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Thread: Building my first CarPC, need some opinions

  1. #1
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    Building my first CarPC, need some opinions

    Thanks for reading the post!

    I'm about 80% of the way through the test stage of building my first car computer.... thanks to all the great information in this forum. However, I'm still unsure about a couple of the components. I've searched and read as much as I could find, but either could not find a definite answer, or those answers/reviews were dated by at least a couple years.

    Anyway, here are my 2 biggest questions:

    Power Supply. DSATX, M2-ATX, M4-ATX, Carnetix, Opus? I'm almost ashamed to say I've read as much as I could find on the subject, but am no closer to figuring it out than I was when I started. I'll list the basic specs and my tech level below. I'm more concerned with the features, reliability and ease of setup of any given supply, rather than the output... I know I'll need one of the higher-end ones output-wise. Any guidance would be REALLY appreciated.

    XM radio. I have a XM-1000 receiver, and am not sure whether to go with a serial or USB connection. USB would be simpler to plug in, as my mobo only has one serial port... but I did order a 2 serial port riser just in case. I've read that USB connection can lead to hibernation issues, but those posts seem to be dated. Then again, I noticed the MP3car Store seems to have quit selling the XM-1000 --> USB adaptor. Again, any guidance is really appreciated.

    Here are the quick specs:

    I'm probably mid-level here, intermediate knowledge of computing (have built over 40 computers over the years) electronics (I know what a diode is, can solder on a board, but don't ask me to design a circuit) but not a programmer or engineer by any stretch of the imagination.

    ECS Micro-ATX + AMD Athlon X2 4800 65W Processor
    2 Gigs Corsair DDR2 800
    ATI Radeon 2600XT vidcard
    Asus Xonar D2 soundcard
    Western Digital 320GB SATA HD

    I'm looking to also power the XM-1000 and Viseton+Mitch serial cable interface HD radio unit by the power supply if possible. I have a 10" touchscreen I'll probably power from elsewhere.

    BTW, yes I know the specs are a bit overkill for a car pc, but most of it I had lying around, and the other parts were bought with a mind toward the least power consumption I could find, size & price. The HD, sound card, and mobo I already had, the processor was the lowest wattage I could find to match up with it, and the vid card is there so I can run a secondary screen on teh dash for a future ODB gauges, other display widgets, etc. apart from the fron-end on the main screen.

    Thanks again for any advice, let alone reading the whole post =] This will all be going in a Honda Element, and I'll be sure to post a review of the whole project along with the sound specs and notes on building a custom center console to house it all.

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate rEegLer's Avatar
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    It looks good BUT you're gonna need a killer PSU to power all those components. The processor alone is 65W and i know video cards suck power as well not to mention you want to power your XM module and radio unit. You will probably need at least 220W to be safe. Someone can feel free to correct me on the power consumption.
    Love

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I was worried about the power with those components. However, I do have a wattage meter hooked up to the whole thing right now, and it seems to spike at ~130 watts at startup, and idles around 95. Originally, I'd figured that the whole ball of wax would use about 200W, just to be on the safe side. Might only need 150W on the thin side.

    This where I figured the M2-ATX, though it seems a little more proven, might not be the safest option. Which leaves the M4, DSATX, or the Opus 320 at the top end.

    Even if I could squeeze by on a smaller one, I was leaning toward coughing up the extra $50-100 for a larger one. If you're going to do something, might as well do it right, I guess.

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate rEegLer's Avatar
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    I guess its really up to you, its always safer to go higher and leave more room for expansion/human error.
    Love

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