now? Would this be for a specific model? Although I'm not sure I would trust a Sony Vaio, it's one of the few notebooks that made me look twice. I also like some of the Asus models for their upgradeability(sp? lol)

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