I think paying for a toughbook that will NOT be used in the cockpit for navigation is a waste of money personally. I had two Toshibas while out cruising. One died when I left it unsecured while crossing the gulf stream...duh. The other gave up when the screen went bad after 3 years of use. Presently using an HP with 19" screen (love it!)...the total price for all three was about $1000 less than a single Toughbook 30 and if I had bought one 6 years ago and it still was working, it would be an antique today. I do have a backup USB hard drive so I don't lose any important stuff in a crash. But you can get a heck of a nice laptop these days for well under $1k and if you get 3 years out of it on board...then you probably are lusting for something new anyway!!
Toughbooks are great if you really need the rugged/waterproof/daylight capable screen....but if not, get a "throwaway" and back it up and you'll be ahead of the game financially and feature wise.
I think, instead of getting a bunch of laptops, getting a small micro-desktop and a decent transreflective IPX7 LCD monitor might make more sense for most people. If I can find a good source for a transreflective LCD, I might start making custom packages for sailors I know.
This is another thread I have read with interest. I have been wondering how my laptop will fare onboard and what precautions I can take to insure it continues to function well (other than not keeping 17 windows open while posting on forums).
And again I find a wealth of information ... thanks to all and especially camaraderie and sailingdog ... I find your insight extremely helpful.
Just a note ... I also find it somewhat incongruous ... that I ended up purchasing my Cal 28 for a little more than twice what I paid for my laptop (HP Pavilion dv3510nr) ... but then I know that my priorities have changed rather drastically of late ... as I understand that I will be spending many more dollars (as well as time and energy) ... enjoying my dream.