Dell Inspirons are already well-built for shock protection, but all the protection you really need will come from your car's shocks. I wouldn't recommend taking the little bugger out on an off-roading excursion, but as long as you are just driving surface streets, you'll be okay.Originally Posted by toe2003
You would be amazed at what those little laptop hard drives can take for punishment. The force it would take to make that drive go poopoo would hurt your face pretty badly if someone were to throw it at you at the velocity needed to generate said force. Just kidding. I doubt you could actually get someone to throw a hard drive at your face. I know I wouldn't
Anyhow, your biggest concern SHOULD be cooling. If the laptop is new(er), it will generate a decent amount of heat while running, especially if you intend to have it up front with visualizations and all that junk. I would recommend that if you want to use the laptop directly up front while driving, get one of those armature mounts for it. You lock that laptop in that thing, and the laptop sits on a solid, level surface, making it easy for you to use it, and helping the laptop to keep its bottom well ventilated, which is the key to keeping cool for today's laptops.
Also, bear in mind that many states frown heavily on having a laptop right there for access by the driver, unless the driver requires it for his work, and even then, that's pretty much just over-the-road drivers. It's a different story from mounting a touchscreen in the dash, where you can at least fake that the system is being used for the sake of driving info/maps etc.
Don't worry about mounting the laptop on its side or anything like that. It will be well shock-protected by your car. Simply make sure it has a flat, solid surface to sit on. If the laptop is older, like 2 or 3 years, well hell, plop it on the passenger seat, fire it up, and GTFO.