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  #1  
Old 07-26-2012
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Liveaboard computing.

What's worth getting/staying away from as far as computering on board? It's time to update my puter situation so may as well start planning for it. Go cheap laptop that's easy to replace? More expensive and durable that will last? Combo with laptop/tablet? Any usage/storage tips to extend its life?
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Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

What are you going to be using it for? I am starting to look at laptops for myself as well. My sons just got really nice 15.6 inch laptops for $450 last Christmas. When they were looking the most important thing they were looking for was a discreet video chip. they actually have 2 video setups, one integrated one that is better for battery life and one that has better performance for games. (they are teenagers, so they play a lot of games) They have been happy with the battery life, and performance. They got Acer Aspire AS5742G-6426 but that model has been discontinued. If you are just doing basic stuff I think any of the core i3 should work, if you want to do an occasional game then you might want to look for one with a discreet video card option. They pretty much have become commodity items, about all the same quality.

If all you do is surf the web, you might want to look at a tablet to add to a laptop, they are very convenient. Some are happy with them as the main device.

Tips to extend it's life, keep it out of the rain! ;-) I don't see the expensive super rugged (Panasonic toughbook) lap tops being worth it. They are about 4 times the price of a decent laptop. I figure they may last longer, but I can replace mine 3 times and be ahead and likely have a much faster computer as the replacements will be newer an improved. Multiple backups are your friend.
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Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

I've been running the Beta version of Win 8 on my old Lenovo netbook, and it actually runs much better than it ever did running Win 7 -- no lag with the touchscreen, etc.

The upside, it has extremely good battery life. I'ts been really tough.

The downside, it's too slow for editing photos. The speakers stink, so you can't watch Netflix without headphones or external speakers. It has no optical drive, so you can't watch DVDs when you're stuck inside in the rain and have no Internet connection.

OpenCPN seems to run ok on even the slowest machines, though.

I also have a 15" Dell XPS with a Sandy Bridge and Core I7. Smoking machine, great build quality, but the battery lasts about an hour and half max. It cost way too much to chance getting wet, so it's rarely on the boat unless I'm doing work down there.
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Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

We primarily use laptops (4 to the boat). I have never had any problems, ever, with laptops on board. THey are compact, dont use much power, and are now relatively inexpeisve. I own my company and bought a LOT of different brands. I was a Dell fan for a while, but am not pretty hooked to HP. I got a Pavillion g series I3 in the last many weeks and am overall pleased with it. Only thing I don't like is the screwy mouse pad but circument it by plugging in a external mouse and this one disconnects. I am typing off it right now.

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Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

BTW, if you are going to spend, put the money in the memory versus a superfast processor (IMHO).

Brian
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

Yeah I meant to add 90% plus of what I do is web/email/MSOffice. Don't know much about chips, but was planning to go i5 instead of i3. Thought it might be better long term.
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by utchuckd View Post
Yeah I meant to add 90% plus of what I do is web/email/MSOffice. Don't know much about chips, but was planning to go i5 instead of i3. Thought it might be better long term.
The Core i5 is essentially the same chip/speed as the old Quad Cores, just an updated design with a new socket and name, so you can't use the old chips in the new motherboards. They're plenty for most tasks.

The Core i3s are crap.
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

Being liveaboard cruisers we buy one of the cheaper laptops sold at China-mart (wal-mart) incase something happens to it we would be able to return it any where we are.
We are at presant useing a Compaq Presario cq56 it seems to meet all our needs,E-mails,You-tube to see my son's bands videos and to get on this site.
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Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

Not a solution for MSOffice, but our Ipad has fully replaced the laptop aboard. Built in 3G wireless access for when no wifi is available and a built in gps receiver to run nav software. Email and web surfing are great. Ridiculously easy to use and store.

Actually, I can read any MSOffice file sent to me, I just can't easily create one. I have not tried the apps that claim you can.

edit: I don't use them, but I've seen several external keyboards too.
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Old 07-26-2012
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Re: Liveaboard computing.

How big is the space you have to work with, and how much of that space do you want your computing solution to occupy and how much power do you want it to consume?

I've got a netbook with a 10" screen, and a wireless keyboard for ease of input. I'm clumsy enough with a full size keyboard, let alone the liliputian facsimile on a netbook. Don't even get me started on thumbtyping on smartphones and touch-screen faux-keyboards on tablets. When I'm ranting, I want to be able to hear the keys wail in pain.
Stowed, the entire package is less than 18" x 8" x 2". It's fast enough.I'm running all of the usual business suspects- powerpoint, outlook, excel, word, publisher, a couple of photo editing programs and a crapload of CAD programs like Draftsight. All have functioned without fail, and my machine has never crashed on me. memory is adequate to store thousands of images and tens of thousands of pages of text, and with 16-32 gig thumbdrives now costing next to nothing, big storage now takes up less space than a deck of cards. If you're a gamer, or a content pirate, it's not gonna do what you want, but for an adult looking for a business solution it's been more than adequate.
Energy consumption is low, and screen size is adequate. If i had shorepower, or a dozen square feet of solar power, I might consider mounting a 20" monitor on the bulkhead, but this set-up has done the job for more than three years without fail, and with a total cost of under $300.
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Last edited by bljones; 07-26-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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