We generally get 4-5 years out of our laptops on board. After that you'll probably want to upgrade for other reasons. Currently we're using a pair of Dell Vostros 1710 for their wide hi-res screens & dual Hard Drives, plus a Dell Netbook for email
& to download cameras when we're off the boat for extended periods (like trekking in the Himalaya). We have an old steam-powered HP for emergency
backup. All run OpenCPN
or even MaxSea
11 just fine.
You might get longer life out of a ruggedized computer, but I don't think it's worth the added cost. I think all of our HW failures have been due to pilot error, not environment
. For us, power is important so we use laptops & 12v power supplies, as desktop
units don't care about power consumption