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Hi

I am thinking of getting a mini PC to fit on the pier or maybe on the Scope. I have no Idea how powerful a pc I need. So could anyone advise.

I will want to run Win 10 Pro. 1 USB 3.0. 1 USB 2.

I spotted this. Also has the option of a Com port which would be nice.

ASUS PN40-BB013M BGA 1090 1.10GHz

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ASUS-PN40-BB013M-1-10GHz-N4000-0-69L/dp/B07KYWR678/ref=pd_sbs_147_img_0/257-6858872-3436807?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07KYWR678&pd_rd_r=c720a30d-b8c2-41cf-bf4b-1f8ac60d6834&pd_rd_w=byBS6&pd_rd_wg=kg1st&pf_rd_p=e44592b5-e56d-44c2-a4f9-dbdc09b29395&pf_rd_r=943KMX9PR4G5Y54CXMET&psc=1&refRID=943KMX9PR4G5Y54CXMET

Any Good?

Many thank

Graham

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Yes, that should be fine. Not much processor power is needed just for acquiring the images. I have a mini PC on my dual rig scope running two instances of SGP, PHD2 and CdC with no problems. Having an SSD is the main benefit for speed, especially if you are doing planetary video imaging as it can write to the SSD very quickly so the limited RAM size isn't a problem.

There isn't a serial port on the PC. The D connector is for a VGA monitor if you don't have an HDMI one.

Alan

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A word of caution. The advert, as I read it, does not say if it has disks/SSD's or memory! It only states that it can accept them. You will have to add the disk and memory...adding to the cost. ..................If it does come with SDD/Disk and 4Gb or more memory then it looks OK....But check first!

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Star101 said:

A word of caution. The advert, as I read it, does not say if it has disks/SSD's or memory! It only states that it can accept them. You will have to add the disk and memory...adding to the cost. ..................If it does come with SDD/Disk and 4Gb or more memory then it looks OK....But check first!

 

 

 

Star101 is 100% right it says "Barebones" which normally means you DONT get the basics - memory,ssd.   Plus think how you are going to power it - wart or via battery and the power connector looks like the Gigabyte ones which dont accept power plugs of the same diameter - i.e. they are custom made.

I would ask for a full quote (i.e. what it comes with included in the price - e.g. is Windows 10 a demo version) with full spec first 🙂

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As others have pointed out this is barebones. That usually means no memory, no storage, no operating system. It will do the job, but you are going to have to spend a lot more money on it.

i have been using a Minix Z83-4 https://www.amazon.co.uk/MINIX-Z83-4-Fanless-Windows-DDR3L/dp/B07PQ7Z6B4/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=1AHR3OHVFV0GI&keywords=minix+neo+z83-4&qid=1574433808&sprefix=Minix+neo+z83%2Caps%2C150&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExTktYNkgwVVpVTjFXJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTkzNjM3MzRZRkE2UDhMM1BJOCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDE2NDM2Mk5BRlBBTUFaVzNCRCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

This works straight out of the box, has 1 USB3 and 3 USB2. Only 4GB memory and 64GB storage, but it comes pre installed with Win 10. I have added a USB SSD drive for storage as the micro-SD slot does not seem to like cold temperatures.

It lacks memory and is underpowered, but handles APT, PhD2, Stellarium, iOptron Commander, plate-solving, teamviewer, and focuser control. All at the same time. It sits on the mount and is controlled through  teamviewer . 

I don’t think it handles USB3 well, as I have found that downloading frames from my QHY168C is faster on USB 2 than USB 3, and it hangs less often. Since my interest is deep sky, I prefer reliability to speed, but it would perhaps be a problem for planetary and lunar. I don’t know it is the Z83-4that is at fault, I just note that for me USB2 is more reliable and faster.

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I assumed you knew this was barebones and components would need to be added but maybe I was wrong. I have an earlier discontinued model of this mini PC. Having an SSD already installed along with Windows 10 Pro the price is pretty good. There is space to install a SATA 2.5" hard drive too but that wouldn't be necessary for your usage.

Alan

Edited by symmetal

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Points to look for:

Does it have a licensed copy of Windows? If so, Pro version allows you to run Remote desktop which is very handy.

Will it work from a 12 volt power supply?

How much memory is installed?

Can you add an SSD?

How many USB2 and USB3 ports?

Is it fanless? No vibrations

HTH

Regards, Hugh

 

 

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In my opinion pc's like those are total crap, Celestron just means stay away!
For a good quality small pc that doesn't cost much look for Lenovo Thinkcentre M93p Tiny. Here in Norway i've seen them for everthing from £90 to £250.

Usually they have Intel i5 CPU (and most often 4590T)
Some have Wifi, if not it's not much for a Wifi dongle.

Older models can have mechanic HDD's, switching to a SSD is super easy to do yourself and won't cost much. Windows will reactive without problem after upgrade.


There's also other choice for these pc's and they are all meant for professional use so they are very good quality and there's good support for drivers and new bioses.

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I've used an on mount mini pc for years and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. My personal choice was a Zotac CI320 but there's now much newer models available in the CI series.

I chose it purely because it had 6 usb ports and therefore I could wave bye bye to hateful usb hubs. A secondary bonus was a massive improvement to guiding as the number of cables going to the floor is a fraction of before resulting in less cable drag and less chance of a snag.

They are barebones so you need to cost in an SSD, ram and a Windows Pro license key.

Edit: Have you looked at a Raspberry Pi 4 with Indi, Kstars and Ekos. I'm just starting to have a play with it but I'm yet to find a weakness?

Edited by wuthton

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I bought a refurb HP Elitedesk 800 Mini (one of the older models), but I use it "on pier" rather than "on mount".  Mostly I wanted something with USB3 ports that was small enough to fit in an IP66 box on the pier.

James

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hi James

those will take an MSATA SSD (if its the USDT/USFF model) which might help if you need to speed things up in the IOPS front and leaves you the option of a larger HDD if needed too. I've a fair few of the USDT types here tho not for astro use and they work pretty well. Standard SODIMM memory so inexpensive, I've 16GB in the ones I run, Hynix IIRC. and loads of USB ports 🙂 

The PSU brick can be a weak point tho and being "smart" sensing you can't really just substitute a 19v feed. If you find the PSU runs hot maybe look out for the 180W one as a replacement. Overkill perhaps as that's for if you add the MX GFX card but they seem more reliable than the 135W one.

You can also download the service manual off HP's site should you need it.

Edited by DaveL59

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4 hours ago, Xplode said:

In my opinion pc's like those are total crap, Celestron just means stay away!
For a good quality small pc that doesn't cost much look for Lenovo Thinkcentre M93p Tiny. Here in Norway i've seen them for everthing from £90 to £250.

Usually they have Intel i5 CPU (and most often 4590T)
Some have Wifi, if not it's not much for a Wifi dongle.

Older models can have mechanic HDD's, switching to a SSD is super easy to do yourself and won't cost much. Windows will reactive without problem after upgrade.


There's also other choice for these pc's and they are all meant for professional use so they are very good quality and there's good support for drivers and new bioses.

Hi Ole , I. Have just brought one of these myself , not received it yet .. but I have a question .. silly as it may be . 

This will be mounted on my pier ..  so when I fire it up how will it connect to my laptop to operate it ..  normally when I connect my laptops , one outside , one inside in the warm with me .. I bring up team viewer on the outside laptop get the password then connect inside .. but when I turn the new mini on outside there will not be any screen ..  I don't know if I have explained it too well ..  

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26 minutes ago, Brian28 said:

Hi Ole , I. Have just brought one of these myself , not received it yet .. but I have a question .. silly as it may be . 

This will be mounted on my pier ..  so when I fire it up how will it connect to my laptop to operate it ..  normally when I connect my laptops , one outside , one inside in the warm with me .. I bring up team viewer on the outside laptop get the password then connect inside .. but when I turn the new mini on outside there will not be any screen ..  I don't know if I have explained it too well ..  

You need to setup a Teamviewer account so you can use a personal password that doesn't change.

I'm sure you will be happy with a quality tiny pc 👍

 

Here's my friends setup with a Lenovo Tiny pc, it's mounted in an industrial cabinet with DIN rails. The cabinet is mounted on the first story part of his pier made of chimney elements, 2nd story is a steel pier.
Lots of other stuff in there, focus controller, USB hub, POE switch, power suplies and a charger for the battery rotating with the dome.
I 3D printed all the brackets for him.
34f3479d-ac80-4af5-ab6b-8593624949aa.jpg.d5873317e1ecea8ef230a236f1958fc0.jpg
 

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On 22/11/2019 at 16:42, Xplode said:

In my opinion pc's like those are total crap, Celestron just means stay away!
For a good quality small pc that doesn't cost much look for Lenovo Thinkcentre M93p Tiny. Here in Norway i've seen them for everthing from £90 to £250.

Usually they have Intel i5 CPU (and most often 4590T)
Some have Wifi, if not it's not much for a Wifi dongle.

Older models can have mechanic HDD's, switching to a SSD is super easy to do yourself and won't cost much. Windows will reactive without problem after upgrade.


There's also other choice for these pc's and they are all meant for professional use so they are very good quality and there's good support for drivers and new bioses.

i5 is total overkill for a mount PC unless you are processing on it too. I would rather save the money and get a filter or something. 

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I have a fairly low spec Intel NUC velcroed to the side of my scope - all USB and power cables custom made to the correct length (I am bit OCD about that) 😉 

Only one cable from the scope to the ground !

For connectivity the NUC communicates wirelessly with a Powerline adapter about a metre away and my indoors PC does the same. (The obsy is on the same ring main as the dining room.)

I use RDP in windows and it works flawlessly.

Some photos here.......

unnamed (1).jpg

unnamed.jpg

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1 hour ago, Adam J said:

i5 is total overkill for a mount PC unless you are processing on it too. I would rather save the money and get a filter or something. 

An I5 can do pretty much everything you would want an astro pc to do without problems and it's a lot more future proof than a Celeron.
Tasks like video capture with the ASI1600 can be pretty CPU intensive and newer high megapixel cameras will need more and more power so spending a little extra on future proofing is in my opinion saving money in the long run...and of course saves work.

Who said anything about spending much extra? I found a good pc for Fellside with an I5 4590T that i linked him in a PM, it's a very good pc for the price and has really great specs for just £200-230

This isn't the link i shared with him, but it's comparable: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Optiplex-9020m-micro-Mini-Intel-i5-4590t-2-0Ghz-16Gb-Ram-500Gb-HDD-Win-10/184030981825

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14 hours ago, Xplode said:

An I5 can do pretty much everything you would want an astro pc to do without problems and it's a lot more future proof than a Celeron.
Tasks like video capture with the ASI1600 can be pretty CPU intensive and newer high megapixel cameras will need more and more power so spending a little extra on future proofing is in my opinion saving money in the long run...and of course saves work.

Who said anything about spending much extra? I found a good pc for Fellside with an I5 4590T that i linked him in a PM, it's a very good pc for the price and has really great specs for just £200-230

This isn't the link i shared with him, but it's comparable: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Optiplex-9020m-micro-Mini-Intel-i5-4590t-2-0Ghz-16Gb-Ram-500Gb-HDD-Win-10/184030981825

looks a little larger and heavier than what i had in mind. Not sure you could attach it to a scope. Also used vs new.

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Looking to replace my laptop and had been thinking about a new Dell Optiplex; thoese used ones do look tempting for the price but no USB3 by the look of it.

https://www.dell.com/en-uk/work/shop/desktop-and-all-in-one-pcs/optiplex-3070-micro-form-factor/spd/optiplex-3070-micro/s005o3070mff

£320 + VAT

I would consider a better processor if you're plate solving.

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3 hours ago, Adam J said:

Also used vs new.

So that doesn't matter if you buy a good "branded" unit not a cheap Chinese (yes all pc's originate from China) item with little support and I doubt would be around in 1 yr. I have had my second hand HP i5 outside for over 3yrs never a problem - famous last words.

Biggest problem on cheap Chinese Micro PC's are the weak wireless set up's - mind you Wireless is flaky when compared to wired anyway- 5ghz might be faster less prone to interference (at the moment)  but has poor distance spread compared to 2.4ghz. Then there is the Wireless latency!

Biggest advantage of good fast second hand is being to upgrade kit cheaply or if the worst happens and it goes belly up. 

But I concede that if its ultra small and light you want then you kit wins hands down and agree basic Astro functions - mount control.remote focusing,filter wheels and even DSLR's use very little processing power - even platesolving is ok . 

Just great we have so many options and can decide which we want that suits our personal needs. So if you are happy than that's all that counts 🙂

 

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I am very happy with it. Gets better WiFi signal from the obsy than my expensive gaming pc with a killer WiFi card in it. So I kinda feel that your generalising there. 

Edited by Adam J

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I used to run Shuttle units with Celeron processors via Remote desktop. Worked a treat. I'd preprocess 'locally' and then just send one file indoors per session.

/Jessun

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5 hours ago, SamAndrew said:

Looking to replace my laptop and had been thinking about a new Dell Optiplex; thoese used ones do look tempting for the price but no USB3 by the look of it.

https://www.dell.com/en-uk/work/shop/desktop-and-all-in-one-pcs/optiplex-3070-micro-form-factor/spd/optiplex-3070-micro/s005o3070mff

£320 + VAT

I would consider a better processor if you're plate solving.

They have 6x USB3, they just aren't blue like many USB3 ports. 
Easy easy to see from the SS (superspeed) logo
 

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1 hour ago, Adam J said:

I am very happy with it. Gets better WiFi signal from the obsy than my expensive gaming pc with a killer WiFi card in it. So I kinda feel that your generalising there. 

Of course  I am - but the Wifi facts are true (weaker signal,latency etc,speeds) etc.

But as I also said if it works for you and you are happy - thats all that matters. 

Just users need to be informed of all the possibilities / parameters - which there are so many - they choose which in the end to buy !  Ask 10 people get 10 different answers 🙂

Hope whatever he goes for works and he is happy   AND gets clear skies 🙂

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Definitely agree that an i5 (as I have) can be overkill in many circumstances.  In my case I will probably be doing some EAA type stuff that involves stacking and suchlike, which is why I went for a more powerful option.  Kappa-sigma stacking a couple of dozen DSLR frames is not processor-friendly :D

James

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