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Thread: General Questions....

  1. #1
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    General Questions....

    I'm interested in installing a mac mini in my 07 Xterra. I have done some research on the internet and on these forums and most the information I have come across seems to be somewhat outdated, also some of the FAQ threads have been deleted or no longer exist. I am a complete noob to when it comes to car audio but do have a background based in technology and electronics (I'm a CCNA), and I'd like to do all the work myself excluding any type of fabrication work that may be required.

    I have a couple questions to get me started:

    1) My budget is about $1500 dollars, is this a realistic budget?

    2) I want my system to do navigation, music, satellite radio, backup cam, video, internet, etc. Is this all possible on the mini or will I need a head-unit to accompany the system?

    3) What are the pro's and con's to going with a mac mini over a windows based machine? What's the most popular/most robust front-end?

    I may just go with a Pioneer AVIC-X920BT if this seems to be more trouble than it's worth or until the mac carputer area gets a little more streamlined. Everything seems to be mostly hit and miss at the moment with finding accurate information.

    Btw, I have no problem with someone posting links to FAQS or other sites as long as it's up to date accurate infomration. I'm here to educate myself on all this stuff and won't be offended.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i'm a PC, but i'll post what i know:

    1) $1500 is a start of a very rough budget-- each install can be very different, so it could still be well above, or below that..(my first intel-atom based setup cost about $700, then i went through 3-$200 sound cards....)

    2) i know that all of these are possible with a windows setup, but i don't believe that all of the software has a mac equivalent-- which is why some people run parallels, or other windows emulator.

    last i heard: mac gps software is horrible, music is completely feasible with the FE's available, i don't think that any satellite boxes are have any software to work on mac yet, backup camera can be a feature of the screen you get, instead of integrating with the OS, video 'should' be the same as audio-- it should work with some FE's available, and internet should not be a problem as long as your wifi dongle supports mac...

    3) the way i understand it, "to be different" is about the main advantage, overall, i think that there is a much larger base of products and help in the micro$oft camp here, but it is your choice in the end..

    for FE's, last i read/ heard, there are not any new/current mac fe's around-- most of them are kind of old, but bluehawk solutions is working on a newer ipad/ipod/mac compatible fe-- but it has not been released yet--so it might be a little while.

    it is personal preferance if this whole carpc is more trouble then it is worth-- to some, it is a nice hobby, to others, it keeps us busy...

    just keep in mind that a carpc of any type will require maintenance at one time or another, so it can be more troublesome then a all-in-one solution like the avic.. but at the same time, a avic is less customizable then a car pc at the moment, though the guys over on the avic forums are working on it..(i know that they have gotten wifi to work on the avics..)

    and you might have already seen it, but here is the general FAQ's:
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/advfaq.php

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate Project07MACry's Avatar
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    I'm currently on a mini, so I will give my 6 cents on the matter:

    1) $1500 may be realistic. A refurbished/near mint mini for $500, plus a $300 screen with necessary mounts, plus $150 for a power supply/regulator, plus $50-$200 for a stereo amplifier, plus $100 for the GPS software/hardware, plus $40-$150 for a backup camera with install, it just might work. I'm on $1300 with my current setup...

    2) With the combo of using Windows and OS X, all things are possible on the mini. If you are simply looking to add an additional unit that stores music, GPS, backup cam, and does internet, then you can acquire a separate head unit with built in SIRIUS/XM/HD Radio. Bear in mind, you will be adding to your budget.

    3) With a Mac Mini, you can have the best of both worlds: you can run Windows when necessary, and a Mac when necessary. As stated by soundman 98, GPS software on the mac is less than pleasing, so you will need windows for that at least. But again, via virtualization software (the free VirtualBox, or the popular VMWare Fusion) you can run both OS's on the same computer. You cannot do that on a windows PC only.
    Also consider the size and footprint of the mini. It will not take up a lot of space, and doesn't require a lot of altering on the casing.
    As far as a front end, there are not a lot of front ends available for the Mac, one of its few downsides. Should you stick with a PC, Centrafuse is the most popular there. Coming soon, Bluehawk Solutions is attempting to enter the FE fray, but time will tell.

    All in all, it's a matter of preference. Should you decide to venture in the car PC world, just note that the info is not up to date because the hardware/software required to bring the CarPC to life has not changed much, with the exception of the new mini. And oh yes, if you were gonna use the new slimmer mac mini as your carPC, hold off until a regulator is available so you can use it. Otherwise, you will need an older Mini.

    Good Luck!
    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

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  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate golfguy's Avatar
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    One of the biggest positives in using Mac hardware and Mac OS X, even if you run all your software in Windows via Fusion or Parallels is Sleep Mode. Practically instant wake and sleep when you start and stop the car when you use a Carnetix MacPack is much better than PC Hibernate.
    Any day is a good day for golf.

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    (Check Speedy's Install)

    Speedy was traded for a 2004 350z - Install complete except for permanent screen installation.

  5. #5
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    ok now i have a question i have a laptop i want to use, i have plenty of car amps, i have one of those power converters that plugs into the cig lighter and i plan on chopping it and pluggin it up to the battery with fuses in it. i found a screen i want to buy am i missing anything? lol oh and i was thinking about taking out the touch pad in the laptop and trying to put it in my center console any oppinions on how to do that?lol thanks

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate Project07MACry's Avatar
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    @ cmiller_01ex: Whoa, dude. That almost sounds like you are disassembling the laptop!

    If that is what you are after, you will need to check out some of the bezel fabrication section of MP3car.com so it can at least look right. All I can say is that your project sounds like a lot of rewiring...
    Also, you will need a GPS dongle (either USB or bluetooth). Lastly, the power converter controls the juice necessary to power the laptop. If you run your laptop straight to the battery (with or without fuse), you not only risk damage to the battery, but to your laptop as well. That's why we use inverters or regulators. You can check the power converters section as well, and see what turns up. But I personally wouldn't recommend chopping up your power converter...
    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

    The Worklog

  7. #7
    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    Cheers Dude!
    lolo, you sound like you have the same ideas in mind as when I first came here!!!!

    Seriously though, if you have a macbook/pro (power book/ibook) you should get the carnetix converter.

    I keep waffling on the idea of mac mini vs 2Din unit vs voompc. Especially since you can hackintosh a PC.

    I'm a mac, but I have to say that a PC will allow you the benefit of hardware goodies. Mac users are screwed on the hardware versatility front. OS issues are solved with making a hackintosh or vm a mac.

    I too was wondering about moving the track pad to my center console. Fabricating is going to be necessary and then finding ribbon cables long enough. But then you have the option of touchscreen! Which is what I ended up thinking was a better solution but not as sexy!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Project07MACry View Post
    @ cmiller_01ex: Whoa, dude. That almost sounds like you are disassembling the laptop!

    If that is what you are after, you will need to check out some of the bezel fabrication section of MP3car.com so it can at least look right. All I can say is that your project sounds like a lot of rewiring...
    Also, you will need a GPS dongle (either USB or bluetooth). Lastly, the power converter controls the juice necessary to power the laptop. If you run your laptop straight to the battery (with or without fuse), you not only risk damage to the battery, but to your laptop as well. That's why we use inverters or regulators. You can check the power converters section as well, and see what turns up. But I personally wouldn't recommend chopping up your power converter...
    so you think the "mouse" from the laptop into the centerconsole is a bad idea?lol i was just kinda throwin it around. but i should leave the lap top alone then? and could your recomend an ok beginer screen. i know most on ebay are the same thing. you think i should just go for the cheapest to start out and then after a while buy a better one? or just goahead and save for the better one? thanks man im really serious about this.lol oh and now imma have to get a new amp...it took a dump yesterday.lol

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