Porsche Cayman S: Fast Car With The Fastest Mac mini

What does a fast car have in common with the fastest Mac Mini?  Well, not much really, but they do make a great couple.  Nasi Peretz, an engineer from USC  has merged a Porsche Cayman S with a Mac Mini in Los Angeles.

Turning on the ignition of the Porsche makes the terrifying exhaust sound, which can scare some women, and at the same time you hear the typical turn-on chime from an Apple machine emitted from the speakers in the background.  As you look deeper in the car, you find that the center console has a 7 inch touch screen display embedded in a custom bezel, which was created to look stock and to flow with the aesthetics of the car, as if Apple and Porsche made a partnership to build the ideal car for geeks.

The same display then reveals the OS X Leopard background, quickly followed by an auto loading Front Row (Apple’s media center software), revealing a myriad of videos & songs.  The glove compartment has a four-port USB hub for external devices and a wireless card for surfing the net while driving at a fast (but always legal) velocity.

The last element that you find hidden inside is an Infrared port, which allows the Apple remote to control the Mac Mini without revealing the computer’s location. Working our way outside the car, we find where that little Mac white box is hidden: There are two trunks (front and rear) in this particular Porsche, as the Cayman is a mid-engine car. With the odds being 50/50, we decide to explore the front trunk first.  It reveals a compartment, where the Navigation unit usually resides, that houses the Mac Mini along with a CarNetix power box.

The Mini fits perfectly into the compartment, almost as if it was made for it, and a custom power cable connects it to a DC-DC power regulator, which can then be traced back to the car battery along with the ignition. The ignition cable gives the Mini a little kick to alert it to wake up because the computer sleeps while the car is off.  A sleeping computer is does consume power, so after two days the DC-DC power regulator cuts off all power to avoid draining the battery.

You might be thinking OK, this is great, a computer in the car – could you just plug in your iPod to achieve something similar?  Well, not exactly… the possibilities are endless when it’s a Mac Mini. What this also does:

  • GPS
  • FM connection via Radio Shark
  • CNN live video stream during a morning drive
  • Movie watching during long trips
  • Car performance monitoring
  • Emailing checking (highly unsafe in the list of options)
  • Enjoying a wide collection of music & video that our friends at Apple have made available via their wonderful Front Row interface.

Now, getting to the details:

  • Car: 2007 Porsche Cayman S
  • Mac Mini: currently setup with Front Row, two auto loading scripts to adjust screen resolution and pop open front row
  • Display: Xenarc 705TSV
  • Input devices as of right now (always expanding):  500 Gig External Hard Drive, USB Hub, Logitech DiNovo mini keyboard w/ Bluetooth receiver, Radio Shark, and Sprint Internet USB Card
  • Front Row, the Apple remote control, and the touch screen do all the heavy lifting when it comes to User Interface for the system, with an occasional need for the Logitech DiNovo keyboard for typing
  • Audio: powered by a 4 channel mini AMP that is hidden behind the glove compartment to give the sound a little boost before it makes its way to the speakers

You can see more amazing photos of this install here.

By Nasi Peretz

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