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Thread: Processor Choice

  1. #1
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    Processor Choice

    I am doing my very first CarPC build in my 08 Dodge Ram. I have only ordered the screen so far and picked up a Lilliput 669 with capacitive touch. Getting ready to start on the pc and cant make up my mind on a processor. I build custom gaming machines for people all the time so I'm very familiar with the process however being into gaming machines I have ingrained "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" in my mind and know that that wont necessarily be the route i need to take here.

    My question is how strong of a processor to put in this machine. I am mainly wanting to use it for audio, navigation and BT phone integration. I will be running one of the bigger front ends I'm sure as the main reason I'm going the CarPC route is the visual appeal. How much processor will I need to run a full featured front end, play music, navigate and use my phone? Can I get by with an Atom 525 or will I want more. I dont want any noticeable delay in operation.

    I plan on adding around 400-500 watts of mids and highs and about 1000 watts of subs as well. Not sure about power draw concerns. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i think a i3 or similar would be the best option-- the low tdp cpu's are going to be a little laggy if your used to a high powered gaming rig.

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate cmcd2820's Avatar
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    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with soundman on this one. I built mine with a dual core ATOM board an it runs fine. I can run the front end (RR), iGuidance, and Dash Commander while listening to winamp and there is no lag. I am also someone that builds big computers, but mine are probably a little bigger than your usual budgets. Like IBM Bladecenters with 14 Blades each with dual quad core Xeon's with 32 Gigs of RAM.... Attached to disk storage systems with 26 Terabytes of storage....

    You aren't going to be running a lot of CPU intensive applications on it. You have to fight that 'bigger is better' attitude in this scenerio. It's difficult I know, but it makes it easier in the long run.

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    If you're looking for a low power pc, I would look at the AMD platform if you're interested in h264 video. Apparently Intel hasn't gotten the atom platform optimized for it.

    Sent from my Evo 3D using Tapatalk.

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    You have to fight that 'bigger is better' attitude in this scenerio. It's difficult I know, but it makes it easier in the long run.

    Really? How So? What is the specific "long term" advantage that running a dual core ATOM board provides as compared to an i3? Other than (perhaps) a lower cost of entry, the i3 will out-perform the ATOM in any use case. The i3 will like support UEFI bios and faster SATA and USB devices as well as higher memory speeds. You can't leave either one of them on without discharging your battery (eventually) and both require adequate ventilation for cooling (slight edge to the ATOM here).

    So again, what is the advantage "in the long run" to the ATOM?

    And yes, I've run single and dual-core ATOM boards, 3 different i3 boards and currently have an i5 on board. Fast, boots like lightning and can run anything I want. But not cheap, and probably runs a little hotter thn your ATOM.

    VegasGuy

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    Low Bitrate cmcd2820's Avatar
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    For one, cooling. For two three and four, cooling. My dual core ATOM is passively cooled. It supports SATA transfer rates that are as fast as or faster, than my SSD drive (I really don't know why you would need high speed data transfer for a CarPC). And for higher memory speeds and UEFI bios, yes, your i5 will stop my ATOM on every test except one. Simplicity.

    For the basic use and even some slightly more advanced use, the ATOM will perform more than adequately. Can I edit video's or game on it? No. But it's in my CAR. I have destops and servers to do that sort of thing. It is cheaper and follows the KISS principal. Can I take parts lying around and build a system that squashes the performance of your i5? Yes! Will it work better in my car? Eh? I'm not editing video. I'm not gaming. I don't need 60 fps 3D rendering. I'm not data mining an Oracle database. I need a front end that runs low CPU software that works well and is reliable. I do not have to worry about cooling (at all) or video cards coming loose from speed bumps or 10k rpm drives bouncing their heads from railroad track crossings. While you have the financial resources and the technical knowledge to run your system in your car, I doubt you could pull it out of your Taco and easily adapt it for my Corolla. I built mine as small as possible with a central umbilical so that if I decide to move it to a new car, it could be moved to a vehicle with limited space and still perform without having to re-engineer much of anything. The reason? It's simple. It's small. It has good performance. Building a first CarPC that was any bigger probably would have soured me on the experience. I think my dual core ATOM with a 128gb SSD and 4 gigs of memory was actually a little big once I got it installed, optimized, and configured. I was thinking for my next one, I would try to go as small and compact as possible. Why? Because building a bigger one with more more more that will never get used is, in my opinion, no offence intended, silly....
    Last edited by cmcd2820; 01-03-2012 at 12:14 AM.

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    No offense taken, and building any carPC is by definition, a somewhat silly endevour

    I'll concede that available financial resources often drive purchase decisions, and the ATOM represents a very reasonable price/performance compromise. With the advent of the newer offerings from AMD, it's debatable whether or not the ATOM represents the "best" choice these days, but that's another discussion.

    I will also agree that many of the tasks or use cases that drive the purchase of higher performance hardware are not really applicable in the car. Gaming? Video Editing? Probably not.

    But where we diverge is this: I want that to be MY decision, not a limitation of my system. If, for some unknown reason, I wanted to be able to offer gaming to my passengers, I'd like to know that my system was capable of it. Try running two HD webcams (not an uncommon occurance these days) on your ATOM board and describe overall system responsiveness. It won't be good. Maybe acceptable for a short period of time, but not something you'd want to do all day. It boils down to the concept of "general purpose" computing. If we only define a carPC system as having a/b/c capabilities, then it's quite possible to run a system like that on VERY low-power systems...you could probably do it on a smartphone. And there are 1000s of 2DIN units that do 90% of what your carPC will do and do it with a 400mhz ARM processor and WinCE. But the minute you want to run "d" or "e", you're in trouble.

    As always, it's a matter of taste and trade-offs. I subscribe to the 4 Non-Blonds school of thought: Bigger, Better, Faster, More.

    VegasGuy

  8. #8
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    This current debate has been going on in my head for weeks now lol. I really like the passive cooling and lower price of the atom, and as I said I dont have very many uses in mind for my carpc yet other than the basics of gps, music and video. HOWEVER, being a technonut I know that I will find some stupid/cool/silly/etc. endeavor that I still want to be capable of. Gaming and video editing probably not. Multiple HD video feeds? actually already coming up with ideas. Also I have a very diverse media collection as far as file formats and types are concerned, and am so unfamilar with the atom unit that I wasnt sure how supportive it would be. I dont mind putting the extra money in for a Core2Duo or Corei series if it will be worth it just dont wanna blow the money if the atom is capable of more than I originally thought.

  9. #9
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    Very interesting debate and I agree with both of you. Why limit yourself when you don't have to, but at the same time why overbuild if it's not necessary.

    With that said I have a bunch of spare parts laying around and decided to go the carputer route. I have a intel core 2 quad 2.4 cpu laying underneath my monitor collecting dust and wondered if that would be a good cpu to use?

    My focus is audio and nice clean video display with blue-tooth and navigation.

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