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Thread: Configuring My First System

  1. #1
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    Configuring My First System

    If this is not the right place, feel free to move it. Also, the post is a bit long, but I think it should have the appropriate details to help anyone out. Lastly thanks in advance for all your help.

    So I am new to car PCs and audio in general. I have been researching the audio side of the house for about 8 months now and feel fairly comfortable with it. I am a software engineer by trade and while I haven’t done much coding in the last 2 years, if I really want something I can make it. Also, I have read hundreds of threads here about installs and I feel that with my computer knowledge and newly developing foundation the install itself should be fairly easy. Currently my uninstalled set up is:
    Car: 2008 Honda Accord Couple LX-S
    Front mid: Seas Lotus Performance 6.5
    Front Tweeter: Seas Lotus Reference
    Rear Mid: Stock 6.5 (largely won’t be used)
    Sub: 1 Polk Sr-12
    Mono: JL HD750/1
    Front Comp Bi-amp: JL HD600/4
    Sound Processor: JBL MS-8 (Will most likely buy a RF 360.3 when released (has optical input))
    Sound Dampening: Second Skin (Deamplifier, MLV, and CCF)
    Wire: All Knuconceptz
    Head unit: NONE! EVERY head unit I have found has failed to meet my needs.

    My requirements in a head unit (CarPC):
    -Navigation (I like the newer Garmin’s and Google Maps Navi preferably traffic)
    -Bluetooth (Ideally work with the latest technology - Pull contacts off phone automatically / streaming / …)
    -RV camera
    -Works with Zune Pass media
    -Complete hand-free model for all controls (Something like Dragon Natural- 100% may be unrealistic but best viable options)
    -Most likely Dual monitor (1 non-touch screen led 7” with RV camera in / 1 touch screen led 7” for all controls)
    -Radio/HD Radio (not a priority but will probably add)
    -FAST!!! Lag annoys the hell out of me and is 90% of the reason I am looking for a Carputer instead of a head unit
    -Wifi Capable (This will just be a USB plug-in for when necessary)
    -SS Harddrive for OS and programs
    -Seamless interfacing with the RF360.3’s new computer EQ program (not released yet but if one interface works better w/ program in program this would help)
    -Ideally not over 250 watts for the computer
    To handle this thus far, I feel I will need 2 PSUs (1 front dash for 2x Monitors and 1 rear for the computer). The system will be running Windows 7 x64 as I have 2 available licenses for it. My vision for this is the have the 7inch led be the backup camera and navi map/posted road speed/…standard “Garmin” features. The other screen will operate much like a Zune HD interface wise and handle all interactions (EQ/Navi inputs/media selection/etc).

    So, my questions for this are:
    1) What general system specs do I need for this system to keep it under 250ish watts and lag free? I currently work with systems that are ridiculously over-specced for their needs so I’m not sure what a good gauge is.
    2) Any recommendations on monitors? I would like them both to have good image quality, ideally LED to mitigate cold weather.
    3) Would any current interface out there provide me with these capabilities? I would really like the swipe scrolling feature if possible for more fluid navigation. Recommended programs/plugins etc.

    Currently my budget is around 1k-1500 for the PC and monitors. This can be adjusted accordingly if the equipment meets my needs more adequately. And to note if it wasn’t obvious, SQ is the most important part. I will add in interface design pics when I get home tonight.

    ---------- Post added at 04:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:59 PM ----------

    Also to note, upon some directions software side, I plan to do a base install and configuration on a spare laptop I have to try and simulate the carPC. Although currently to test the 15 interfaces and 4 OSs and 200 apps/plugins is a little overwhelming on my available time with no direction.

  2. #2
    FLAC PhilG's Avatar
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    Welcome to MP3car, way to jump in with both feet!

    I have a couple of comments on your planned spec's:

    "I feel I will need 2 PSUs (1 front dash for 2x Monitors and 1 rear for the computer)"

    You should not need a second PS for the monitors, they normally come with their own filter and can connect directly to 12vdc.

    The system will be running Windows 7 x64 as I have 2 available licenses for it

    x64 does apparently create some issues in certain instances with Centrafuse (if you are going that route) I am not aware of other software issues with it specifically but others may chime in.

    1)I am not well qualified to comment on this question, I run a laptop and I am perfectly satisfied with it's speed.

    2)Most monitors are LED backlit now. There are lots of threads here to search, you will find the biggest issue is sunlight readability on the cheap ones.

    3)CF is the most polished front end (IMO) but comes with major heratache from bugs and quirks. RR is catching up fast, it's definitely worth comparing for you needs. OM is new but making great strides as well.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by PhilG; 05-03-2011 at 04:04 PM. Reason: sp
    My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE

  3. #3
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazimir View Post
    So I am new to car PCs and audio in general.
    i first read this, and then read this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kazimir View Post
    Front mid: Seas Lotus Performance 6.5
    Front Tweeter: Seas Lotus Reference
    Rear Mid: Stock 6.5 (largely won’t be used)
    and lol'ed... (most that are new to car audio stick to alpine/pioneer )


    Quote Originally Posted by Kazimir View Post
    1) What general system specs do I need for this system to keep it under 250ish watts and lag free? I currently work with systems that are ridiculously over-specced for their needs so I’m not sure what a good gauge is.
    this does kind of depend on the software you need to run. the way in understand it, centrafuse doesn't use any graphics rendering for any of it's visualizations, and relys solely on the cpu..

    in general, the atom, and it appears that the zacate boards have taken over the low end of cpus around here, with the i3, pentium, and core2duo being used in the upper end of carpc installs.. that isn't to say that they are perfect for your needs, just what i seem to see the most around here..


    Quote Originally Posted by Kazimir View Post
    2) Any recommendations on monitors? I would like them both to have good image quality, ideally LED to mitigate cold weather.
    in my last phone call to chris(mo-co-so), he had to educate me on this a little-- all new lilliput screens have a led backlight. so this is less of a issue now then to used to be.

    for screens, i do not know of any automotive 7" non-ouch screens, though you could always look on ebay for generic 7" screens.. for the main screen, transflective are currently the best, but it comes at a cost(about $600). for a cheaper option, you can always look at replaceing the resistive touch screen with a capacitive touch overlay-- it will allow for a little clearer screen, and the touch response will be a little smoother.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazimir View Post
    3) Would any current interface out there provide me with these capabilities? I would really like the swipe scrolling feature if possible for more fluid navigation. Recommended programs/plugins etc.
    sorry, can't help much here-- other then saying that currently, centrafuse, and ride runner are the main ones, with open mobile as the most promising, yet-to-be-released..

  4. #4
    Low Bitrate agentq's Avatar
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    On you lag issue, keep in mind no matter what computer you put in is going to have some startup time. Nothing is going to be instant on.
    Also on your RV camera, you dont need 2 monitors. At least liliput monitors have a green wire on them that you connect to reverse signal wire and it will automatically switch monitor inputs to the reverse camera then back to your front end when out of reverse.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilG View Post
    "I feel I will need 2 PSUs (1 front dash for 2x Monitors and 1 rear for the computer)"

    You should not need a second PS for the monitors, they normally come with their own filter and can connect directly to 12vdc.

    The system will be running Windows 7 x64 as I have 2 available licenses for it

    x64 does apparently create some issues in certain instances with Centrafuse (if you are going that route) I am not aware of other software issues with it specifically but others may chime in.
    Thanks, I had been reading a lot of old posts on monitors and didnt realize they could regulate input. Also, good to know for x64
    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    i first read this, and then read this:
    and lol'ed... (most that are new to car audio stick to alpine/pioneer )
    Yeah 8 months of research has changed the set up a few times although initial speakers we Polk SRs but their availability and price increase has made seas more worthwhile.

    Quote Originally Posted by agentq View Post
    On you lag issue, keep in mind no matter what computer you put in is going to have some startup time. Nothing is going to be instant on.
    Im fine with boot times, just want the run speeds to be as fluid as a Zune HD as possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by agentq View Post
    Also on your RV camera, you dont need 2 monitors. At least liliput monitors have a green wire on them that you connect to reverse signal wire and it will automatically switch monitor inputs to the reverse camera then back to your front end when out of reverse.
    I may just do 2 touch screens then. The reason I am looking at 2 screens is for the 08 accords I will have the stock screen blacked out. I can simply replace the mount with the stock navi mount and at least have something up there so it doesn't look off. The second perk of doing this is I dont lose interfacing for media when I have my navi on, which is fairly often.

  6. #6
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    Main Menu

    Artist Menu

    Phone Ringing

    Radio


    The left half of the screen would have swipe ability for up and down.

  7. #7
    Low Bitrate agentq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazimir View Post
    I may just do 2 touch screens then. The reason I am looking at 2 screens is for the 08 accords I will have the stock screen blacked out. I can simply replace the mount with the stock navi mount and at least have something up there so it doesn't look off. The second perk of doing this is I dont lose interfacing for media when I have my navi on, which is fairly often.
    ? what front end are you trying to use ( CF,RR,etc), are you trying to reskin or make a front end from scratch. On your interfacing media, 100% of the current popular front ends let you manage( pause, stop, play,skip, etc) your music while gps is still displayed

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    So here are initial specs I have put together for the comp. I guess I am going to need to test out a few interfaces first to see what I like before approaching that further.

    Part || Name || Price
    MoBo ASUS P8H67-I DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Mobo 159.99
    CPU Intel Core i5-2400S Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz LGA 1155 65W Quad-Core Desktop Processor 199.99
    RAM Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 Laptop Memory 79.99
    SSD Intel 510 Series (Elm Crest) SSDSC2MH120A2K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD 284.99
    HDD WD Scorpio Black WD5000BEKT 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook HDD 69.99
    PSU M4-ATX 250W Intelligent DC-DC PSU 88

    I am still looking for a case for this (may make one depending on the amount of materials left after sub/amp rack). Trying to put power specs together and here are my guesses (these all assume active usage):

    MoBo - 70W?
    CPU - 65W
    RAM - about 10W?
    SSD - <1W
    HDD - 15W?
    PSU - 10W-15W? assuming 95% efficiency, 5% of 250
    Total - 176W?

    Bluetooth is integrated and wifi so no need for external cards. I will be using the integrated gfx card and sound(this will not be processed on the comp) so those are not included. This means 176/250 is about 70% usage, so should remain fairly cool as I'm not pushing the PSU very hard at max consumption and the comp in general with the extra computing power should not break more then about 30% usage. That will add to keeping the system cool and providing a stable platform.

    Any major flaws anyone can see in the build, concepts, or power usage?

  9. #9
    Low Bitrate agentq's Avatar
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    Well from what I have read, if you want to do hibernation/resume for speed you may want less ram. Apparently when you hibernate it will dump on your system 4gb file from ram to your hard drive and reverse transfer this 4gb of data back to ram. Hence less ram = faster resume times.

  10. #10
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    So if I like the fluidity of the newer Garmin handheld UIs, will iGuidance 2011 fit my needs. When looking at youtube videos, the mapping looks choppy and archaic(granted most of these videos are 2+ yrs old).

    I am considering instead of a second screen for the GPS to custom mount a Nuvi. I would like to have this as part of the computer, but if the non-handhelds can not meet my expectations, I will sacrifice integration for functionality.

    If possible, does anyone have a link to a video of 2011 in action?

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