The placement of the Mac mini unit in the Boxster was (and some would say still is...) opened to much debate at the RainyDayGarage. Some wanted the Apple logo to be prominently displayed, others wanted the unit to be completely hidden from view, and a few wanted to take a functional approach and put it where it is easiest to service / upgrade. We decided to take the Mac out to the Boxster and just put it in different spots to see how it would be. We took a few shots and some notes to remind us when we got back inside of why we did what we did :-)
One really good spot was the space underneath the rollbar. It is a stable platform, would allow good access to the DVD slot, and is pretty hidden from view. As you can see, it JUST cleared the hook from the convertible top. The one problem may be heat from the engine directly underneath. We may need to have a space for ventilation. It was also quite a distance from LCD in the front.
Another possible location was the space just above the armrest. This location will be good for just "plugging" the Mac mini into some kind of "docking rig". The DVD slot would face up. All the wires and cables would be hidden in the compartment in the armrest itself. We would have to mount the unit high enough so the armrest cover could actually be opened.
The CPU could also be mounted flat on the armrest cover with the DVD slot facing front. We would have to built a wider platform so the Mac would be better supported. This location would be good for showing off the Mac mini... until someone decides to take it home with them.
Next we considered both areas in front of the driver and the passenger. The obvious benefits were ease of access and shorter cables between the CPU and the LCD screen. The drawback would be giving up some of the ample leg room. We were also a little concerned about how to mount it securely.
We know it would fit perfectly in the dash. Some were a little concerned about getting to the connectors in the rear of the Mac. If we decide to go this way (cleanest from the cabling perspective), we would have to run all the connectors (FireWire, USB, etc...) out somewhere for easier access.
There is a possibility that we may decided to "reorganize" the entire front console. If we did that, we would put the Mac mini /LCD screen in the top two slots and move the environmental control unit and the radio to the bottom.
The last possible location for the Mac mini unit was in the front trunk. There were two spots in the front that would work. Both of those were designed to house various factory audio components. The benefit of putting the Mac in the front trunk are: security, built in acess ports to the front dash, and a ready-made support /mounting platform.
An added benefit of using the front trunk was lots of "expansion room". We may want to add an external drive or some other gear in the future. Having the CPU in the front trunk would give a lot more expansion options than mounting the unit in the car's interior. One drawback would be the lack of access to the DVD slot. However, most of the movies would already be loaded in the video server already...
We are going to look at all these options closely, go back to our design spec and look at where we want this project to go, and decide on a location that would be best for the long term. Right now... the front trunk is looking like the most logical choice, but we would love to be able to see the cool little Apple box!