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Thread: New Custom CarPC Build, Need Advice

  1. #1
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    New Custom CarPC Build, Need Advice

    Hey everyone, I have always been interested in putting a carpc into my vehicle and I am now trying to get everything organized so I can do so. I have a 2002 Honda Accord sedan with a 6 disc CD changer/radio which is double din (actually measures 183 x 109 mm). I want to replace it with an all in one carpc solution that I am looking to build myself. Here is some of the hardware I am looking at using:

    Zotac H55ITX-A-E Motherboard Mini-ATX
    Intel i3-540 3.06Ghz CPU
    A-DATA 2GB DDR3 1600 Mhz Ram
    Corsair 64GB SSD CSSD-V64GB2-BRKT
    M4-ATX 250W PSU

    As far as my concerns though, I was wandering if there are any mini-atx double din cases out there? Also, I am contemplating the need for a CD/DVD drive, as I don't think there would be enough room for the 7" lilliput touchscreen and a slot for the DVD drive on top of it in a double din. I would be using a notebook slot load dvd player if I did decide to go this route. Another question I have is, is there any amplifier circuit boards that I could also include inside the double din enclosure to give me enough output to my speakers (just normal volume, maybe around 15-20 watts rms?). Can the amp be ran off of the computer power supply as well or would it need its own power?

    Sorry for all of the questions and long post but any advice would be appreciated. I am fairly good with 3D modeling as well as I am a mechanical engineer so I would not be afraid to model up my own case and screen bezel and everything, as I was kind of planning on that anyway. So if you could just give me any advice I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctown30 View Post
    I was wandering if there are any mini-atx double din cases out there?
    there are zero out there.. space, and heat are huge concerns when using mini-itx board in-dash. also, many dashes are not deep enough-- you will need at least 10" of clearance--not including connector length-- to fit a mini-itx board and screen in dash.

    when i was looking at doing the same thing in my car, i measured that i needed 13"-14", and i barely had 13"..

    the other issue is space--it gets very cramped in there very fast-- esp with the heatsync space requirements a i3 will require.

    i would recommend against mounting your setup in-dash-- look for better, more open locations, like under the seats, or in the trunk-- this way, you should have less problems with heat build-up as well..

    Quote Originally Posted by ctown30 View Post
    Also, I am contemplating the need for a CD/DVD drive, as I don't think there would be enough room for the 7" lilliput touchscreen and a slot for the DVD drive on top of it in a double din. I would be using a notebook slot load dvd player if I did decide to go this route.
    no, it will not fit without dash mods..

    i have one in my install, but rarely use it-- if you use flash drives, and external hdd's as much as me(my personal car keys have 2 flash drives on them, and my work truck has 1 flash drive, and i have at least 3 externals i can think of..), then it is probably not needed.. though it does come in handy when i buy a new cd that i want to listen too right away (i buy cd's because i can't stand the horrible bitrate of downloaded music anymore..)..


    Quote Originally Posted by ctown30 View Post
    Another question I have is, is there any amplifier circuit boards that I could also include inside the double din enclosure to give me enough output to my speakers (just normal volume, maybe around 15-20 watts rms?). Can the amp be ran off of the computer power supply as well or would it need its own power?
    at this time, there are not many i feel comfortable recommending. the bybyte one seems to be junk-- as it is only 2 channel, but listed everywhere as 4...

    though there is the 41hz.com amp9 kit(also offered in a prebuilt version) i have heard very good things of 41hz's amps, but haven't had a chance to listen to them..

    there is also the many cheap 'motorcycle amps' on ebay that could work as well--once you take them out of the case, they might fit(though as i said above, i think it is a horrible idea to put a i3 in-dash, mostly due to heat dissipation)

    otherwise, have a look around, and make sure to browse the FAQ's(if you look enough in the newb sections, there is a link )


    and enjoy!!

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate knownchild's Avatar
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    my caputer is almost exactly the same as what you describe and my wife has almost the same car you have check it out:
    98 Volvo S70 ITX Worklog

    There really isnt any "case" per-say
    there are "cages" for what me and you have the need for.
    Temperatures can be an issue, but that depends on your processor and heatsink.
    If temps become an issue you can always underclock or undervolt the processor.
    Never accept STOCK equipment.

  4. #4
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    Soundman98 thanks for all of your opinions. I checked cructhfield for the usable space behind my dash was around 7.75 inches. I know you said I would need somewhere around 14" but a mini-itx board is only 6.7 inches deep. I am also going to take your advice and not put a cd drive in the computer because like you said I dont think I would use it enough to justify the extra pain it would be in trying to incorporate it into the system. Thanks for the advice on the amp as well. I am looking more into the amp9 kit.

    Knownchild, what did you end up using on your system as far as hardware? Like what processor did you use and have you ran into any temp issues? Also as far as spacing, crutchfield says I only have 7.75" of usable space behind the dash, how does that compare to your dash? Did you end up putting an amp in your computer as well? If you did, what one did you use and do you like it, or if you didn't do you feel your computer is supplying enough output as far as volume is concerned? Also by the way, your build that you linked is very clean. That is almost exactly what I am looking to do. I am even willing to draw up plans for a case and things as I am fairly good with 3D modeling and might just have a custom case and bezel made.

    Thanks again for all your help so far. I'm looking forward to getting this project started and will keep everyone updated on the progress.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate knownchild's Avatar
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    I am currently installing my system into my car, i am using my after-market CD player as the amp for now and i cannot give you the details as of yet on temps and sound.

    Yes a mini-ITX motherboard is 6.7" but you must also incorporate the length of wire that will be sticking out the back, for instance a VGA plug plugged into your VGA connector on your motherboard is like 2".

    I have around 10" of depth in my vehicle, also if this build wasn't going to fit i was just going to use my glove-box as a PC case.
    Never accept STOCK equipment.

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