What we used for the Car PC
Now we start with what we used and why it was used;
We selected an AMD Sempron 2800+ processor. This CPU not only supports Socket 754, but its thermal range is much better than the older Clawhammer based cores of the Athlon 64 on the 754 platform
This CPU is also a lot cheaper now and comes with AMD's 64-bit CPU technology - if you want to run Windows XP 64, you can.
The memory we used is a single stick of Corsair Value Select DDR-400 module at 1GB. Since the board only has one DIMM socket and the graphics card uses the system memory for its frame buffer, we wanted the largest single stick of memory we could get but not spend a fortune on it. This fitted the bill quite happily from our local PC shop.
The selected HDD used was a Samsung 200GB drive. While DVD's are good, it's nice to have a collection of media on the PC, especially since this is going into a 4x4 and it does bounce about on the tracks and DVD's tend to skip sometimes in these situations. DivX movies don't and with 200GB of storage space, there is enough room to fit quite a few movies on there for the kiddies.
- Optical Drive
This was the best find. We found a slim optical drive that runs on USB ports. It is also a DVD recorder and yes it can run on a 5 or 12v source. This took care of the power for this unit, as it connects direct to the car battery. Perfect!
- Power Supply
We used a standard 250 watt ATX power supply hooked up to one of these babies - in the picture above you can see the unit which powers the monitor and a 150 watt 12v DC to 240v AC inverter. A 300 watt model was bolted in under with the PC PSU to power it and the 150 watt unit was inside the centre console to provide power to the monitor. The LCD we used only draws 80 watts at max, so this power solution was perfect for the job.
- Operating System
In order to make things as easy as possible to control whilst driving, we went with Windows XP Media Centre Edition with the remote control. The PC has no keyboard or mouse, unless you want to scrounge around in the back of the car - it's only there for debugging purposes. With XP MCE and the included remote control, you can control the PC and all its functions from there and with ease.
Here is the board setup with the RAM and CPU on it - very small and compact indeed.
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