What is the best front end?
Thanks to wizardPC for the idea to include this question!
So you’ve picked out all of your components, you’re planned out the install, you’ve got everything laid out in your head. Then it hits you…What front end should I use?
It’s one of the most common questions asked on this board. After all, what good is a CarPC if you can’t easily use it!?
Check out this thread started by xBrady: Which is the best front end?
Here you will be able to read through many peoples thoughts and experiences on each front end.
The simple answer to this question is the one dreaded by most. It’s completely up to you. What may work for one individual in one install may not work at all for another.
Spend some time over in the Front End sub forums. Download them all! Try them all out for a while. Gradually you will learn what features you like and what features you have absolutely no idea how to use, or think you would never need. The developers of each front end are generally very willing to help. If you have specific questions about how to use an aspect of a front end, post them up in the appropriate forum, someone is bound to be able to help you out!
What is the best (GPS antenna/GPS software/LCD monitor/motherboard/power supply/Satellite Radio receiver/etc)?
Thanks Rafster for the idea!
Let’s face it, very few of us have a lot of money to spend. We pretty much all work hard for our money and we want to put it to good use. In this market, that’s the difference between spending X amount on a great quality product, or spending the same amount and getting a not so good product.
Many people come on here wanting to know what the best ________ is.
The simple fact of the matter is that there is not a single best ________ out there.
Lets have an example, shall we?!
I’ll use myself here. I’m on the mind set that you spend the money once, and be done with it. You spend more than some think you should, but you know you are getting a high quality product and that you will most likely not need to replace it due to shoddy craftsmanship. This works for me. For some people, they simply cannot work like that. They need the cheapest possible solution on the market, period.
While I may need the extra whatever it is I might need extra of, another individual could care less about that (lumens on a screen/satellite pickup ability/wattage from an amplifier/etc). We both have different needs as to what would be the ‘best’ for our situations.
There is not a single best for everyone. This is where you use that mushy thing between your ears and do that little thing we call Search!
Check out the Work Logs and the Show off your projects forums for ideas on what others have been able to use successfully.
Since this question has come up on a regular basis, we have decided to help you out a bit. In the FAQ Forum Various users have been kind enough to take the time to start a few threads with polls asking current users what they prefer and why!
Check them out here:
Best GPS Receiver – Thanks DarquePervert!
Best GPS Software
Best Front End – Thanks xBrady!
How can I put a computer in my car? - by turbocad6
this is a very basic question that I am asked often, & the answer is, for as many different vehicles there are, there are just as many different ways of installing a pc in a car... putting a pc in a car can mean many different things to different people... if you walk out to your car with your laptop in your hand, BAM... theres a pc in your car!!! some people are actually content proping a laptop on there dash or a mount & calling it done, I would say that most want "more" for there install though..
the real question is, how can I integrate a pc with my car... this too, can have many different answers depending on your devotion, your budget, your skill level & what you yourself accept as good enough for you & your vehicle. some will be happy with a screen mounted on a pedistal & a pc wired in & kinda laying there, others will accept nothing less than a factory apearance and fully intergrated & will go to great lengths to achieve this. this is truely a hobby that you will get out of it as much as you put in.... some guys will put a pc in there car in one weekend & call it done, while others will work on there systems for well over a year, some longer than that... afterall, if you really have a desire for perfection it doesn't happen overnight... many here will tell you it's never really "done", but planning & avoiding the common pitfalls can go a long way towards achieving your goal.
there are plenty of people who approach this with the attitude that it's easy, I'll just order stuff & throw it in.... well I can tell you from experience that this is rarely the case.... for each car here that has a running completed (or semi-completed) setup I bet there are 10 others that have a bunch of components & a big mess on there hands... many will bail out half way through, the classifieds are full of these "mistakes", let me be the first to tell you that it is real easy to get in over your head with this.... let me also tell you that if your the kind of person that just wants to throw it in & use it, you may be better off just getting the latest greatest multimedia head unit & throwing it in the car...
most here are attracted to the carpc because they think it's cheaper than a multimedia headunit type setup & it can do more. While this can be true, the flipside to this is that a multimedia headunit type setup can really be installed in a car in one weekend & never give an ounce of concern past that... it will just work... it won't give you any of the problems & concerns that a carpc can... while it may cost more initially the money saved will quickly be absorbed by the many, many hours of researching, learning, trying, re-doing,... not to mention the many hours of frustration that can come from a pc install.... this is not said to deture you from installing a pc, but more to enlighten you... & warn you.. & prepare you for the inevitable...
in most cases you will wind up driving your car in a state of partial dissasembly at times... in a lot of cases there will be periods of driving your car with nothing to listen to but your tires on the pavement... this is all done in the name of "improvement" & it takes a special geekyness for this to even be acceptable, if any of this turns you off then you should really reconsider if this is something that you want to do in the first place, the best installs will come from having a lot of patience & desire & determination for the end result, which can be a really geat pc install
jan has provided a lot of links to get you started, the two biggest problems with any pc install is powering it & teperature extremes, mainly heat... which is the enemy of a pc... the best choices of a pc to use will be lower power draw setups, which will also help in not contributing to the heat problems... the urge will be high for some to throw a blazing p4 in there car, this is almost always a mistake... the best choices will be efficent cooler running processors... mobile processors contain many of the atributes that are desirable for a car install, with the pentium m & the athalon xp-m being the top chioces in this area right now... you don't need the latest greatest fire breathing machine in your car... it will hurt your usability in the long run & should be avoided, not to mention that a 1.6 pentium m with a 2mb cache will perform as good as a 2.8 p4, while drawing a fraction of the power, & producing a fraction of the heat.... the key here is effciency.. wasted power transfers itself to heat, & this is to be avoided
what should I use? can I use *&^&&* in my car?
a regular desktop computer can be installed in a car, a small form factor pc can be installed in a car, a tablet can be installed in your car, a laptop can be installed in a car, either intact & docked or disasembled & butchered... even a full blown tower server can be installed in a car... what fits & works best for you will really be your decission, but use the experiences of others here to help you deturmine what fits your install. many will make there first attempt with equiptment available to them, either an earlier pc that they have since replaced, or a pc that was given to them.... while it may be tempting to use what you got, keep in mind that in the end you will have put a lot of time & effort into your install, & sometimes the difference between a sucessful install & a frustraiting mess is in the use of the right equiptment... balance your "cost effectiveness" with your end desire, & remember that if you can't find the time/money to do it right the first time, how will you ever find the time/money to do it over.... many times it can be cheaper & easier to just do it right the first time... you don't need a real powerhouse gaming machine, but the oposite can be just as bad... a frustraiting slow & under powered system can be a real turnoff, afterall, you want to see good results from all the effort you are about to put into this project...