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Thread: Hey all, I need some general info and opinions

  1. #1
    DTS
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    Hey all, I need some general info and opinions

    Hi all, I've really come to like the idea of a mobile pc and I'm in the process of installing a high end audio system into my Avalanche as car audio was my profession about a decade ago and it's been a hobby ever since. The Pioneer head unit that I'm going to use as a system controller and has only a single Aux input, so this is what has created my need and interest in a carputer since I want several things.......

    -A large HD to store all of my audio files, a cd changer just won't cut it
    -A Nav system that is intuitive and as easily operated as an aftermarket unit
    -Sat radio reception

    Here's my questions:
    -I see that people are using XM sat radio with carputers, but I'd greatly prefer Sirius. I searched around and found a couple of threads relating to a Siri project, but does anyone know of the progress with Siri PC or the current status of these projects?

    -I've read a lot of posts about different Nav software. What is the most easily used and logical software out there? I'd prefer something that's as easily used as an OEM piece, if any exist. Also, could anyone point me to a general parts list thread for a nav setup? I looked around and checked the FAQ but didn't see a "nav for dummies" section.

    -I need a really high quality audio output. I'm not worried about output voltage or impedence here since I can remedy that, but I'm looking for a good S/N ratio and low THD figures.

    -Any general thoughts regarding using a Mini ITX mobo vs a typical Micro ATX mobo would be greatly appreciated. I've several PC's but have no experience with the Mini ITX boards at all, so anything will be appreciated as far as performance and upgradability are concerned.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate fromplanetbob's Avatar
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    SIRIUS Stuff should start appearing in a month or two. I just posted the specs and protocals for the Gen 2.5 tuners last night. I am hoping to have SIRIUS and XM control software written for my car sometime...

    Nav software? No clue, haven't gotten that far.

    Sound Quality? IMHO, I think using an external USB Audigy 2 would be keen! It gets away from the noise inside the pc. However, if you plan on spinning up MP3's it might not matter.

    Mini ITX boards? I stayed away due to cost and performance. I want a Pentium 4 processor and wanted to stay really clear of the VIA processors (yuck!). I went MicroATX ASUS board (ASUS rocks!) and a desktop case. A bit bigger than I would have liked, but everything is standard computer parts (no slim cd rom drives, no special fans or cooling). I paired it up with an internal 802.11g Extreme 108mbit PCI card. But in the end, if you go MiniITX plan on spending double for the cost of the computer.

  3. #3
    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromplanetbob
    But in the end, if you go MiniITX plan on spending double for the cost of the computer.
    I dont understand....A Via Mobo/cpu combo costs about what a typical CPU only for a P4 would run...how do you come to the "double the cost" thing?

    People with a Via processor need to realize that they are the opposite direction of how AMD rates their cpu's. AMD's do more per clock, so they come in at a lower MHZ than an Intel that is comparable....Via does much LESS per clock...so a 1 gig Via feels to me like a 500mhz Intel. For most of the software we run, that works out just fine. Plus we dont have heat issues or expensive power supplies.

    Just curious how you came to the Double comment.
    2005 Ford Focus ST

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    Variable Bitrate fromplanetbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gospeed.racer
    I dont understand....A Via Mobo/cpu combo costs about what a typical CPU only for a P4 would run...how do you come to the "double the cost" thing?

    People with a Via processor need to realize that they are the opposite direction of how AMD rates their cpu's. AMD's do more per clock, so they come in at a lower MHZ than an Intel that is comparable....Via does much LESS per clock...so a 1 gig Via feels to me like a 500mhz Intel. For most of the software we run, that works out just fine. Plus we dont have heat issues or expensive power supplies.

    Just curious how you came to the Double comment.
    miniITX based system often require more expensive cases, power supplies, slim cdrom drive and laptop hard drives. Not to mention price for the same Pentium 4 setup for just the motherboard and case and special fan is more than double what I paid for my case and ASUS motherboard.

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    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    Ahh...i think you are referring to a P4 ITX board...you got me there. I was talking about the el-cheapo Via board with the Nehmiah processor. Thats what I run and it is great bang for the buck...but nothing compared to a P4. Ourt power supplies are VERY cheap compared to a supply for a P4 like yours...in fact...what will you use? Thats a big CPU! You don tneed to use Mini-itx cases/drives/ect....you can just pick up a mAtx case that uses a full size cd rom and hard drive to keep the cost down...and level the playing field price-wise.

    Just my $.02.....I would hate to chase out a newbie by not giving them options.
    2005 Ford Focus ST

  6. #6
    DTS
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    Just my $.02.....I would hate to chase out a newbie by not giving them options.
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    LOL........You're not going to run me off!

    I don't mind the expense of Micro ATX pieces, I'm typing this post on a machine I built in an Aria SFF case with a MicroATX mobo and Ath64 3200. I suppose the only downside of doing this is finding the room to put the machine, since I'm quite limited on space in my particular install. The Mini ITX boards that I've seen can be mounted in cases about the size of a larger amp, so that appears to be my best option, but certainly not one that I relish the idea of entertaining.

    As for mp3's and sound quality, you certainly can't hear the difference going down the road at 80mph with the windows down, but I'd like to do the best that I can. I'll have a head unit present for a clean CD based source to compete with.

    What about a user interface anyone? I know the Drivesoft software made famous by "Pimp my Ride" has made quite a few fans. What do you all that are serious about mobile computing think about it?

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    Nic
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    we think it sucks
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    Variable Bitrate rubicon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTS
    I know the Drivesoft software made famous by "Pimp my Ride" has made quite a few fans.
    Fans of "Pimp My Ride," no doubt.

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    -siri?
    http://www.timetraxtech.com/ProductD...ductCode=52000
    Front end software will be along shortly but for now you can use theirs.

    -nav?
    I use Iguidance and except for the icons being small for a touch screen, it's great. The icon size can be fixed but I havnt done it yet. And it sounds like INAV is working on that as well, as v2.1 remedied some of the issues that we, here, raised. I bet v3 will be much more touch screen friendly.

    -sound card?
    I cant confirm this but I heard that a Sound Blaster Audigy has a s/n ratio of over 108 and rca's are 7 volts. I can say that I like the way mine sounds.

    -micro atx?
    Thats what I have. I bought a Dell Dimension 2400 for $300. Then made a custom case and put it behind the rear seat of my crew cab Silverado.

    -front end software - drivesoft? Never used it and I think its too comercial, doesnt do enough and doesnt work with all my hardware. Frodo Player on the other hand does, and it's free. GPS, XM, FM, Reverse cam, DVD, and MP3. Its the only software that fully integrates all of those features. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, because if there is something out there, I'd like to try it.

  10. #10
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    I've never used Drivesoft so I don't have an opinion on it. However, I've been extremely satisfied using Frodoplayer and I've used Centrafuse some. I just downloaded Road Runner the other day to see what all the fuss is about and my very first impression is that I like it very much as well.

    I've downloaded others and tried them as well. Frankly, any of them work much better than anything I could program, so it comes down to an embarrassment of riches -there's so many to choose from that it's hard to make a choice.

    You'll find Frodoplayer to be very well developed, but all are quite usable.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
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