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Discussion Starter #1
Just started looking into the possibility of setting up my truck with a carputer instead of dropping $1k plus on a nice new DoubleDin unit. Going through spare parts laying around and I found an old HTPC that hasn't seen life in a few years. Based on the stamp it's a FIC ICE Cube VG61 Intel 845GE Socket 478 Mini Barebone System and the specs can be found here FIC ICE Cube VG61 Socket 478 Mini Barebone System FIC VG61

Not sure if this would work, but I did notice a AC'97 6 channel audio and a SPDIF connection for output. However I do have 3 amps so would need to use one of my existing crossovers to carry the signal to those amps.

Can anyone advise if that would work?

I also just stripped down a dead system that had a core 2 quad 2.4 cpu and 4gb of ram so not sure if it would be a better option to simply get a board and case for that one instead.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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from the somewhat weak knowledge I have regarding carpc's it seems like the cube would work just fine if you give it the right power supply. as far as the signal goes you could pick up my miniDSP and then the miniDigi board from their site, put it all in the same case (providing there's enough room), and then you'd have full tuning capabilities with digital signal from the source to tuner.

more info about your amps like what they're driving and what the signal path looks like would help out some
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have 2 sets of 6 3/4 separates. 1 set in the front and 1 set in the rear. Each set of separates are ran by a dedicated amp and a big RF amp powering 2 jlw6 subs. It's all going in a yukon and I wanted to mount the box where the center console is now. As of now I have a head unit eq and small crossover. I still have a big 6 channel crossover I could use to run 1 set of RCA's into and then run the amps to that.

That or I can get that m-audio 1010LT sounds card and run a signal directly to the amps from the sound card. Or I can go the digital route and just run an internal sounds card like the sound blaster fx and run that to a bit one for the processing.

Haven't decided what route i'm going to take, but I know I don't want to run a stereo headphone to a y splitter to get to my rcas that way.
 

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Based on the equipment you posted, I would take the Core 2 Quad board and place it in the Cube case. Get a good PS (like the 360w one from Opus Solutions) and a good Touchscreen (MP3Car is all abuzz about a 7" Transflective for around $200) and your set. Just take note of cpu power draw and heat specs. The older cpu of that Cube Barebone may not be up to the task of today's OSs and software.

As for audio, Im running a old Coustic Active crossover through two seperate amps. No noise or problems of any kind. Mini DSP or Bit one will also be fine if you go that route. Since you ahve a desktop style case, you could even get a PCI/e audio card and do all your DSP and crossover routing in the PC with plugins.

Mal
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Based on the equipment you posted, I would take the Core 2 Quad board and place it in the Cube case. Get a good PS (like the 360w one from Opus Solutions) and a good Touchscreen (MP3Car is all abuzz about a 7" Transflective for around $200) and your set. Just take note of cpu power draw and heat specs. The older cpu of that Cube Barebone may not be up to the task of today's OSs and software.


As for audio, Im running a old Coustic Active crossover through two seperate amps. No noise or problems of any kind. Mini DSP or Bit one will also be fine if you go that route. Since you ahve a desktop style case, you could even get a PCI/e audio card and do all your DSP and crossover routing in the PC with plugins.

Mal
Mal thanks for the tips. I did read some issues with the older chip lagging and not being snappy enough especially if you do GPS so I was thinking about just getting one of the newer MOBO's and just pairing it with my newer quad core and building the system around that and use the existing case.

I pretty much have all my ducks in a row, but the main problem i'm stuck on is should I go with an nice pci based sound card and do the processing that way or just get bit one.

The cards i'm looking at are:

Musical Fidelity V-LINK II USB to S/PDIF Converter
Amazon.com: Musical Fidelity V-LINK II USB to S/PDIF Converter: Electronics

M-aduio Delta 1010LT
M-AUDIO - Delta 1010LT - 10-In/10-Out PCI Virtual Studio

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD PCIe Sound Card powered by THX TruStudio Pro
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD PCIe Sound Card powered by THX TruStudio Pro | Creative Labs Online Store

I'm an old skool car audio enthusiast and will be honest when I say i'm not up to speed on all the new sound quality options or the best route to go, but i'm doing quit a bit of reading and trying to get it all figured out.

I do have an old skool kenwood kec301 6 channel crossover I could use as well.
 

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You may want to talk to a few people about which sound card to get. I would not know. I am using on board sound, y-cable to X-over, and then amps. I am playing with WinAmp and VST plugins to tayler the sound. Im not a diehard SQ guy but there is a noticeable difference between a manufactured Car stereo and my CarPC output right now.

BowDown really likes the Musical Fidelity V-LINK II USB to S/PDIF Converter
you mentioned. There are some guys on MP3Car that compete and have used my route.

The thing is, no matter what you choose you are basicly using a PC to process your sound. You have to choose wether to do it in the box you have or add another one.

Mal
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah I hear you. I have setup a few HTPC's and I have a nice sound system for my home theater, but no clue what to look for when it comes to setting up sound in a car.
I read reviews of guys doing a standard card y cable to crossover with good success then I read about how guys invest in the X-Fi AND pair that with a bit one at the same time. I would just hate to drop more $$$ into one option if it's not going to give me good results. I may start off with a basic card and see how it sounds and decide if I really want to upgrade after the fact.
 

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to get you stated, your onboard sound will work. 6ch out will be perfect for your 3 amps. the RCA output voltage will probably be to low to sufficiently drive the amps and that will probably lead to purchasing a better soundcard. the m-audio get great reviews. i'm using the the ASUS Xonar d2x and it sounds great as well.

WinAmp and Foobar have the ability to use VSTs.

Audiomulch is awesome for connecting multiple VSTs to accomplish several things, like using an EQ VST and outputing that to the input of a Xover VST and outputing that to the inputs of 6 Delay VSTs and finally onto the Gain VSTs.

there's a HUGE learning curve for setting up a CarPC, but the rewards are f'n awesome. really, your imagination is the limiting factor on the things you can do.

plus, a PC processing setup keeps all processing in the digital domain until it's sent to the amps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Audiomulch is awesome for connecting multiple VSTs to accomplish several things, like using an EQ VST and outputing that to the input of a Xover VST and outputing that to the inputs of 6 Delay VSTs and finally onto the Gain VSTs.

there's a HUGE learning curve for setting up a CarPC, but the rewards are f'n awesome. really, your imagination is the limiting factor on the things you can do.
Thanks for the tips. I've been setting up pc's since the 70's and still own a trash 80, so I have a good understanding on the pc side, however I need to parallel that knowledge over to my car and integrate the two. Seems like everyone is doing something different on the sound card side and everyone seems to like "their" specific results regardless. That leads me to believe any setup will be better than what I have now.

It's still odd to read how guys use on board sound, sound cards, external processors or all the above and all seem to love their setup, but no one has identified a clear winner or has stated one option being "better" than the other.
 
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