Extreme Operating Temps?
Hi, I am an obvious noob at car PC building (but not normal PC building) and one of the things I'm always worrying about is operating temps. My proposed system would be trunk mounted and where I live it easily gets down to -30F in the winter to over 100F in the summer... I read from the search bar that I should be fine as long as i have solid state caps and an SSD for the cold, but what should I do about the heat in the summer, if anything?
It gets about the same around here, and I've never had an issue with heat. Generally by the time the carpc warms itself up enough for it to be an issue, the car itself has gotten down to a temperature where it's not that hot inside. A trunk mounted system would not have the benefit of your in-vehicle air conditioning or an open window, but the trunk also does not get nearly as hot as the interior of a vehicle.
I've seen people duct fans from the cabin back to the trunk before, which could help in reducing ambient temperatures around the pc. I think the main problem you would run into with the heat would be processor temperatures (With a SSD I wouldn't worry about HDD temps). You can easily figure out how hot your processor will run by finding out how hot it runs inside your house. Temperature differences for the most part stay the same in the small range that we're talking about. If your processor runs 30C over ambient in the house, it will run 30C over ambient in the car (Even if in the car it's much hotter). Figure out what is an acceptable ambient temperature for your trunk, and add ducting, or some other ventalation to help until you bring it down to that level.
A few things to think about with a trunk mounted PC.
It depends on how many hours you are likely to drive at any given time in hot conditions and how much air volume you have in the trunk, remembering that when you fill the trunk with luggage you can drastically reduce air volume, sometimes to almost nothing and in doing so you also shorten the PC air flow in/out path.
These variables affect how far apart the intake and exhaust air paths need to be in a fan vented PC case.
As the air volume reduces the faster the remaining air can be heated as it recirculates through the PC. As already suggested a vent near the PC intake from the cabin can make a huge difference in these conditions. You may get away with nothing, just a few variables to consider.
I had room to mount a PC case directly behind the rear seat with an intake vent facing forward behind the centre fold down armrest and small access door. So with a totally full trunk and blankets and pillows crammed into every remaining air space I had no problems at all after driving 6 hours straight in over 100F temps.
Ok, thanks! You guys have definitly given me some things to think about! (Since it's the start of winter I will probably keep it trunk mounted and then start to focus on cooling when summer comes around lol)