Well, I got the aluminum cases that I ordered as well as the motherboard. The memory, and some power equipment are on the way, and I’m waiting on the DVD drive and Touchscreen until I get to that phase. I ordered a power converter that didn’t really include the features I wanted so I reordered something a little better. This includes a timer type deal (waits 5 seconds after you start the ignition, waits 45 seconds after ignition is off before it “unplugs” the computer, etc.) I think the total waste of money was $65 which isn’t bad. Also, it gives me a perfectly functional power supply to blow up the first time around when I don’t know what I’m doing. 🙂
Total cost so far:
$158 — Mini-ITX M-10000 motherboard
$25 — Two aluminum cases (7″x7″x2″)
$65 — Morex 80W Car Power Kit (includes power supply and regulator)
$80 — 200W Power Supply and ITPS regulator with time sequencer
$249 — Lilliput 7″ touchscreen
$76 — Panasonic slot-loading slim CD-RW/DVD drive
Throw in another $40 or so for shipping costs…
Also, go ahead and throw in $20 for odds and ends (front plate, tap connections for power, and wiring stuff)
Total: $713 plus 40+ hours of research and assembly 🙂
Also, I had a 120GB ATA hard drive lying around — I don’t think they’re too expensive and furthermore, it’s a LOT of overkill for what I’ll need in this machine (I bet a 10GB would do the trick and still provide a fair amount of extra storage for applications, music, etc.) Some of the motherboards (not the one I got) include a Compact Flash slot on the back that you can interface with your IDE cable (they sell little convertor hookups dirt cheap). If you’re running a compact operating system like Linux, you can fit everything on a 1GB compact flash card (which is fast, really low on power consumption, and has no moving parts). This could easily allow for a 1 DIN car computer. Mine right now is 2 DIN mainly because of the large hard drive and the fact that I have the space in my current setup.
Not too bad I guess… Considering that raw car computers (with no touch screen — just the box with components) usually cost at least $1000 (for a very basic model) and $3000 for the advanced stuff, this seems like a decent price. I could probably redo this solution for $750 and make it a bit better.
I’ve estimated that for features like GPS, WiFi, bluetooth and more, I could get it for about $250 more. Most of the equipment is cheap and can run via USB (so connecting them is almost trivial. They even sell massive WiFi antennas that you can mount externally.