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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > What PowerMac to buy for car mp3 player?

What PowerMac to buy for car mp3 player?
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Grizzled Veteran
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Mar 23, 2002, 08:18 AM
Hello all, I need some advice on what sort of PowerMac I need to buy.

I'm going to do a project where I turn an old PowerMac into an mp3 player for our Land Cruiser - but I can't work out which model to buy. I would like to to be as inexpensive as possible, but it has to have a few certain features.

1. Use an IDE interface for the hard drive (I would like to put a cheap, large capacity drive in it and SCSI is waaay to expensive)

2. Not an all-in-one for the obvious reasons.

3. An ethernet connection for fast file downloading.

4. Not too powerful, but powerful enough to play a high bitrate mp3 with maybe an EQ effect added with room to spare (for launching/running applescripts without skipping, etc.) I think this pretty much rules out the x200 line as they can barely play a high bitrate mp3 themselves due to bad motherboard design.

5. Not too physically big (I don't want a 9600 tower sitting in the back)

Those are basically my requirements and I don't want to spend too much on a G3 based machine or anything, because it is only a little project of mine. Is there an ideal machine for this? Maybe a broken imac 233's motherboard would work, but I never see any for sale online, and I'd have to make up a power supply =P

Any ideas people?



You can't eat all those hamburgers, you hear me you ridiculous man?
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Feb 2000
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Mar 23, 2002, 12:16 PM
First of all, donít get a desktop computer. You need to get a portable like the original G3 powermack or an old iBook or something. The idea is that the Powerbooks/iBooks have a greater tolerance to heat/cold and vibration. An old Powermac/iBook would also solve the power consumption problem. If you are driving around with a iMac in your car, itís going to kill your battery.

Plan on placing some kind vibration insulation on your unit.

IDE is fine for what you want. Just make sure to buy a quality HD as a cheap one will die after six months of car usage.

Donít bother with an Eathernet connection if you can get away with an Airport connection. If you park your care within 100+ feet of your home computer Airport is the way to go. Then, after a long day of work, you can just park your car and keep it running, walk inside and start downloading new music.

You should also look into getting a small touch sensitive LCD for the cockpit. That way you can use the MP3 player from anywhere...

Itís going to cost you a bit, but thatís the way to go.
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Mar 23, 2002, 01:45 PM
How about an old iMac? Find one where the screen is busted. Then You can strip it and have it in the trunk. All the necessary ports are there. Might even find one that is airport capable and transfer that way! Then use the VGA connector inside it to attach a screen you can use.

Hope this idea ain't to far out

- tobs
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Mar 23, 2002, 02:00 PM
I would recommend a 6200/6300 series PowerMac. It uses IDE hard drive, the size is quite small, and the price is very low. Also, it has a headphone port in the front of the machine, so it is very convenience to plug in a headphone.
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Mar 23, 2002, 04:10 PM
At this point, you should consider an iPod.
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Mar 23, 2002, 09:02 PM
well exactly- why not just get an iPod, and plug that into a cable which goes into your stereos head uni?

iPods have now done away with all the unnecessary hassle of installing a whole computer into your car- hooking it up safely to the car battery, routing cables under the carpeting, installing a screen up front---what a pain in the ass.
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Mar 23, 2002, 09:56 PM
Originally posted by seanyepez:
<STRONG>At this point, you should consider an iPod. </STRONG>
Yea dude, just get an iPod and mount in on the dash, then use one of those cassete deck adapters to pump the audio to your sound system.

If I was going to build a car MP3 player from a desktop, I'd get a 1U Rackmount case like this, strip the mobo from something like a B&W G3/350 or an old iMac, install it in the 1U, and then get one of those little 8" LCDs to mount on the dash

You know they make mp3 decks for cars don't you?

[ 03-23-2002: Message edited by: jcadam ]
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Mar 23, 2002, 10:59 PM
My first choice for my Blazintosh was a PowerMac 6500. Then I was offered a 233 G3 for very cheap.. but then it fell through :-(. So then I decided on a use 366 iBook. But after reading this I realize that an old iMac is the way to go. I'm goona shoot for the slowest one with firewire i can find. That will work perfectly. It will have ethernet and airport for transfer. Normal IDE hard drives, DVD drive for DVD viewing, USB ports for iShocks for CVGS. The only issue will be a screen. I plan on making my own custom "OS" to run it, and custom buttons aroudn the screen to control it (activewire for USB) but the screen itself is a problem. I want more than 6 ", maybe 10". 800X600. I know someone who does crazy customizations so he's goona help me put it in there and make a fiber glass edge for the screen. The web page isn't up to date really at all but once I start making more progress it will get better.
qnxde  (op)
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Mar 24, 2002, 05:39 AM
Yes I thought about the iMac 233/dead screen one. I already have an iPod, but my main reason for this project is that I want something to work on, not just a quick fix. I don't want to spend -heaps-, and laptop hard drives are bloody expensive so that's out of the question. I would be shock mounting the IDE drive pretty damn well, don't worry about that. The 62/6300 sounds great but from what I've read about them on lowendmac.com, they are quite slow and playing an mp3 doesn't leave much room for doing anything else. I don't want to spend heaps on it, so AirPort is also out of the question. Re: power usage - it's a dual battery landcruser, and I won't be using a CRT so I think a 100w inverter would do the job just fine with minimal battery drain.

You can't eat all those hamburgers, you hear me you ridiculous man?
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