Posted by: bluecarputer | May 17, 2011

Carputer 2.0 Hardware Selection

Mobo/CPU/VGA: MSI E350IA-E45

I knew I was going to get an AMD Fusion board, the only question was which one.  ASUS has one with all the bells and whistles – onboard WiFi, Bluetooth, passive cooling.  Noise isn’t an issue since the PC is in the trunk, so passive cooling isn’t a big deal.  I already have USB WiFi and Bluetooth, so I don’t really need any to be integrated with the motherboard.  I also considered the E350 boards from ASRock, since they’re the cheapest of the bunch, but reviewers said that the Power LED didn’t work and that the VGA port was flimsy.  It also only carries a 1 year warranty.  Ultimately, I went with the MSI board because of the 3 year warranty and more favorable reviews.  So far it’s been running great, the E350 is noticeably faster than the old Celeron in my first build.

RAM: Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 SDRAM

I know that it’s probably overkill to have 4GB of RAM since I’m running Windows XP, but the price difference wasn’t a whole lot and it may come in handy if I ever want to upgrade to Windows 7 x64.  One concern about having this much RAM is that it would take a while to go into hibernation, but from what I can tell, it doesn’t take any longer than my old build which only had 1GB of RAM.

Case: Black Box Mini Duo Mini-ITX case

Originally I was going to get the Black Box case with the PCI slot, but E350 motherboards only have PCI-E slots, which means I can’t reuse my PCI soundcard from the old build.  I didn’t feel like buying a new PCI-E sound card and PCI-E riser, which would have added an extra $100 to the build, so I’m going to use the onboard sound.  Anyways, the Black Box case comes with all sorts of things to make installation more convenient (at least on paper): 6-Pin wiring harness, LCD power connector, extra USB ports, reset switch, RCA plugs, and predrilled holes to mount the M2-ATX.  The price difference between the standard case and one with space for 2 HDDs and an internal DVD drive was only $5, so it was a no-brainer to get the “Duo” in case I ever upgrade to a SSD, or if I wanted to put a DVD drive in.


Even though my old M2 died and killed my motherboard along with it, other forum members at MP3Car don’t seem to be having the same reliability issues with their M2’s.  Because of this, I’m once again going with a M2 for the new Carputer.  It also helps that the case I bought has predrilled holes to mount it.  I’m planning to use the re-engineered firmware chip the forum member bluTDI09 made to make powering on faster.

Monitor: High Brightness Lilliput 669 with Auto-Switch

The touchscreen monitor prices have dropped quite a bit since 2008.  I think I paid $450ish for a Lilliput 629 in a double-DIN frame back then.  Getting the 669 allows me to have auto-switching for the backup camera and higher brightness for (hopefully) better day-time readability.  It also lets me use HDMI which should solve the problems I had with noise on the VGA cable.

Other than that, everything is being reused from my old build: HDD, GPS, WiFi, HDRadio, etc.

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