Hello guys (and gals?)!
I'm in the process of building my own CarPC and I discovered your great forum/store. It's not the first time I think about integrating a PC into a car but now I'm ready to take the leap! At first I thought my idea was "exotic" but I realize that this hobby is becoming more and more popular and accessible.
I'm pretty good with computers but I don't have a lot of car-modding experience. In fact, the only thing I have done so far is replace the tape deck with a CD player in my old Honda Civic CX 1994. I want to install a CarPC in my "new" Mazda 3 Sport 2004 (hey, we don't all make 50k a year!). Budget is not an issue here because I know when my project is done, it will (hopefully) get me years of enjoyment. Time is also not a factor because the idea of building it myself is really exciting and I don't care if I have to spend countless hours planning, buying, assembling, configuring and installing the PC. That's pretty much the point of a hobby anyway!
I'm just done reading through the newbie guide and the first think I can say is yes, I do want to go on even with the "[...]many hours of researching, learning, trying, re-doing,... not to mention the many hours of frustration that can come from a pc install.... this is not said to deture you from installing a pc, but more to enlighten you... & warn you.. & prepare you for the inevitable..."
So far I'm obviously still at the planning phase and, knowing myself, I know I'll start buying and building before it's over!
I'm still trying to answer a big question: what computing power do I need to have a satisfactory music/GPS experience, which is my main objective? When I'll be more oriented on that, I'll see which one of these options I'll work with:
Option 1 - Try to fit everything in the dash. Something like a Pico-ITX case with motherboard and integrated CPU. Retractable screen like Xenarc 700IDT.
Pros : Easier and quicker installation. Will less likelily catch the eye of a potential thief. No need for a custom-made bezel.
Cons: More expensive and less powerful.
Option 2 - Go with a more "standard" setup . Go with a mini-ITX case like the popular VoomPC and the Intel board + Atom CPU. Use a Lilliput 7" or 8" (or more, didn't check space yet) screen.
Pros : Less expensive and more powerful. Quicker access to PC if needed (maybe?). More attractive design
Cons: More expensive and less powerful. Might need a custom bezel to fit the screen and this kind of work is one of my weaknesses.
Once I sort that out, I'll link you the stuff I plan to buy and then I'll probably ask you for your input! Talk to you soon!