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Old 17-07-2017, 10:19   #1
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Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

My experiment with repurposing an old laptop was a failure. Time to acquire a new computer.

It's going to be a fanless mini-computer, and there are a lot of choices for about $200. Now I'm just down to the last question -- Atom or Celeron?

AFAIK, what are sold as "Celerons" are anyway Atoms, so no difference other than the clock speed -- is that correct? Both are now fantastically low power and don't need fans -- a big, big plus for a boat computer run off battery power.

How about the graphics? I presume that any of these will be adequate for OpenCPN and maybe watching some movies?

Here are a couple I'm looking at:

https://www.amazon.de/Computers-Kabe...ords=minix+neo

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01LT46CVG/..._t1_B01LXB7895

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B071F7F4PT/..._t2_B01LT46CVG

Any tips?
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Old 17-07-2017, 11:04   #2
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

Maybe add a fan anyway. Running full time our Mini gets hot and will shut down sometimes.
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Old 17-07-2017, 11:11   #3
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

Are you looking for something which can also interface with your ship’s instruments, as well as radar, AIS, & navigation programs? As well perhaps, as the autopilot?And will it be on deck much?If so, in a Pelican case or no?

You may want to test how readable the different models are both in bright light, & dim to no light. Both with & without polarized sunglasses.And with some computers you can get them with built in drop sensors, so that if they get dropped, the computer senses this, & locks the hard drive prior to impact.Thus protecting itself from damage.Assuming that you’re going with something which has a hard drive, & not some other form of memory.

Also, some are pickier than others about the power they’re fed. Both AC, & DC.Though mostly the former. So if you plan to run one off of an inverter or genset, check to ensure that they’re compatible with your shipboard power sources.
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Old 17-07-2017, 11:16   #4
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

I bought one of these a few weeks ago.

https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B06XH1V5ZG?psc=1

It has plenty of graphic capability like streaming 4k video etc and has just enough interfaces to be useful, including USB3. It runs OpenCPN CM93-2 and raster just fine on a full HD monitor with a USB GPS and barely gets warm. It runs W10 Creators' so I don't know yet whether there'll be any problems away from internet access.

Downside is the case is not at all sealed and would need to be installed in a protected environment. Although it's 12v I assume it would need a regulated supply on board. It appears to be a generic design with lots of different suppliers, but there are as many variants. Mine is a Z83-V, similar to the second two examples you linked - but a lot cheaper!

My view is it's worth buying one for evaluation, and if it doesn't work out relegate it as an add-on to the TV - boat or home!

ps. It does have a high-speed ethernet interface so it should be able to run the OCPN Navico radar plug-in

pps It has dual screen capability though I haven't tried it yet - HDMI and VGA. I'll connect it up when I'm down on the boat later in the week.
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Old 18-07-2017, 01:17   #5
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Are you looking for something which can also interface with your ship’s instruments, as well as radar, AIS, & navigation programs? As well perhaps, as the autopilot?And will it be on deck much?If so, in a Pelican case or no?

You may want to test how readable the different models are both in bright light, & dim to no light. Both with & without polarized sunglasses.And with some computers you can get them with built in drop sensors, so that if they get dropped, the computer senses this, & locks the hard drive prior to impact.Thus protecting itself from damage.Assuming that you’re going with something which has a hard drive, & not some other form of memory.

Also, some are pickier than others about the power they’re fed. Both AC, & DC.Though mostly the former. So if you plan to run one off of an inverter or genset, check to ensure that they’re compatible with your shipboard power sources.
I have a full Navico system with 2x B&G Zeus MFD's, 6x Triton MFDs, one Maretron DSM-250 MFD, and 4G radar. That's the primary navigation system.

Ship's computer is used for passage planning on OpenCPN with 23" 4k monitor at the nav table, using raster charts for European Atlantic coasts; otherwise CM93 and others. Also for tidal planning with Neptune Planner +, EDO Instruments, weatherfax downloaded via SSB, operating the Pactor modem, controlling the black box AIS set, doing all kinds of weather stuff, keeping the log, etc., etc. Might be used occasionally to stream NPR or BBC or watch a movie.

I don't think it needs all that much horsepower. My phone (!) will actually play 4k movies without any problem, which has got to be more demanding than any of the other uses listed above. So I guess I'm kind of leaning towards the Atom if no one knows anything it can't do, which I might need.
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Old 18-07-2017, 01:21   #6
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
I bought one of these a few weeks ago.

https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B06XH1V5ZG?psc=1

It has plenty of graphic capability like streaming 4k video etc and has just enough interfaces to be useful, including USB3. It runs OpenCPN CM93-2 and raster just fine on a full HD monitor with a USB GPS and barely gets warm. It runs W10 Creators' so I don't know yet whether there'll be any problems away from internet access.

Downside is the case is not at all sealed and would need to be installed in a protected environment. Although it's 12v I assume it would need a regulated supply on board. It appears to be a generic design with lots of different suppliers, but there are as many variants. Mine is a Z83-V, similar to the second two examples you linked - but a lot cheaper!

My view is it's worth buying one for evaluation, and if it doesn't work out relegate it as an add-on to the TV - boat or home!

ps. It does have a high-speed ethernet interface so it should be able to run the OCPN Navico radar plug-in

pps It has dual screen capability though I haven't tried it yet - HDMI and VGA. I'll connect it up when I'm down on the boat later in the week.
Wow, the price is right! I think that's a no lose proposition. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 18-07-2017, 02:33   #7
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

The above seems very good.
Another option is to use a NUC, small box, small fan with Celeron (see 1st link) or with Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor. With Intel up to 16gb RAM, SSD or harddrive and all the fruit, can run on 12 to 19 volt.
https://www.mwave.com.au/product/int...RoCrfcQAvD_BwE

Apparently the i5 is the most economical to buy, i5 review here:
https://www.tomsguide.com/us/intel-b...view-2688.html

My Toshiba laptop is now 7 years old, has not failed yet, but when it does, I will certainly consider NUC for the boat. BTW, at my workplace all workstations are slowly exchanged for this as well.

For those who think 'normal' computers do not belong on a boat...... I have had computers (and printers) on my boat since 1996. And moisture was never a problem. Just the power use of the older desktops and the now ancient CRT monitors were a drain.
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Old 18-07-2017, 02:58   #8
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

I use these:
https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The display is mounted on top if the chart table and readable from the wheel (even in sunlight).
The pc unit resides below the chart table (inside a locker).

I connected an ordinary cheap mouse and keyboard to it.
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Old 18-07-2017, 03:09   #9
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

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Maybe add a fan anyway. Running full time our Mini gets hot and will shut down sometimes.
The Minis I've torn apart have a fan, maybe yours needs cleaned.
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Old 18-07-2017, 03:41   #10
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

FWIW, a Raspberry Pi runs OpenCPN fine and draws 300 mA in use sans monitor in a fan cooled case. Will stream movies Ok running Kodi, too. Hook it up to a small 12" widescreen monitor or smaller and it will draw less than an amp and a half in total in a 12 VDC system. A slightly higher powered device will provide improved speeds at greater power consumption, but a genuine computing workhorse replacement needs to be at least an i3. Also don't forget about non volatile storage. SD cards just don't cut it for anything serious - you need a device that takes M2 SATA drives.

My solution is to use the PI for nav, instrument display and basic internet, with a power gobbling micro PC (in my cas, a NUC Skull Canyon i7) connected to the TV waiting in reserve for serious stuff. The low cost and small size of the PI and small monitor combo actually make the two pronged approach a practical proposition.
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Old 18-07-2017, 05:30   #11
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

We are using a repurposed Gateway net book with a Atom processor. It is fan cooled but dc power is not a big issue. Other than running Max Sea TZ V1.7 or OpnCpn or Sea Clear, it has no links to the outside world except to a DC Monitor in the cockpit. Simple.
The operating system is Win7.
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Old 18-07-2017, 06:27   #12
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HankOnthewater View Post
The above seems very good.
Another option is to use a NUC, small box, small fan with Celeron (see 1st link) or with Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor. With Intel up to 16gb RAM, SSD or harddrive and all the fruit, can run on 12 to 19 volt.
https://www.mwave.com.au/product/int...RoCrfcQAvD_BwE

Apparently the i5 is the most economical to buy, i5 review here:
https://www.tomsguide.com/us/intel-b...view-2688.html

My Toshiba laptop is now 7 years old, has not failed yet, but when it does, I will certainly consider NUC for the boat. BTW, at my workplace all workstations are slowly exchanged for this as well.

For those who think 'normal' computers do not belong on a boat...... I have had computers (and printers) on my boat since 1996. And moisture was never a problem. Just the power use of the older desktops and the now ancient CRT monitors were a drain.
The reason why I don't want a NUC, besides the cost, is the power drain, and the fan.

The new generation of processors generate so little heat that they don't need fans, and use far less power, which is important for use on board. The computer I just ordered (the one recommended by someone above -- Bqeel Z83V) only has an 18 watt power supply (!). It is a four core Atom machine. My hesitation about the Atom processors was set at ease after reading a few reviews -- the machine is obviously much more powerful than my old $4000 high end laptop, and uses something like one-tenth of the power. The reviewer was even able to run games in HD on it! The world has changed a lot since the last time I was buying computers.

The
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Old 18-07-2017, 08:32   #13
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

Recently changed to an Acer switch 12, more expensive but worth a look - core i5 fanless and pretty much sealed except for plugs, removable keyboard so can be used as a tablet or laptop, backlit keyboard, plenty of memory plus SD card slot, 4K (10&12" options) sunlight readable screen (in practice not direct tropical sun but certainly works in the cockpit nder spray hood). Only drawback if relatively short battery life. If you need more than about 4-5hr you need a separate power pack.
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Old 18-07-2017, 08:45   #14
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

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The computer I just ordered (the one recommended by someone above -- Bqeel Z83V) only has an 18 watt power supply (!). It is a four core Atom machine.
Good luck [1] with that /s. I don't understand how an owner with a relatively expensive boat can be that cheap with a board computer. 120? Sorry, you get the quality (read trash) worth 120. I'm not impressed...

[1] https://www.amazon.de/dp/B06XH1V5ZG#customerReviews
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Old 18-07-2017, 08:45   #15
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Re: Replacing Ship's Computer -- Atom vs Celeron?

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Recently changed to an Acer switch 12, more expensive but worth a look - core i5 fanless and pretty much sealed except for plugs, removable keyboard so can be used as a tablet or laptop, backlit keyboard, plenty of memory plus SD card slot, 4K (10&12" options) sunlight readable screen (in practice not direct tropical sun but certainly works in the cockpit nder spray hood). Only drawback if relatively short battery life. If you need more than about 4-5hr you need a separate power pack.
I've been using laptops -- which are pretty good for most boats I guess. My boat was actually built with a laptop tray at the nav table -- sloped so you can get at the keyboard well.

But I wanted a much bigger and higher resolution display than you can get on a laptop -- I have been migrating chart work from paper to electronic raster charts, and you need a really large and good screen to get anywhere near to paper. So I started hooking up the laptops to the monitor by HDMI.


Now I want to get away from laptops, and I have actually ordered today the Bqeel Z83V mini PC recommended by someone here. It seems to be fantastic for this purpose -- quad core Atom processor which seems to have plenty of horsepower, 32 gig internal flash memory, 4k video, all ports I need including a second video port for using two monitors, 5ghz wifi, etc., etc., etc. And the cost -- a ridiculous 120 euros.

I'll report on how it works on, after I receive it.
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