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I am new to the PC computer (longtime mac guy).  I see that the vast majority of software for Astronomy is for the PC.  Should I buy a new Windows 10 Laptop or look for a used one running and older version like Windows 7 ?

Need to get started with something that will work for a beginner like me.

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Buy the fastest, most up to date you can afford with the largest amount of ram and the biggest storage.

It will be out of date in c.3Months anyway.

Windows 10 is where it is at.  buying a Win 7 pc may suit some but support will be pulled at some point.

I still run some pc's with Win95 and others with Win XP.

You need to dive in somewhere and my first bit of advice is the best I can offer.

Tony

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I held out using exclusively Mac for about 4 months before last month in the Amazon Prime sale picking up an Asus Notebook for about £145.  You can get them for about that even out of sale.  I use it for capturing data and running PHD2 for guiding.  I then email or memory stick the night's data to my Mac for any heavy duty image processing, which for me is Nebulosity 4 (native on Mac) and Gimp + Photoshop Elements.  I don't as yet use the dedicated astro packages like Pixinsight, but they are available for Mac.  Nebulosity runs on the PC too.  In my opinion, if you use the machine offline just for astro use, you probably don't even need anti-virus software.  I also think you'll find most PCs have a free Windows 10 upgrade included.  Windows is of course truly awful.  But a cheapo notebook is fine for capture and guiding.  Don't know why I held out so long.

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I would suggest looking at a refurbished windows 7 machine. Reasonably priced laptops can be had with win 7 pro 64 bit. Yes support will be pulled but not until 2022 I believe. The laptop may not last till then. I picked up a refurbished Dell 6420 for a reasonable price. It looks brand new. Not a scratch or scuff mark.

YMMV.

Ken from the great white north.

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I guess the best way to buy one is to get what your budget will comfortably allow. If it is just for mount control nothing fancy is required, I have run my mount and cameras on a 8 year old Acer netbook running XP and on 1 gig of ram. For image processing though a little more "oomph" helps so I usually do it on my indoor PC or my old laptop which is an I5 with 4 gig of ram on Windows 7. Personally I wouldn't touch windows 10 yet, it's still early days to know it's compatibility with all the common astro software, but if you get a Win 7 machine and register you then get a year to upgrade to 10 free. 

If imaging then you will eventually need more storage, but drives are not that costly nowadays so can be upgraded cheaply. 

I would rather spend money getting a modest but sufficient laptop and putting the rest of the money to some new astro kit!

Edited by Helite
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Windows 10 is able to run with less RAM. I think 2-4GB RAM should already be fine for Windows 10.

However you can get a Windows 7 machine and as the upgrade to Windows 10 is free if you own Windows 7 or Windows 8, you then get to test both.

If all you wan't to do with the laptop is to run astronomy software and maybe surf the internet and do some word processing, all you need is porbably a 500-800$ budget. Depending if you want touchscreen and how big you want your screen to be.

I would suggest you to go for windows 10. I have been running windows 10 on my 2 productinve windows pc's since the beginning (for gaming, programming, surfing, lots of power user stuff) and haven't had any issues with it.

Windows 10 really is much faster than windows 7 with the same hardware. Or if you are scared from windows 10 then at least take windows 8.1 and not windows 7. Windows 7 will need 4-8GB ram and an SSD to run smoothly. You get almost the same experience with windows 8.1 or windoiws 10 with HDD and lower RAM. So you can get cheaper hardware.

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Depends on whether you want to control a mount and camera with it, or process images. The first only requires a cheap low spec PC, something refurbished running Windows 7 for £100 to £200 on eBay would be suitable, and not too much investment to worry about using it outdoors (dew, cables to trip over etc). For image processing you'd be better off with something with a bit more power. I'd try a refurbed laptop from Tier1online, they have some Windows 7 64 bit ones based on an i7 processor with 8 Gig of RAM for about £400 at the moment

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