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Suggestion for decent netbook for scope


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Hey Guys looking for some words of wisdom from you lot.

Ive been thinking about picking up a netbook to use with my scope. Does anyone know a half decent one that doesn’t cost a lot that would be fine for controlling the scope using stellarium and also using a webcam through (maybe some astrophotography software or something too)? Im guessing windows xp would be the best OS to get?

Currently I have a mac book pro and a sony vaio with windows 8. However I faced non stop issues with both trying to get drivers that work etc and I was thinking maybe a small netbook thing would work nicely.

Is there a certain spec that would be sufficient for doing this? It wouldn’t be used for anything other than scope related stuff.

I was thinking around £100 or cheaper if possible.

Cheers

Chris

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I wish you luck on your endeavor, I have an Acer One which was nice for what I used it for, i imagine they are pretty cheap now. I would recommend using windows 7 over XP though as microsoft are withdrawing all support for XP next April so it will become a liability.

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Part of the problem with the net books is they were never really big with regards to processor and memory. Usually around 1Ghz and 1Gbyte. There are variations but I have found I can find one specification bigger but not often both. You are not going to get a 3GHz and 8Gbyte offering. Local shop to me sells used ones and they seem to be around £90-100.

For what you describe I would suggest dropping the astrophotography software idea, that is memory hungry. My idea was to capture avi's for registax and then load these on to a USB stick for transfer. Only say this as where does AP software stop? Before the netbook will be running a webcam, saving raw files, then processing through DSS and you will want to do your bit with Photoshop. They are not built for that.

OS you could look at W7, not sure how good it is and there is always a Linux variant somewhere.

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Why not run XP in a VM on one of the laptops you already have? It won't cost you anything (https://www.virtualbox.org/) and it will run faster than a netbook. If you do want a third laptop then why not look for a second hand one on-line? Netbooks were always under-powered and their sales have plummeted since tablets became popular.

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Thanks for the replies guys! Much appreciated!

Ok so it sounds like this isn’t the best idea ive ever had… Really I should stop being a cheap skate and just buy the more expensive bits of kit that are compatible with OSX or windows 8 I guess.

Watchman - Thanks for that i didnt know this!

Ronin – from the 5 mins ive spent looking at some online they do seem to be a very poor spec like you say.

Stargazer – Is this possible? To connect both the autostar and a webcam to a tablet? I could be tempted with this however im sure I would face similar issues with drivers maybe?

Umadog – I like this idea. I work in IT so you would think I could be able to do this. However I know nothing about virtual machines. Would I not need a machine running a valid xp OS to do this? Or is that only applicable to remote desktop? Would I need to buy a xp licence or anything like that?

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I'm currently using a 10.1" netbook (EMachine EM350) for my imaging; it has an Intel Atom 1.6Ghz CPU, 2Gb RAM, 64Gb SSD,Win7 & an extended battery. I then transfer all the raw images on to my main desktop PC for processing - AMD X6 3.2GHz CPU, 16Gb RAM, 64Gb SSD (OS), 1Tb HDD (Storage) & Win7.

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Umadog – I like this idea. I work in IT so you would think I could be able to do this. However I know nothing about virtual machines. Would I not need a machine running a valid xp OS to do this? Or is that only applicable to remote desktop? Would I need to buy a xp licence or anything like that?

Yes, you would need to run an OS that you actually have a valid licence for! Likewise for any software you run on that virtual machine. I mean, none of us use unlicensed software, do we? (Actually, I really don't know - Microsoft licences are so complex that I think understanding one would make you, in fact, God).

Still, it would save you buying more hardware, and maybe you've an old machine that you could decommissions and use it's licence on a virtual machine?

Even if you don't go this route, it's worth having a play with virtualisation - it's the future.

Oh, and avoid Windows 8 if you can. It's the Devil's work, at least on desktop/laptops.

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Thanks for the replies guys! Much appreciated!

Ok so it sounds like this isn’t the best idea ive ever had… Really I should stop being a cheap skate and just buy the more expensive bits of kit that are compatible with OSX or windows 8 I guess.

My imaging laptop cost 70 off gumtree. 3Gb RAM 2 Ghz dual core processor, windows 7. Works perfectly so no need to spend silly money keeping up with the Jones' and all that.
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Yes, you would need to run an OS that you actually have a valid licence for! Likewise for any software you run on that virtual machine. I mean, none of us use unlicensed software, do we?

Um, of course not. That would be a terrible thing to do!
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Cheers for all the replies guys!

I managed to blag a decent netbook thing off my mum last night haha! its a samsung with xp and has 100gb hard drive 1 gig ram and 1.6 intel atom processor thing.

It seems ideal for what i was looking for i guess. But best of all was free! :)

Now i just need to get this stupid webcam to focus and im sorted :)

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I bought the Samsung series 3 15" last year (currently $380 at Best Buy) before I got back into astronomy. With my new Nexstar 6 SE, I've been able to connect the two and operate the scope from the laptop. I had to get an adapter as both pins on the cable and my laptop were female. But it works. I run iCap, Registax, have used Stellarium though now I use SkyTools 3 and Virtual Moon Atlas. While I have not done this often (less than 10 times), only issue I had was installing deeper magniute stars on Stellarium; it froze. But granted, I do not keep all these programs open at once. At most, I'll have SkyTools and iCap open at the same time.

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