What’s the best PC for star-gaz­ing pro­grams?

Computer Active (UK) - - Reviews -

QMy eight-year old Pen­tium PC is fine for gen­eral use, but I can’t run as­tron­omy pro­grams such as Gaia and NASA’S Eyes. I feel it’s time for an up­grade to a Win­dows 10 lap­top. Can you ad­vise on suit­able pro­ces­sor and graph­ics spec­i­fi­ca­tions? John Fraser

ANASA’S Eyes doesn’t re­quire a very pow­er­ful PC, just Win­dows 7 or higher. Some as­tron­omy pro­grams may need a faster pro­ces­sor, while oth­ers may ben­e­fit from a graph­ics card sup­port­ing Opengl. In­tel’s top-end i7 U-se­ries lap­top processors, with their built-in graph­ics, could be ideal. Dell’s well-made XPS 13 ( www.snipca.com/ 25963, see our re­view, Is­sue 496) costs £1,299 with a brand new i7 chip. This has a Full HD screen, giv­ing a clear dis­play that ac­com­mo­dates de­tailed in­ter­faces.

More af­ford­able op­tions are avail­able from man­u­fac­tur­ers like Asus: the UX310UA ( www.snipca.com/25965, see Is­sue 503) is £776 with an even sharper 3200x1800 screen and a de­cent i5-7200u pro­ces­sor. An i3 sys­tem such as Acer’s Swift 3 lap­top (£650 from Ar­gos www.snipca.com/25966) would get you Win­dows 10 and ac­cept­able per­for­mance, but has a duller screen. Note that most lap­tops now have lim­ited SSD stor­age, so you may need an ex­ter­nal hard drive for pho­tos and other data.

Do you need ad­vice on what you should buy? Email us at let­ters@com­put­er­ac­tive.co.uk

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