2009 Cobalt - basic straight forward install - simplest route
I've been thinking about doing a carpc for almost a year now, and have finally taken the plunge to do it. I've never installed a car stereo before, and until starting this project, the idea of car electronics was like voodoo magic to me. So, this is a bit of a learning curve for me. I'm comfortable with computers, so that should help. I have purposely taken the shortest and simplest route, and have not focused on customization at all. Maybe on a second project I might, but this first time around I just want to get it up and running with as little obstacles as possible.
The following are the computer parts I have already bought and tested:
Zotac GF9300-D-E Mini-ITX Motherboard
Was able to source locally. Went with this Zotac board as it is a 775 socket which will let me have some flexibility processor wise. Didn't like the idea of being locked into the Atom processor. The newest Atom is nice, but I want the option of a little more oompf. The Nvidia chipset on this board has been accelerating video quite nicely.
I know I could've went with the Core 2 Duo's for almost the same money, but I do want to keep the heat/power usage down. I would've went with a mobile processor if they weren't so expensive, and needing to have different motherboard. Even though Celly's and Duo's can have TDP of 65 watts, Celly's use less power (20+ watts at load). Performance for everything has been just fine, and cool temps.
EDIT: Updated to Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 in order to get webcam captures working. Celeron was a bit too slow for the capturing while other stuff was running.
Bybyte Double Din LCD Touch Screen Combo GM
This is a lilliput 701 screen that has been mounted on a metra GM frame. It fits my Cobalt dash like a glove. Gunning for simplicity here.
Mo-Co-So 4th Gen Mini ITX Case
Having the power leads all set up was a selling point for me. Only one fan, but with the Celeron I should be fine. Simple mounting for motherboard, power supply, and HDD.
160 GB 2.5 Sata drive
It's what was handy. Winter is coming here in Toronto Canada, so we'll see how this hard drive holds up. I've read mixed things on the cold and hard drives. Some people have no problem, some have problems until it warms up in the car.
M2-ATX 160Watt power supply
For the front end, I decided to go with Centrafuse. This was for the same reason of reducing obstacles. I could just install it and go. I installed the newest trial version and was running it at home for a bit. It's nice in that it requires very little work to get it going, but it felt quite limiting. So, a friend suggested RideRunner. I like it much better because of how one can customize it quite a bit more. So, RideRunner it is.
Installation of the hardware into the case was pretty straight forward.