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Thread: Help With Carputer Confirguration Please!

  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Dec 2008
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    Help With Carputer Confirguration Please!

    Hi, I am new to this forum and carputers. I am looking to set one up in my car. Although I know a reasonable bit about audio, I know close to nothing about computer hardware.

    The car:

    Mitsubishi Lancer 2002

    The reasons I want a carputer:

    1. I want to be able to play lossless audio.
    2. I want all my music with me. All the time. But not in bagloads of Caselogics!
    3. It's just much more convenient than any standalone head unit in nearly every aspect that I can think of.

    The system I plan to build on this would be:

    1. Active fronts with 2 x 6" midbasses per side + 1 pair x HF drivers
    2. Rear fills comprising of a stereo pair of speakers
    3. Two subs
    4. One 2-ch amp driving the front midbasses pairs
    5. One 2-ch amp driving the front HF pair
    6. One 2-ch amp driving the rear fill
    7. One 2-ch amp driving the subs in bridged mode

    As far as the PC is concerned, I am confounded by even the smallest of details. Would appreciate any inputs with regards to the following:

    1. Mini Itx or Micro Itx? - I suppose Micro is significantly larger than Mini. The cabinets end up tall, although quite slim. Space is not really a concern for me, and if it means a better PC, I'm game for letting it sit in my boot. However, I think it would be awesome if I could have one compact cabinet for the MoBo, RAM etc and have another one for the HDDs. This could perhaps be located under the seats. Hence, which MoBo? Onboard WiFi would be a big plus. And preferably with onboard graphics. I'm not gonna hook up any fancy displays - video is very low priority. But since I will be using a primitive secondary screen for the rear (in addition to the in-dash 7" touchscreen), it would be necessary to have either composite or S-Video output.

    2. Hard Drives for storage? - I need about 1TB of total storage capacity for all my music. Would like the option to be able to expand this also in the future. What HDDs should I use? Will one large regular 1TB or two be fine? I want to avoid laptop drives if possible due to high cost. Was wondering if I could cradle a couple of the usual, large HDDs into a useless CD Changer housing.

    3. Hard Drive for OS? - Would it be of any advantage to use a Solid State Drive (say about 32GB) dedicatedly for the operating system? Will it in any way improve the boot/ shutdown times?

    4. How much RAM? - Some have suggested upto 2 GB while yet others have said that 1GB might be a bit faster in terms of hibernation time etc.

    5. Sound Card? - Not the device I want to skimp on. Considering the ASUS Xonar DX. Looks like the audio department in this card should suffice. The pre-out though is a measly 0.2V. The amplifiers I plan to use have an input sensitivity ranging just about down to 0.2V, so I'm hoping it shouldn't be a problem.

    6. Cooling? - From where I come, temperatures are constantly in the range of 95-100 degrees F. Would a system of this sort beat the heat?

    7. DVD Drive? - Slot load DVD drive with good vibration damping available? Would like to mount one on my dash if so. Seen one from Samsung for about $90. Not sure of its shock absorbing capabilities though. Anyway, transport stability of a head unit is not required. I wont be using DVDs to watch movies/ listen to music on the go. Its just for the occassion when a friend would want to listen to a disc he/ she is carrying, and to serve as an in-car CD/ DVD ripper which will mostly be done when the car is stationary.

    8. Power Supply? -

    Btw, maybe it would be useful to mention that this setup will not be used for:

    1. Gaming
    2. Internet Browsing
    3. Playing any kind of High Definition content

  2. #2
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    Dec 2008
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    Nearly a week now, and no replies. Someone please help!

  3. #3
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Colorado, but Canadian!
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    Everything is laid out in the FAQs already just so you know...

    1) If you have the space, then you can choose based on price. I use a Core 2 Duo on a Mini-itx board.

    2) You can use x1 1Tb harddrive, but I wouldnt recommend it. There are good and bad things with different ways to do this. Price, power draw, space, and setup complexity. Tb harddrives are only possible because of the new way to store data. The data is stored vertically on the platter rather than horizontally giving more room. It takes up less space but is higher density. You hit a pothole, 1 hole sector could die, instead of a part of 1. You will be replacing your hard drive sooner than if you use lower density (~320Gb) drives. Also you say you dont want laptop drives because of price, but consider they draw significantly less power and take up less space. With a full size drive, you need lots of power usually on the +12v rail and the +5v rail instead of just the +5v rail for the laptop drive. More power drawn means a bigger PSU, and therefore a more expensive one.

    3) Advantage yes, optimize boot times no. Unless you use one of Intel's newest SSD drives that arent really due to consumer markets until later this year, you will get slower performance with an SSD than a spinning disk. The advantage is that the data is more secure since there are no moving parts. You need to do lots of optimizations on the OS so that it doesnt constantly write things to the disk like a page file since read/writes are extremely limited opposed to magnetic media.

    4) Up to you. The more RAM, the more data that needs to be stored to the HD every hibernate. Also the more RAM the more power that needs to be supplied to the RAM to keep it in standby. More RAM also means longer boot times. But then of course you give the OS more RAM. Personally I use 2Gb because I dont care about boot times, and I dont use hibernate. I just start the car remotely and when I get there it is playing music.

    5) I use onboard, my opinion wont matter here...

    6) As long as you have case fans that is fine. 100F really isnt anything to a PC. It is the huge temperature that builds up in a sealed case that will do it in. So make sure you get airflow and plenty of it when needed. The mobo will do it automatically assuming you provide the fans to the system case fan pins. If you have the space, a bigger case can help tremendously.

    7) I havent even touched a cd in a year. All the music I want to hear is on the HD. And you mention if a friend has a CD, who still uses a CD player? Everyone has an mp3 player. Just put a USB port upfront and they can plug it in. I bough a slim slot load drive in 2006 to use it. Never even used it since I had everything I wanted to listen to right there. The slim ones made for laptops have good access when bumpy. But too bumpy and it will just stall the disk and wait for things to calm down. Also you do want a slot loading. If you use a tray, it will suck big time. Flimsy, hard to use when driving, ect.

    8) Get a DC-DC. But you need to add up all the power you will draw and get one to suit. DC-DCs are much more limited in the rails than a 1000W desktop PSU and rightfully so. if you pull too much power, your car will go up in smoke. So if you get a bunch of harddrives that all pull power on 1 rail, lets say 80W, and the rest of your system only uses 20W (using a C7 integrated CPU with minimal RAM), you will destroy a M2-ATX rated for 160W even though you are only pulling 100W. Those HDs are going to pull a lot of power from individual rails and will probably max out most by themselves assuming you go with desktop low density. So pick your PSU after you get to figuring out how much your system will draw. But keep in mind, if you choose to use a C2Q desktop processor that pulls a bagillion watts, because it is cheaper than a mobile C2D that pulls 35W, you will be paying at a minimum $200 extra to get a big powerful DC-DC powersupply rather than a cheaper $70 PSU.

    You probably want to also start looking into GPS software and frontends.
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