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Good laptop for Astro Imaging and general use?


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Hi everyone,

At the moment I have a 5-6 year old Acer Aspire laptop that is struggling to cope with SharpCap, Stellarium and Registax. I have been thinking of upgrading for a while but as it could still run internet explorer and other basic programs I put it at the bottom of priorities. Now though as mentioned it is struggling and I'm not getting a good nights observing out of the battery so am tripping over myself and others in the house on endless wires :clouds2:.

I'm not looking to break the bank but would like something that could run these programs smoothly and keep a good charge of battery for a night or two. I have a budget of about £100-200.

Thanks in advance,

Siôn

Edit: Accidently put my budget up to high, always the optimist :icon_scratch:

Edited by SionR25
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I can recomend one not to buy if that helps?I got a samsung rv510 5 months ago. I started using it for capturing webcam images and after one night of imaging I brought the laptop back in and when I opened the screen it cracked the LCD!It looks like the higes apply pressure directly to the LCD. Im currently doing battle trying to get it replaced. A new LCD is only about £40 but it's the principal!Shame really as the battery life on it is pretty amazing.

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How about a desktop? You will get much more processing power for half the cost, which makes a big difference for stacking. Plus you can spend endless hours tweaking and upgrading the thing... :-)

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For your laptop, rather than junk it, put Ubuntu on it which will give it a big performance boost and provide you with all the tools for browsing the internet etc. I have only just discovered Linux myself and I am amazed by how simple and usable it is these days.

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Best advice I can give is to get the highest spec you can afford. Go for at least 4GB RAM, duel core and a large HDD. Dell laptops have never let me down and have fantastic support (contrary to popular opinion), I work in a school and we have 1000+ dell devices and cant fault the after sales support.

If you just want to rejuvenate your own laptop, then go for AGS's sugestion of Ubuntu, it really is a good OS, but go for 10.04 on an older machine, its kinder on the Graphics card.

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I have used dell for years and I agree they are good.

I just went on the dell site to test my 'desktops have more power' advice and to be honest a 500 pound laptop came out pretty similar to a 500 pound desktop. Very surprising - I would say the dell desktop was overpriced.

I am using ubuntu 12.04 on an ancient system and it is running fine, by the way. No graphics card issues.

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desktop/laptop have been levelling out for a while now :)

And on the 12.04 issue, I just hate unity LOL. I also had some issues with it initially with 11.04, I will give it another chance on my home system as I am having no issues with 12.04 at work. [EDIT]of course if you do have issues, you can install gnome on any version anyway[/EDIT]

Edited by jflowers
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I can recomend one not to buy if that helps?I got a samsung rv510 5 months ago. I started using it for capturing webcam images and after one night of imaging I brought the laptop back in and when I opened the screen it cracked the LCD!It looks like the higes apply pressure directly to the LCD. Im currently doing battle trying to get it replaced. A new LCD is only about £40 but it's the principal!Shame really as the battery life on it is pretty amazing.

Surely won`t your lap top be still under warranty?, sounds like a matter that should be sorted out between the seller and Samsung, as it looks like they are not fit for purpose, if the hinges are casing pressure on the screens, or is just a one off?. NO matter, I believe you would be entitled to a replacement or refund under the Sale of Goods Act. Best of luck with your problem :)

John.

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In this day and age you want at least an i3 at 2.5GHz and dedicated graphics. I wouldn't worry about the RAM situation too much since a shop will charge you £40 more for the otherwise same spec laptop with an extra 2Gb RAM when you can buy a full 8Gb pair for that money.

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I've got a Dell 630D built like a tank and with a proper serial port, runs all my Astro software very well on 3gb ram and Fitted a solid state drive so it boots in 20 seconds. No point in going above 3gb of ram if your on a 32bit Os windows won't see the extra ram above that

Sent from tapatalk

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I bought a Packard Bell Easynote TS last year and it's amazing, definately the best computer I've ever had. 15.4", Core i-3 @ 2.4ghz, 4gb, 500gb, Geoforce GT450m dedicated graphics. It cost 400€.

TBH I don't think you'll get anything for your budget so I second the advice of putting Ubuntu/Linux on your Acer and using free & open source software eg. Firefox, OpenOffice, AVG free antivirus. DO NOT USE NORTON, it is the biggest drain on a computer's resources.

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Have installed Ubuntu and quite like it, seems to run everything ok. I have two questions though. First, does SharpCap run one Ubuntu or will I need another program. Second, does anyone else with Ubuntu have a BT home hub? It won't connect to mine and just keeps asking for the password.

Thanks in advance,

Sion

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You can run many windows on ubuntu by installing something called Wine.

The password thing sounds normal - have you put the wifi password in the network setting box? (There is a signal icon at the top right - click that)

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Although not the best spec laptops Dell will last, we used to service them and you got some relics in lol but they were still going. As mentioned above the best way is to use the laptop for capture and a better pc for the heavy conversion work.

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Have installed Ubuntu and quite like it, seems to run everything ok. I have two questions though. First, does SharpCap run one Ubuntu or will I need another program. Second, does anyone else with Ubuntu have a BT home hub? It won't connect to mine and just keeps asking for the password.

Thanks in advance,

Sion

With BT home hubs it just wants the WEP key from the sticker on the back of the hub.

One thing that amuses me about compatibility is that in order to use any of the wireless usb keys from my pc's I need drivers but Ubuntu detects them and runs them without.

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An alternative to WINE would be running Windows in a virtual machine such as VirtualBox (its free :) ). But as you are trying to bring life to an older laptop it may not be the best alternative as you would effectively be running two operating systems at the same time with the same resources you started with.

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You can run many windows on ubuntu by installing something called Wine.

The password thing sounds normal - have you put the wifi password in the network setting box? (There is a signal icon at the top right - click that)

Thanks for the reply, got the internet up and working now. Downloading stellarium through software centre and will have a look at Wine, is it something on the software centre or do I need to google it?

Thanks again,

Sion

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Erm, not sure! Iǘe not got round to downloading it myself. Iǘe seen a version of Wine optimised for games on the software center so I imagine wine is too...

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i have both a desktop and a netbook.

i record to netbook and/or usbdrive via webcam, then i shift it to my desktop for all the heavy stuff.

i would say keep the laptop , and run a cheap desktop for the heavy intensive side

I have the same setup, I use a cheap net book with sharp cap writing straight to a flash card, and the I pop the card into my desktop for processing.

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