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Old 13-12-2012, 12:18   #16
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Seems like you're paying a 200-300% premium for the ability to hardwire it. $300-400 will buy one hell of a laptop these days, thin, light, big screen, faster cpu, even SSD instead of a hard drive.

And if you buy two you have full redundancy, a portable computer plus one bolted down, and if anything needs service, you take it to the post office and it is done.

Dockhead, I can appreciate the reasons for built-in, just not the 200-300% penalty for doing so.
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Old 13-12-2012, 12:36   #17
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Stealth and Xenarc come from here Home of SD-Omega (Hong Kong) Company Limited, I have dealt with them directly and a hell of a lot cheaper
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Old 13-12-2012, 13:05   #18
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

In two recent installations we used cheap netbooks. We gave each owner another netbook set up for plug-in. Back in 2010 I installed a dedicated micro unit in another boat (request from the owner for this specific unit).

The netbook-cored systems work as good as the dedicated unit. Cost (of the core unit) is roughly 20% (one netbook) well below 50% for the set-up with a backup one onboard.

I prefer the netbook way as I found finding drivers for everything WAY easier.

Now Win 8 tablet cores will probably be used in our next installation, (as long as the owners are willing to accept the cost!).

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Old 13-12-2012, 13:24   #19
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Use the laptop or tablet of your choice and back everything up. A hardwired computer in a boat makes no sense IMHO. The more you protect it from salt water, the harder it is to cool. Also, you can buy a good laptop for the price of a snatch block.
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Old 13-12-2012, 13:32   #20
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Windows8 Tablet?

You realize that somehow, Microsoft's hardware track record has been an astonishing ZERO percent? Every time they come out with a hardware product, it dies a painful death. No one remembers they did a cordless phone (cordless, not cell) a long time ago, which would integrate your call records and data from the OS, yada yada, advanced voicemail, all sort of features, and they couldn't give it away.

They've done a few other things over the years. Mercifully, the market seems to totally forget about them.
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Old 13-12-2012, 14:06   #21
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Well, perhaps not zero, but pretty damn bad. Their mice have been good, and keyboards OK, but otherwise duds.

Windows 8? Yikes. There is a reason that the takeup for 8 has been so low; Windows 7 sales have INCREASED as people buy it so they don't have to buy 8. The Surface is going nowhere, and with the low developer interest that isn't likely to change.

I have been keeping an eye on things so that when I finish the current refit I will put in a low power computer. It will probably be the Mint distribution of Linux with WINE to run programs that are only available for Windows (Airmail, etc). If I have to run Windows it will either be XP or 7, but absolutely not 8. The reasons why probably deserve a thread of their own.

Netbooks are a great solution, as long as the form factor works for the user. I want a fixed display behind glass for instrument readings and possibly charts so the separate display/computer is better for me. YMMV

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Old 13-12-2012, 14:17   #22
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

It nice to get the chart table back though.
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Old 13-12-2012, 14:54   #23
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Windows8 Tablet?

You realize that somehow, Microsoft's hardware track record has been an astonishing ZERO percent? Every time they come out with a hardware product, it dies a painful death. No one remembers they did a cordless phone (cordless, not cell) a long time ago, which would integrate your call records and data from the OS, yada yada, advanced voicemail, all sort of features, and they couldn't give it away.

They've done a few other things over the years. Mercifully, the market seems to totally forget about them.
Xbox is an exception. Their mice and keyboards are pretty good too.
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:03   #24
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Use the laptop or tablet of your choice and back everything up. A hardwired computer in a boat makes no sense IMHO. The more you protect it from salt water, the harder it is to cool. Also, you can buy a good laptop for the price of a snatch block.
The nice thing about a mini-itx computer is that you can replace parts without dumping the whole machine. A computer on a boat is going to die - it is just a matter of when. It is a tough environment. When a keyboard goes out in a laptop, you usually get rid of it and buy a new laptop. Same for the display. Maybe less for the harddrive. |ANy of these die on built ion system you just replace the component. With a mini-itx system when I feel the the processor is now obsolete i.e. too slow, I can replace the motherboard and keep everything else - maybe $90 to $130. That's why I have an Atom based mini-itx on my boat. They aren't for everyone, as they take some dicking with to get the parts working together, and aren't as familiar as a laptop. They also don't bounce across the cabin or get stolen on shore.
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:30   #25
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Greg, I would even call their mice and keyboards "zero". There's nothing special about a MS mouse, and their only real special keyboard was their split "natural" keyboard, which I've never seen on anyone's desk, much less taking over any offices. Even then, neither product was really innovative in any big way. On the other hand, a Gateway OmniKey, or a Northgate OmniKey...there are people who will break your arms in multiple places if you try to poach those keyboards away.<G>

Paul-
"ANy of these die on built ion system you just replace the component. With a mini-itx system when I feel the the processor is now obsolete i.e. too slow, I can replace the motherboard and keep everything else"
You're in a disappearing minority. Usually a processor plus motherboard plus memory all have to be upgraded because there is so much change across all three, and the memory types have changed so that "new" commodity priced memory doesn't work with old processors or motherboards. Once upon a time, I upgraded CPUs. I don't think I've done that for over 15 years, as new systems have been SO much more powerful than updating old CPUs. The connections change, i.e. USB is dead, USB3 is here. Change the motherboard? Sure, and what else changes with it?
I could turn my own screws and bolts on a lathe, too, and just buy convenient metal stock instead of ordering pieces. Or for about fifty grand, buy enough parts to build my own car--which someone else will build, sell, and warranty to me for half that price.
It goes against my nature, but the reality is that computers have become throwaway pieces. Like TV sets, you can buy a new one cheaper than fixing the old one. And that's been going on for what, over 20 years now?
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:37   #26
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

I think my next boat computer will probably be something like this:

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Old 13-12-2012, 15:40   #27
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

I built a computer using parts from Logic Supply using mini-ITX for ham radio work. Worked out great. Has a 12v power supply for automotive and could work with boating too. I'd like to switch my computers to Solid State Drives and Linux operating system.
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:42   #28
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

There are a few who use Mac minis.

SV/Jedi is one.

Cheers
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Old 13-12-2012, 15:50   #29
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It nice to get the chart table back though.
Why not have the cake and eat it too. Lots of netbooks will drive external monitors, and the resolutions are better, too. Wireless keyboard and mouse, or USB, and you're good to go. And, you can take it up into the cockpit if so inclined.

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Old 13-12-2012, 16:11   #30
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Re: Which Embedded Computer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
....
Paul-
"ANy of these die on built ion system you just replace the component. With a mini-itx system when I feel the the processor is now obsolete i.e. too slow, I can replace the motherboard and keep everything else"
You're in a disappearing minority. Usually a processor plus motherboard plus memory all have to be upgraded because there is so much change across all three, and the memory types have changed so that "new" commodity priced memory doesn't work with old processors or motherboards. Once upon a time, I upgraded CPUs. I don't think I've done that for over 15 years, as new systems have been SO much more powerful than updating old CPUs. The connections change, i.e. USB is dead, USB3 is here. Change the motherboard? Sure, and what else changes with it?
I could turn my own screws and bolts on a lathe, too, and just buy convenient metal stock instead of ordering pieces. Or for about fifty grand, buy enough parts to build my own car--which someone else will build, sell, and warranty to me for half that price.
It goes against my nature, but the reality is that computers have become throwaway pieces. Like TV sets, you can buy a new one cheaper than fixing the old one. And that's been going on for what, over 20 years now?
Swapping out a motherboard still leaves you with the display, keyboard, case, power supply, disk drives, installation, etc.

Basically I agree with you. When someone asks me for a recommendation for their boat computer, I almost always go with a laptop or netbook. And yes, when they break you throw them out, get over your loss and start again. For those that want a more permanently mounted system and don't mind the screwing around for the setup, an itx system is a good choice. Even buying a new netbook usually requires hours of screwing around to uninstall all the crap trial SW they put on it. I really prefer that my boat computer stays fixed to the boat and doesn't go on journeys to shore.
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