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How To Build A PC Into Your Car

Using a mini-ITX system, you can build a complete PC, right into the dashboard of your car. Talk about mobile computing!

Mini-ITX is an ultra-compact motherboard developed by VIA Technologies, a Taiwanese company known for innovation and high-quality manufacturing. The highly integrated features of mini-ITX mainboards are ideal for building systems that are powerful, quiet, and small. These boards also pack all the punch of a full-sized PC while running far cooler and more quietly. These features have made mini-ITX solutions the most popular choice for embedded applications and appliance computing—in short, any place where space is an issue.

We'll add to this compact, solid mainboard a road-worthy case, rugged hard disk, and a power supply built to handle special automotive needs, such as battery drain. Put it all together, and you've got one solid Car PC that's ready to hit the highway in ways that no desktop box or notebook could.

As with any technology, there are tradeoffs. So let's talk about the pros and cons of implementing a Mini-ITX solution for the road. I think you'll agree that the pros far outweigh the cons! Here's a brief summary of the highlights of working with a mini-ITX:

  • Ultra Compact: Offers a 170 mm x 170 mm (roughly 6.7 in. x 6.7 in.) form factor.
  • Highly Integrated: Boards carry an onboard processor and integrated I/O.
  • Power Efficient: Low power consumption, cool operation.
  • OS Compatible: Systems support Microsoft and Linux operating systems.
  • Modular: Integrates with industry standard components.
  • Secure: Mini-ITX boards feature onboard encryption technology.
  • Quiet: Smaller means less noise, and fanless mini-ITX offer less noise with greater stability.
  • Compatible Interfaces: Supports SATA drives, DIMM memory, PCI cars, and both USB and Firewire peripherals.

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