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Old 11-02-2015, 00:30   #1
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Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

My MacBook just turned to toast and I am wondering if a PC is more useful for cruisers? We are headed out on a Mexico and South Pacific cruise later this year. We already have a good laptop PC, but I am wondering if it woud be good to have a back up PC or if a Mac would give us more versatility?

Thanks for your opinons!
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:42   #2
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

Macs can run Windows either natively or as a virtual machine, so you can have the best of both worlds with one computer (or worst of them, depending on your point of view).

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Old 11-02-2015, 05:57   #3
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

Choice of computer hardware and OS is as personal as choice of boat, and for many people it's as controversial as religion or politics.

Make your own choice and rationalize it as you choose.

I think good choices for a boat computer are Surface 3 (what I use) but if you prefer the MacBook Air it's also a good choice. The Surface gives you a stunning display quality, full PC performance and convertible tablet form factor, which I find very versatile. Unfortunately neither choice is field serviceable so I'd make sure you carry a backup device.
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:02   #4
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

We thought we were pretty smart when we settled on a common laptop. We each use the identical (Windows) machine and we carry a couple as spares. They're older machines but very high end and we've been pleased with the arrangement. When we need parts we rob one of the spares and that actually hasn't happened very often. However recently I had an issue with mine refusing to connect to any networks. Its a software problem & I am reasonably certain I can fix it once I get back to my installation disk but that disk isn't "here" and I won't be back to it for several months so I thought "no problem - I'll just switch completely to one of the spares"

That's when the problem surfaced. Evidently the spares haven't enjoyed their life onboard. Specifically it appears that the damp environment has done something to their keyboards. Initially neither of them had a completely functional keyboard which made logging into them very challenging. I was able to get a working computer by swapping keyboards between the spares and my functioning but not net capable machine. That was frustrating and time consuming. Liberal applications of contact cleaner have helped the spare machines to recover & I think eventually I will get them fully functional but the experience has thrown a wrench in what we thought was a working economical solution to our computing needs.
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:12   #5
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
Choice of computer hardware and OS is as personal as choice of boat, and for many people it's as controversial as religion or politics.
Exactly. Neither is any better, or worse, for a cruiser than in any other situation. It's just a matter of personal choice.

I guess what I would recommend is whatever you use and are comfortable with on land. There is no compelling reason to change, just because you are going to be cruising.
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:49   #6
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

In the far flung reaches of the world go simple and available.
To me that means PC. If theres a problem you have a better chance of fixing it.
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:34   #7
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

It's not the end of the world either way but I would lean towards a PC.
- You are not maintaining two styles of computer.
- You are more likely to find PC's and PC service/parts in out of the way places.
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:36   #8
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

I'll just add to the controversy.

Linux (many "flavors", just find what you like)
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:14   #9
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

MarkJ and others, how do you protect your PC from our salt environment..
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:25   #10
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

Don't shop PC or Apple, shop the software you like and then decide which machine to buy. In either machine I would have a flash drive rather than the old mechanical HD.
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:37   #11
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

Do not confuse the machine with the OS (operating system). The device (hardware) is what is susceptible to environment. PC (generally understood to mean Microsoft software enabled machine) is more susceptible to challenges of programs. Linux installations are superior, cheaper (free) and better maintained. Both systems can be made to run with the other's programs. The basic consideration should be how well the machine reacts to external sources, i.e., a clean constant charge, and programs inputs.
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:40   #12
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

We use a PC which runs Nobeltec (Maxsea) and all communications on board along with two ipads. The original ipad which doesn't do very much due to outdated operating system and a new ipad air which is great for Inavx and nobeltec. Plus it's very easy to buy and load a mini sim card into the ipad for internet service.

My wife's new mac book whatever is a royal PITA, she's constantly fighting with it and needing to go into an Apple store to get help. I hate the thing... she wishes that she never bought it.

Basically, we love the ipads.... but hate the Apple computers. My wife is on her third Apple computer. PCs these days seem almost bulletproof with free AVG antivirus software installed. Her Apple computer has even had a virus.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:04   #13
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

Cheapest one on offer, sea water kills all machines equally and nav software (in fact most stuff) runs fine on the most basic machines. I would also be tempted to look at one of the convertibles. Just seeing some around where you can remove the screen and take it on deck as a tablet - much easier to waterproof, not sure about how it works so don't know the limitations. Anyone tried one?
SSD is a must, not only more robust it makes the most basic machine seam like a descktop. Most of the time wait time I see is disc access mot machine speed. Paticularly important a boot up which is several times faster. I swaped out the standard 500Gb drive and replaced it with a 125GD SSD, put the standard drive in a seperate case and keep it tucked away safe with all my photos on it
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:26   #14
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

My brother's laptop PC crashed a couple of weeks ago - He had a new hard drive installed, data recovery, New MaxSea installed along with OS ("downgraded" from Windows 8 to 7), drivers, some other software (probably bootleg - In Langkawi, Malaysia.


Total cost around $132 USD...


I vote PC for out of the way maintainability.


Oh - And don't buy a high end laptop - I bought a new laptop at Best Buy for $390 - Dual core, 1Tb HDD, 16GB Ram, WiFi, DVD/ROM - yada,yada,yada...


Does everything anyone cruising needs to do and if the salt fricks it up you can buy a new one.


What's a Mac Air go for these days? $2,500? Buy 6 PC laptops instead - LOL...
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:38   #15
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Re: Cruiser's Laptop Computer: Apple or PC?

I'm a Mac and my wife has a PC plus we have an Android tablet for those days when we are off grid and charging a laptop is a real drain. The tablet will charge from a 5v circuit or off a dedicated USB solar panel meaning many, many more hours of music, video, interweb and email access. It also has built in GPS (plus can access my Bluetooth GPS gizmo) which is a boon for route planning etc and has a 3G sim for interweb access anywhere we can get a mobile signal.

If I didn't have my Mac for work we'd only have a single laptop for more labour intense computer stuff and access/transferring stuff to the tablet from our 2TB hard drive. Everything is backed up to 2 external hard drives (kept in a zip lock bag onboard) and all the really vital files are stored on Google Drive as well. If something goes tits up with any of our machines we can easily get our files back as long as we have either a 3G/Wifi signal or mains power for the 2TB drive.

One thing I would consider getting is a Bluetooth keyboard for the tablet as the on screen one drives me nuts when surfing or trying to compose an email and a pointer as I have stupid fingers!!

At the end of the day you pays your money and you makes the choice but the old adage of KISS still applies. I'd still get the best spec machine I could afford with as much RAM as possible and the fastest chipset to make it as future proof as you can with a computer. The Panasonic Toughbook is a good option if you can afford it as they are pretty much bomb proof and the Sony Xperia tablets are waterproof and dustproof so very resilient to onboard life.

Keiron
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