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Old 03-02-2007, 16:06   #1
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Lap top vs desk top

I want to pose this question:
As most of us are savy in this age of technology; we are aware that the life of a lap top computer is at the very least 1/2 of that of a desk top computer.
With that said I am having a hard time understanding why most cruisers use a lap top instead of a desk top.
What is your opinion on this besides "space"
Cass
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Old 03-02-2007, 16:15   #2
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space 8-), less parts, portable( you can take it ashore to send emails update websites, no 240 inverter needed, easier to cart off for repairs if needed, portability within the boat( ie you can unplug it and use it outside, on the foredeck while at anchor etc, more power efficient come wireless so you can have 2 laptops that talk to each other without cables( makes playing games against your spouse fun)
etc etc
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Old 03-02-2007, 16:17   #3
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also if you purchase an extended warranty as it is the motherboard that usually craps out you usually end up with an upgraded m/b and can ask for other bits 2 be upgraded at the time of the repair being carried out
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Old 03-02-2007, 16:58   #4
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For most of the reasons above, laptops are -really- nice.

I bought one to use as a chart plotter for the boat. (Used for this one time) It ended up being used for making videos, writing music, artwork, posting on forums, writing software (Kidbank), Kids homework, e-mail, watching DVDs.. So fine! I bought a second one and now I can get some time on this one.

But as to the life of a laptop vs a tabletop machine? Don't even worry about it. Computers are like bread, they goes bad after a short time whether you use them or not. -Any- computer has about a 2 year lifespan. After that, technology advances to the point that the computer is a dinosaur. Toss it and grab a new one.

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Old 03-02-2007, 17:28   #5
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The real answer if you are living aboard is *power*. Laptops use substantially less energy than desktops, especially desktops with old CRT monitors. If you can find a way to do something with less of an impact on your batteries, generator, solar, whatever... you do it.

Aside from space, portability, etc... it's power.

Also, don't look at electronics the same way you would on land. They don't become quite so obsolete, since the odds of you needing to run the latest and greatest software decrease each year you are out. You'll be lucky if you end up checking email once a day.
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Old 03-02-2007, 17:37   #6
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There was once a time when the capabilities of a desktop far exceeded those of a laptop, and in a few areas they still may, possibly gaming. But overall the convenience of a laptop far exceeds that of a desktop and the preformance is practically the same. In a small boat the installation of a desktop is difficult. As for durability, I've been developing software on the same laptop for three years. It also served as entertainment center, route planner and communications device on the boat (and RV). It sits on the table for communications or navigation and at the end of the bunk for watching DVDs. It is nice to simply plug into a highspeed internet connection and download all the charts of an area, books or whatever and then carry them back.
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Old 03-02-2007, 18:22   #7
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Has anyone had any experience (or has some knowledge) of the Mini-ITX systems. Pracitcal Sailor ran an article onthem in July 2006. Basically they are "compact energy -efficient systems that offer a affordable alternative to a laptop." Technology came out of automotive industry and is being adapted to marine. Obviously, not portable like a laptop, but could be an alternative if you won a boat.
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Old 03-02-2007, 18:22   #8
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Make that "own" a boat. I wish I could have "won" a boat.
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Old 03-02-2007, 18:26   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssullivan
You'll be lucky if you end up checking email once a day.
im glad you put the smiley in as it appears you have 1950 posts
sean
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Old 03-02-2007, 18:40   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northerncat
im glad you put the smiley in as it appears you have 1950 posts
sean
Nah... I'm serious. You only end up making 1950 posts when you're stuck at a dock for the winter and boats are what you live and breathe. When I'm out at anchor, I check in, but the posts are days and weeks apart. You'll see again this summer and also next winter. We are in our last couple of months here at a dock... it's almost time to be free.

Anyway, I did mean it seriously. Once you are out, and even bored at a dock, you don't need to run the latest and greatest software to check email and post on the Cruiser's Forum. It's just not very intense stuff...
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Old 03-02-2007, 18:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ativa
I want to pose this question:
As most of us are savy in this age of technology; we are aware that the life of a lap top computer is at the very least 1/2 of that of a desk top computer.
I'm not aware of that. My experience is that the leading cause of replacement for a laptop is that the user wants a new/faster/bigger/lighter model. Second is theft. (You would be surprised how many otherwise intelligent people will leave their laptop on the front seat of a parked car overnight.) I haven't experienced much in the way of hardware failures in laptops. One place I worked, an exec ran over their laptop with a car, but I'm not sure that really counts.

Quote:
With that said I am having a hard time understanding why most cruisers use a lap top instead of a desk top.
What is your opinion on this besides "space"
My reasons are:

1) space - sorry, but it is an overwhelming concern for a boat; my laptop is smaller than just the monitor for a desktop machine. There's no way around it: this is the most important consideration for me.

2) storage - my laptop sits on the table when I'm using it and lives in a bag in the corner when I'm not. A desktop machine doesn't move around, so you need a dedicated space for it. You can set the keyboard aside, but that is about it.

3) portability - you can take your laptop to the harbor master's office or internet cafe to pick up your email, etc.

4) power - my laptop uses 70 watts at most - less if it isn't thinking real hard. Because it might run on the battery, the designer gives more care to power efficiency, though modern desk machines have adopted several of those ideas.

Reliability has not been a problem. My laptop is almost 7 years old now, and the only part I've replaced is the keyboard. It still does everything just as fast and just as well as it did when it was new. My main concern is that some other part will fail and no replacements will be available because this model was discontinued quite some time ago. Of course, the same concern would apply to a desktop machine of this age.
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Old 03-02-2007, 21:08   #12
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Laptops now outsell desktops--even for home users--since last year. The remaining market for desktops is mainly corporate, where the trend is to "mini" systems not real desktops any more, been that way for a good 7?9? years now.

Laptops were, and still are, more expensive but especially in a boat where power conservation and space are issues, they come out ahead. Since desktops are no longer upgradeable, and really haven't been upgradeable for the past ten years because so many form factors have been obsoleted so quickly, that advantage for desktops has also long gone away. (CPU form factor, RAM, video bus, i/o bus, power supply, chassis standards, all obsoleted every 3-4 years now.)
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:37   #13
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I must confess I have had no plans to include a PC on my boat.............but as I do have "only" a laptop anyway I probably would - just cos' it is easy to do.

Why did I buy a laptop? cos' (as non Techie) it was easy to hook up a 2nd screen and this is the best "upgrade" I have ever done (3 screens would be better, but..........) and now and again (albeit very rarely) I do use it away from home.
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:52   #14
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We will have a PC on board for music/media /nav/email, but am looking at a proper desk top jobbie using LCD screeen as tv/plotter/computer screen.

My computer nerd mate reckons all of the component's in the big unit's are actually 12volt, so I am letting him look into this and just build a spot in the boat for it.

Sound's easy.

Dave
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Old 04-02-2007, 02:30   #15
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actually there there are a lot of components that require only 3v(hard drives and five volts within as well as i investigated this as well
sean
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