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Thread: Should I remove my mini and install a tower?

  1. #11
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    The Opus 250W will work with the old G4. It will not work with one particular generation of G4 (quick silver?), which uses a strange bigger power connector on the motherboard.

    Otherwise the G4 should work fine as a car computer, I had used mine for about 3 years, before replacing it with the mini. However, I do not see any advantage over the mini except for the option to have multiple screens and a better video card (is it really needed that badly in car?). The rest (audio, storage etc.) you can add thru FireWire or USB.

  2. #12
    Newbie macalanche's Avatar
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    The software I need is not available yet which explains why I am in not hurry.
    You've got my attention...what software are you waiting for?

    What processor are you planning to run and how many watts do you expect to need?
    Not sure on the watts yet, I'm going to have to sit down and determain what I'm going to use first. I dont' remember what processor is in it but it's old and slow. I want to say 333Mhz but I'm not willing to put the farm up on that. For my modest needs I'm going to need hard drive space and RAM more than speed. I've put 1gig of ram in already and I think I'm going to ditch the IDE HD for an external HD. One of my conserns about having a carputer is having it walk away with, at the very least, your email user and pass info. Not the end of the world but if I can prevent by simply using a small firewire drive that I can pop out easily...cool. Maybe someone can help me here too. Thumb drives are getting pretty big now, I've seen 4gigs, has anyone tried to set one up as a boot disc? I could leave my IDE in place for music and vids and put all my OS and keychain info on a thunb drive.

    To be honest, i am not interested in carputers. The only reason I plan on installing one is for processing the SQ sound system and so I can have all my music library in the car. I don't need GPS as I like old skool maps I was even going to run with no monitor, but I think tuning will be a pain without one.
    Oh man, you should find an old school monochrome monitor and an old Atari and hook it up if your not into the carputer thing. How cool would that be to be playing Pong in green and black while pounding the windows out with your sound system?

    The Opus 250W will work with the old G4. It will not work with one particular generation of G4 (quick silver?), which uses a strange bigger power connector on the motherboard.
    Perfect, that's exactly the help I'm looking for, thank you. I will have to check into the power connector/model I have and get started. I'm not hung up on the Opus though, if anyone has better ideas on power and sleep solutions I'd like to hear them.

    Otherwise the G4 should work fine as a car computer, I had used mine for about 3 years, before replacing it with the mini. However, I do not see any advantage over the mini except for the option to have multiple screens and a better video card (is it really needed that badly in car?). The rest (audio, storage etc.) you can add thru FireWire or USB.
    As I said before, I don't think any of it is "needed", these are toys and hobbies. Since this isn't going to be a tool that I'll depend on for my livelyhood, even thought my Mini has come in very handy for work, I don't see any reason not to dig into an old G4 that's not really a usefull part of my computer family any longer and put my Mini in my house. Perhaps set it up as a work station or even try putting it to work as a media player in my living room (do I detect secondary project?).

    When I started looking at changing things up in my truck I considered hacking up my old G4 TiBook first. The monitor cable/ribbon has gone bad on it but the computer has funtioned great as a desktop computer for the past few years. I just boot it closed and use an external monitor and keyboard. The only reason I dropped that idea was I couldn't make even the modest improvements that I wanted (audio and video) any easier than the Mini. The only upside would be the built in keyboard and how thin it would be once I removed the monitor.

  3. #13
    Newbie macalanche's Avatar
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    This might make more sense if I show and explain what I have in mind. Here is my setup as it is today (sorry for the blurry pic). My Mini is in my console and my monitor is just below my A/C controls. This works well and everything is tucked away nicely. Itís just not exactly what I want so itís time to start looking at how to make that happen.
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  4. #14
    Newbie macalanche's Avatar
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    I sank an amp into the underside of the back of my seat. I measured the G4 board and know that Iím going to need a space thatís approximately 11Ēx14.5Ēx5Ē and where that amp is fits that bill. Iíll have to do some more trimming but it should fit well. On either side of the amp are recessed areas for the headrests to go when you put the seat back down, there is a couple of inches of space there too so Iím thinking that Iíll cut some slots, maybe about 6 on either side of the CPU 1/4Ēx4Ē, to vent the computer. I also expect to have to add a small fan to my Lexan ďCPUĒ to push air thru those new slots.
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  5. #15
    Newbie macalanche's Avatar
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    The next project will be to cut the existing console up and widen the area that has the existing monitor enough to accept at least a 10Ē possibly a 12Ē touch screen and a couple USB and Firewire ports. This is where I start to get out of my depth, I have very little experience with with fiberglass, in fact Iíve just started experimenting. Iíve read a bunch of the web sites and Iíve made a few test pieces but nothing that would be an acceptable finished product Iím after. Iím going to try two or three times and if I canít do it so that it doesnít look likeÖwell, I did it, Iíll pay to have a pro make it look right. A finished look is very important to me, I really donít want this to look like an after thought.
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  6. #16
    Newbie macalanche's Avatar
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    The final piece will be to cut out around the cup holders and add the my old 700TSV, iMate and probably a track pad here. Iím going to use the 700 as an application launcher and controller for open apps. In other words, if Iím reading e-mails, Iíll have Mail in the 7Ē and have each e-mail open in my new large monitor. Of course everything I do will be mirrored in AVIC, if I choose to. So I should, if I chose to, be able to have my GPS map up on my AVIC, play a movie in my 10+Ē monitor and have my 7Ē monitor showing mail and/or controlling the movie. Howís that for an over stimulated driver? This will actually probably be a safer way to manage all these options than it sounds, iTunes will be larger and easier to read and I wonít have to worry about opening and closing windows to find things as it will all be managed by the small screen. Less time looking for something and more time with my eyes on the road. Of course at night itís going to look like the interior lights are on with three monitors shining, the local PD might have something to say about that.

    Iím aware this is over the top and bordering on nuts. Iím also confident that when Iím done with it Iíll find an excuse to cut it all up again. Iím even more confident that my wife is going have several unpleasant comments for me while Iím taking a jigsaw to my console and ordering the parts Iíll need.
    Itís all worth it!
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  7. #17
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macalanche View Post
    I believe saying that GPS is available is a little bit of an over statement. I own Rt.66(enough said) and have used RoadNav with very mixed results . I know RouetBuddy is out now, and I admit I haven't tried it but I've seen the screen shots and I'm not impressed. GPS was a major reason for taking a second look at what I really needed this for...tool or toy. After spending time with a dedicated GPS system I won't accept a 75% solution again.
    I think you misunderstood me. I meant that the AVIC seems to do everything you want with higher sound quality, including GPS. That makes the Mac superfluous, although having the AVIC AND the Mini gives you the dual screens that you want from a single tower install.


    Quote Originally Posted by macalanche View Post
    I think you've overlooked the biggest reason for wanting to do this though. It's fun. I don't need a carputer, I enjoy it. The simple fact is my Mini install is done and I want another challenge/project. Why not do something different with materials at hand? My next project (after the tower) is probably going to be cutting my console up and fiberglassing in a 10"+ screen with USB, Firewire and power ports. Again, I don't need to, it would just be over the top to have two touch screens and a third screen (the AVIC) all tied into the Mac.
    Okay, then. I'm not trying to discourage you. Your original post sounded like you'd had it with the Mini and couldn't think of any reason to keep it now that you had the AVIC. I couldn't see how substituting a G4 tower would change that.
    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:
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  8. #18
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    You've got my attention...what software are you waiting for?
    I don't know. The problem is that commercial software is both expensive and requires more processing power than a g4 will provide. At least in my situation which calls for 8 channel time alignment, EQ, and hopefully steep crossovers. I was going to try BrtueFir, but I don't have experience with programming, especially in the Linux environment. Hopefully, someone will port Brutefir to OS X

    Sad news on the Opus not working with the QuickSilver. I'll have to research that more as I have a Quicksilver and was set on the Opus.

  9. #19
    Newbie macalanche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    I think you misunderstood me. I meant that the AVIC seems to do everything you want with higher sound quality, including GPS. That makes the Mac superfluous, although having the AVIC AND the Mini gives you the dual screens that you want from a single tower install.
    You're right, I thought you were talking about the Mac not the Avic. The Avic is a great piece of electronics but it has it's shortcomings as well, only 10gigs of available HD space with no upgrades available and it's iPod supoport is awful. Not to mention no email or web. So this is where the Mac comes in very nicely to fill those holes. I'm fortunate to have a vehicle that will allow me to have both. It would be great to find a way to manipulate the touchscreen on the Avic to run the Mac as well but I doubt that's going to happen.


    Okay, then. I'm not trying to discourage you. Your original post sounded like you'd had it with the Mini and couldn't think of any reason to keep it now that you had the AVIC. I couldn't see how substituting a G4 tower would change that.
    Well, you're not totally off here. I have had my problems with my install and I even just removed it all for a few weeks out of frustration which is how I got where I am now. Accepting the short comings of this type of install and looking at what it excels at and trying to highlight those as much as possible.

    I still believe this is going to happen, meaning there are people much smarter than me out there working to fix these problems and shortcomings. When that happens, the Avic will come out with a post on avic411.com talking about it's shortcomings compared the my Mac

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