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Hi all

As of today 22/03/2014 my laptop could be on its last legs and I may need a new one. I'm attending a star party in Wales at the end of April and I need to take a laptop with me as I'll have the chance to image Mars Jupiter and Saturn, so what are people suggestions. Would bigger be better? Or would a small compact laptop be good enough just to use for planetary imaging and the processing of all my astrophotography?

Any info people have would be very helpful

Regards

Chris

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Hi Chris,

You have not said what your budget is, but i have been looking for a new laptop running Win 7 - certainly not Win 8 as that has plenty of issues with a lot of astronomy software.

I am really limited to about £350 max. There was a post by a computer bench test engineer a few days ago who said the brand that he had the fewest of passing across his bench was Dell.

To keep costs down I am looking at refurbished, by dell, laptop. Have a google search for "Dell oulet". I have found the following and think it is a reasonable spec for a reasonable price. they do come with a 1yr guarantee.

Inspiron 15R - 5537

    Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-4200U  (3M Cache, up to 2.60 GHz)
    6 GB Memory (1x4GB + 1x2GB) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel
    1 TB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
    8X DVD+/-RW Drive Tray Load
    15.6 inch LED Backlit Display with Truelife and HD resolution (1366 x 768)
    Back Up Media Not Included
    Dell Wireless-N 1705 + Bluetooth 4.0
    LCD Back Cover : Moon Silver
    Battery : Primary 6-cell 65W/HR
    Internal Qwerty Keyboard

It is a Dell refurbished item. Price is £353 incl VAT & delivery.

Note I am by no means a computer whizz or expert, just my tuppennies worth.

Ian

Edited by Uplooker
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My usual laptop webcam imaging kit is a small 10.1" netbook with 2Gb RAM and a second 12v monitor. This enables using CdC and whatever imaging software I'm using at the same time, and it'll easily deal with Registax. It depends on a few factors, such as how much power you have available, what your eyesight is like, what you're accustomed to using and how important time is to you, since a smaller laptop takes a bit longer. It's very useful to have a fast SD card to record everything, so a laptop with a built-in SD slot is a big bonus.

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Hi Chris,

You have not said what your budget is, but i have been looking for a new laptop running Win 7 - certainly not Win 8 as that has plenty of issues with a lot of astronomy software.

I am really limited to about £350 max. There was a post by a computer bench test engineer a few days ago who said the brand that he had the fewest of passing across his bench was Dell.

To keep costs down I am looking at refurbished, by dell, laptop. Have a google search for "Dell oulet". I have found the following and think it is a reasonable spec for a reasonable price. they do come with a 1yr guarantee.

Inspiron 15R - 5537

    Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-4200U  (3M Cache, up to 2.60 GHz)

    6 GB Memory (1x4GB + 1x2GB) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel

    1 TB SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM)

    8X DVD+/-RW Drive Tray Load

    15.6 inch LED Backlit Display with Truelife and HD resolution (1366 x 768)

    Back Up Media Not Included

    Dell Wireless-N 1705 + Bluetooth 4.0

    LCD Back Cover : Moon Silver

    Battery : Primary 6-cell 65W/HR

    Internal Qwerty Keyboard

It is a Dell refurbished item. Price is £353 incl VAT & delivery.

Note I am by no means a computer whizz or expert, just my tuppennies worth.

Ian

I'm unsure as to a budget really, I start a new Job Monday, 24th march, and I'm not sure of wages as it's an apprenticeship, I'm not a fan of windows 8 anyhow I would be looking for 7 really.

What's a refurbished laptop mean? I'm like you really, far from in the know when it comes to computers etc but if that's going to keep costs down for a good level of laptop I'll be more then happy to look into it, as I'm looking to get a planetary imaging camera for the same star party that's priced at £250ish

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plenty of refurbished laptops on flea bay, a friend of mine bought a grade 1 lenovo thinkpad with windows 7 and 4gb of ddr3 ram for £150, it flies and will easily run your astro set up and programs, seriously thinking of getting one myself but i have always liked Dell so just might turn that way.

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Refurbished would mean reset back to factory spec, OS probably installed, possibly new HD, and maybe RAM changed out, possible new battery, maybe new keyboard, and everything fully checked.

It depends on who is doing the refurb and what they offer.

Personally I'd avoid anything touch screen, I can't get on with them, but that is just me.

You don't say why you think your current laptop is on its way out or what spec it is. Batteries are relatively expensive, but there is still a lot you can do to breathe new life into an old machine or tweak a newer one depending on type.

The family one stop 'Dad....my laptop is not working properly, OK if I drop it off and borrow one of yours?'

Rich

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You'll possibly want a good rugged laptop for use outside. I dont do photography, but I use my Lenovo Z570 out in the workshop to hook up to tractors and cars to tune them. Its seen a few knocks and has yet to show any signs of slowing down. The missus also dropped the iron on it the other week, laptop was fine but we now need a new iron :)

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Refurbished would mean reset back to factory spec, OS probably installed, possibly new HD, and maybe RAM changed out, possible new battery, maybe new keyboard, and everything fully checked.

It depends on who is doing the refurb and what they offer.

Personally I'd avoid anything touch screen, I can't get on with them, but that is just me.

You don't say why you think your current laptop is on its way out or what spec it is. Batteries are relatively expensive, but there is still a lot you can do to breathe new life into an old machine or tweak a newer one depending on type.

The family one stop 'Dad....my laptop is not working properly, OK if I drop it off and borrow one of yours?'

Rich

It flashed up with a blue screen the other day and now it won't turn on, the bloke who fixes it for me has said the mother board is broken and you can't get hold of them to replace. He's offered me the name of another person who can tell me for sure if the mother board has broken. So I might pop it to him to make sure, but it does sound like it's finished. He did also tell me I can send it off to the manufacture pay up to £100 and they can do a patch type fix but it might not last long, so I'm stuck as what to do

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Rather than fleabay (with its lack of any real guarantees) might be worth looking at Morgan's:  http://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/default.asp  They do "second user" as well as A1 refurbished.  Apparently much of their stock is returns of old stock to the manufacturer when a new model is brought out - so you get a "new" but "last years" model.  Guarantees vary from 3 months (for second user products) to a full 1 year manufacturers warranty for new.  (Usual disclaimer).

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Rather than fleabay (with its lack of any real guarantees) might be worth looking at Morgan's:  http://www.morgancomputers.co.uk/default.asp  They do "second user" as well as A1 refurbished.  Apparently much of their stock is returns of old stock to the manufacturer when a new model is brought out - so you get a "new" but "last years" model.  Guarantees vary from 3 months (for second user products) to a full 1 year manufacturers warranty for new.  (Usual disclaimer).

So how will I know it's a good quality refurbished laptop? Will it say any words or something

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I was pondering a new lap top too which would be for astronomical work and general use. I will need to avoid Windows 8 and go for 7 which leads me to think that all laptops sold on the high street will be running Windows 8 ( unless I am very much mistaken, so please correct me) . So I reckon the best shot would be a refurbished decent spec Windows 7 device, there are a few outlets round here doing this which means I would be able to go and view them. Go for plenty of hard drive space too, I`ve noticed that taking lots of AVI`s with cameras really do lay down a lot of data, hence my current laptop hard drive is nearly full.

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I recently wanted a new laptop for use outside as my Acer netbook could not cope anymore. I found that getting a Windows 7 laptop meant buying secondhand - you just can't get a Windows 7 laptop new. In the end I got one off of Preloved. It was an almost new Toshiba Satellite with 6Gb memory and easily copes with whatever I throw at it and I only paid £200. 

Peter

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