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Old 03-23-2008, 01:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Car-puter

I would consider this a "high-end PC". Mainly because it ISN'T a normal computer setup...

Anyways, my car (a 2005 Nissan Altima) has enough room for a computer in the dash, and I've always wanted one. The monitor I want to get, a Niceview 7" TFT VGA In-Dash Touchscreen, can be seen at:

iPCMAX.com Niceview 7" TFT VGA In-Dash Touchscreen

and costs $733.64.

As for a computer system, I was considering a Mac Mini. The price may be high, and most people hate Macs, but the Mac Mini is small in size (the main point here). Also, Macs come with one of those cool remote things to scroll though media (music, videos, pictures). Not sure of what Mac calls it...Maybe just a media remote? I went to the apple store and picked out what I would want in a mac. The price came out to $928.00, and included 1 GB memory (it will only running music, videos, and pictures. I don't think I'll need too much RAM), a 120 GB HDD (which can fit the music / videos / pictures that I currently have, with room left over.), and a Wireless mouse and keyboard (I'd rather have as few wires running as possible.). This system contains no extras, such as apple care, airport, or anything else.

I'll be using this car-puter for media purposes. Music, Videos, and Pictures. I shouldn't need too much RAM (1 GB?) or processor speed (1.83 GHz) to run those. A 120 GB HDD is big enough for what I need. The sound system in the car is good enough (I don't want to get into having to change out a car sound system!), and the car has the room for the monitor, and a computer about the size of a mac mini (in-dash). Computer size could vary if it were instead placed in the trunk, or under a seat. However, I like the in-dash setup, because then I could reach the CD drive on the mac mini easier.

Anyways, feel free to comment on the system setup. I'd love to get feedback on any better systems anyone knows of, or if anybody has any ideas on how I could make this setup better.


EDIT::

~ apparently the mac media program is called front row. And also, this guy is my hero:

Mac Mini Carputer - a photoset on Flickr

~ Searching my closet, I found that I have a spare gyration mouse and keyboard. Very nice. The reason I put them in there a while back was because the keyboard sucked battery life, but i probably wouldn't be using the keyboard too much...This would provide me with a compact wireless mouse and keybaord, and with a mouse that can be used in the air.
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Old 03-23-2008, 01:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

there's a linux OS out there that was designed specifically for this application.

How are you going to power the mac-mini? An inverter? You'll be drawing a lot of amps from the battery, might look into getting two batteries.
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Old 03-23-2008, 02:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

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Originally Posted by UA_Iron View Post
there's a linux OS out there that was designed specifically for this application.

How are you going to power the mac-mini? An inverter? You'll be drawing a lot of amps from the battery, might look into getting two batteries.
I was actually considering an extra battery mounted in the trunk. Any idea what ammount of power the mac Mini uses?

And where could I find this linux OS? The only reason i'm looking into the mac mini is because of front row, and it's small physical size.
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

the mac mini might be the perfect computer for this application. Any mini-itx format would be a lot larger.

Check out this website:

MacVroom | Mac your ride

From wikipedia: According to data on the Apple web site, first-generation PowerPC Mac minis consume 32 to 85 Watts, while later Intel Core machines consume 23 to 110 Watts.

You'd want to get at least 150watts available for the mac-mini. An inverter will do this no problem - dont go cheap on an inverter, you'll want something that lasts a long time and wont kill the components or blow fuses in your car.



Newegg.com - Apple Mac mini MB138LL/A Intel Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz Dual Core 1GB 80GB Intel GMA 950 Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard - Retail
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Newegg.com - Western Digital Scorpio WD2500BEVS 250GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive - OEM
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Newegg.com - G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Laptop Memory - Retail
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

search for a thread called carputer. i made it about a week ago. some questions you might have could have been answered
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

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Originally Posted by taintedplay View Post
search for a thread called carputer. i made it about a week ago. some questions you might have could have been answered
Thanks

What topic is it under?
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

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Originally Posted by vexion View Post
Thanks

What topic is it under?
It's under Search: carputer
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Old 03-23-2008, 07:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

Found it...followed some links.

Got some good ideas.

Have you seen the F-150 with the "hidden" mac mini? It's on an actuator, which lifts it up on a hinge -- conveniently hidden under the middle console storage. 30% of the air vents to the back seats were re-routed to cool the computer

EDIT:

WOW. This guy is my inspiration now:

2005 Altima SE 3.5 all built in - MP3Car.com

I am getting an '05 Nissan Altima very soon (though a bit different from his -- He's from the middle east, and Nissan spliced together some stylings from different models). My idea for the build is VERY similar, however I'd have only a monitor, and a front camera (decided it's a good idea saw other setups with them. Good in case of a crash) in the top compartment (where he fit in the ENTIRE computer). I would then install the Mac Mini in the bottom compartment. This way, I could keep the original radio as well. There is an auxiliary port on the radio, that I plan to re-route into the Mac Mini for in-car sound. Other than that, the stock radio would remain untouched, except for the few wires needed to be run behind it. Can't wait!
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

Why are you choosing a mac mini seems very perverse for a computer enthusiast??? Mini-itx (depending what performance you want) would be cheaper and more adaptable then the mac mini by a long way. The parts for a mini-itx system are also really easy to find. Tip "don't use mini-itx.com" for anything but research there case and parts are outrageously expensive.

With the mac mini you wouldn't get functions like;

3g adapter (mobile internet)
Cardbus (wireless card or above 3g adapter)
bluetooth
GPS
The ability to use an inbuilt handsfree phone system
OBDII Link for Engine information
reverse cameras
Windscreen projected display
tv tuner

Heres some useful links
Kustom PC's
KustomPCs.co.uk
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Car-puter

I really want to do this to my car, but i'm afraid to tear out the dash. I swear these new cars are so freaking hard to work on.
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