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Thread: Realistic expectations... 1st post ;)

  1. #1
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    Realistic expectations... 1st post ;)

    So, this is my first post here. I'm a long time lurker though :P

    I have been looking into building my first car PC and need some real world experiences first to tip me over the fence. Just to preface my questions I have been building personal computers for years now so that is not an issue.

    My questions are this:
    • realistically, what am I looking at for boot times. I am thinking cold boots since there are times that I do not start my car for days at a time (traveling for work and all).
    • budget wise what is about as low as you can go and still get a reasonable system. I'm mainly looking for playing MP3s, navigation, and minor tasks.
    • keeping the previous question what do I need at a minimum?

    • motherboard (thinking an atom MB, all in one since I have a ZOTAC IONITX-A-U in my HTPC already and it works fairly well)
    • PSU (I cant use the specific Zotac board that I mentioned due to the way it is powered but one of the smart PSUs from this site would work right?)
    • a monitor (does that require a separate power source, some are powered via USB right? Is daylight readable really necessary?
    • a case (I can fabricate my own, no issues there)
    • a boot drive (thinking a small SSD to boot from since they are so cheap now)
    • am I missing anything other than memory and basic cables?
    • is there a threat of draining my battery at any point with the smart PSUs?



    So basically I want to get a car PC that can play MP3s and run navigation software when needed on the cheap(er) side. I will find other things that I want it to do but for now I just want a stable running system.

    I will have many more questions at time goes on but now I just want to make sure that I am not just throwing money at something that in the end will never work quite right or I will need a ton of hardware to suit my needs.

    Thanks for your replies :)

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    realistically, what am I looking at for boot times. I am thinking cold boots since there are times that I do not start my car for days at a time (traveling for work and all).
    as i'm sure your aware, it depends on your boot optimization, and devices installed--usb devices seem to slow it down the most.

    my system with a 120gb ssd boots in about 1min, i believe most of my bios settings are set to default..

    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    [*]budget wise what is about as low as you can go and still get a reasonable system. I'm mainly looking for playing MP3s, navigation, and minor tasks.
    on average for all new parts, you are probably looking at around $500-1,000 depending on the parts used(my first build was about 900, and have about $2k or so into it now). you can always check the for sale section, or ebay for better deals. i believe i have read of a couple of 'new-to-me' builds that came in at less then $250..



    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    [*]motherboard (thinking an atom MB, all in one since I have a ZOTAC IONITX-A-U in my HTPC already and it works fairly well)[*]PSU (I cant use the specific Zotac board that I mentioned due to the way it is powered but one of the smart PSUs from this site would work right?)
    kinda related to each other.

    you can use that type of board, but you need to check a couple things. so far all the boards like that i have read of use 19v power. as long as they use a voltage near that, they can be used in cars. you just require a power supply like the carnetix 1900, or 2140.

    motherboard--for general use, the atom, or the more recent amd zacate lineup should be adequate. as i'm sure you've found, it's no i5, but it does it's duty...

    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    a monitor (does that require a separate power source, some are powered via USB right? Is daylight readable really necessary?
    it it typically recommended to connect the screen to the power supplies regulated 12v output for longtivity.

    i do not recommend any usb screens as a primary display. they will not display anything until after windows loads, so that means that any pre-windows errors will never be displayed. there is also the issue where they use processing power for video screen updates-- because the usb lines go through the processor, there is no way that a usb screen can take advantage of things like the ion chipset. and with the limited processing power of the atom/zacate, it could take too much processing power, and cause problems with stuttering audio.

    personally, i have used 3 different screens(escalating in price and performance). when money is an issue, the extra options are a little frivolous. if you have the extra money for the project, then the options are nice to have. the biggest difference is if you own a convertible, and is the reason that i kept spending money on screens. if you have a hard top car, then i don't believe that you will need anything more then a high brightness screen.

    so far, i have really enjoyed my lilliput 669 screen the most, because it has 3 input options over my first screen which only had a vga input.

    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    [*]a boot drive (thinking a small SSD to boot from since they are so cheap now)
    sounds like a plan

    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    am I missing anything other than memory and basic cables?
    not that i can think of.

    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    is there a threat of draining my battery at any point with the smart PSUs?
    not really. my car used to sit for 3-4weeks at a time(changed jobs, now drive everyday), using a dsatx, and have had zero problems with starting my car..


    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    So basically I want to get a car PC that can play MP3s and run navigation software when needed on the cheap(er) side. I will find other things that I want it to do but for now I just want a stable running system.
    let me know how you got to that point

    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    I will have many more questions at time goes on but now I just want to make sure that I am not just throwing money at something that in the end will never work quite right or I will need a ton of hardware to suit my needs.
    this is a hobby, and as such, i don't keep specific track of how much money i put into it. as a techy kind of guy, it is kind of fun to mess with for me. but that is a personal decision, and if the tinkering is too much that you don't have much time to mess with it, then it is probably better to stick with a headunit.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate kegobeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teek5449 View Post
    I am thinking cold boots since there are times that I do not start my car for days at a time (traveling for work and all)
    Hibernation requires no power at all, and resuming from hibernation is much faster than booting up. Plus, if you get yourself a motherboard that uses UEFI instead of BIOS, your post times will be about one second. Pretty speedy, no?
    1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

  4. #4
    Mod - iPad Forums RipplingHurst's Avatar
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    I don't know of any mini-itx board with UEFI though, are they out already? 1 sec?

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    Maximum Bitrate kegobeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RipplingHurst View Post
    I don't know of any mini-itx board with UEFI though, are they out already? 1 sec?
    I have the E350M1. Great board. The only reason post takes one second is because that's what I set it in UEFI.

    http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=E350M1
    1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

  6. #6
    Mod - iPad Forums RipplingHurst's Avatar
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    Thanks. How it runs Centrafuse animations? On high?

    I'm currently running DG45FC with a Core2Duo 6550 at 2.3GHz I think. I wouldn't want to go to Atom class like processor, unless I have to (UEFI might be enough reason). I wonder what would be a reasonable upgrade, maybe Corei5 MB, but I wouldn't like to get all new. Ideally I'd like to keep the processor and get another board, but it's unlikely to find UEFI for Intel LGA 775 I suspect.

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate kegobeer's Avatar
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    It's on par with other dual core Atom processors. CF seems to run a bit better than when on my D510MO, but that could be a placebo effect. I haven't done any research on other mini-itx boards that support actual processors with "oomph", so I really have no idea what other mini-itx boards are out there that use UEFI. Since the Atom/Fusion boards have more than enough power for my carpc applications, I'm happy to stick with them.
    1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

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