Dmack1 Posted May 17, 2022 Share Posted May 17, 2022 (edited) With my new Todmorden style pier meaning that I have less concerns about cable snags and a forthcoming autofocus system planned (as soon as the ZWO EAF is back in stock anywhere) I decided to look at having a small pier side mini-pc which would be quick and easy to set up and could be controlled remotely. I did not want to spend too much on this and felt that since it will be purely for imaging it did not need a particularly high spec. But I wanted reasonable RAM to ensure that all the components of an imaging session (Stellarium, APT, PHD2, Sharpcap and the remote system I use Anydesk and Chrome Remote Desktop) could work together without issue. I also wanted plenty memory as a full nights imaging with the ASI 2600mc, including flats/dark flats in the morning can take up a fair bit of memory space. So rooting around on amazon I found what seemed to be a good deal; NiPoGi Mini PC, Ιntel Celeron J3455 8GB RAM/ 128GB ROM Mini Computer with Windows 10 Pro, Micro PC Support Dual HDMI 4K, Wake On LAN, Tiny Desktop PC for Business, Meeting, Office, School and HTPC : Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories This link includes the option I took of 8Gb RAM /256Gb ROM Now one point, when I ordered this the price I got (including vat at Irish rate of 23%) was £162 - I ordered last Thursday. The price seems to have gone up now to £194 which seems strange but that's Amazon I guess. Anyway. Ordered Thursday delivered Monday. Initial impressions Packaging is very good with a high quality feel and excellent protection. The unit itself seems to be of a good build quality, sturdy enough with a nice finish. There is a removable lid which allows access to an expansion slot where you can add an additional ssd - but I cant see that I'll need that. The lid fits well and removes/replaces easily with a good solid spring connection This unit has plenty connectivity options with Bluetooth and WiFI, 2 X USB2, 2 x USB3, 2 X HDMI ports, an ethernet port and a Micro-SD slot. There is amounting plate which is intended to be placed on the back of a PC monitor and which will hold the mini-pc in place but allow it to be removed without the need for tools. I think I will attach this to the pier and hang the PC from it. I dont intend to leave the PC out so this should work fine. Set Up and Perofmance Initial start up and windows set up (Windows 10 Pro) was quick and easy. A note on the website says that one should get windows fully up and running before connecting to internet and thats what I did. There appears to be no bloat-ware on the system so only around 25Gb of the memory used at that point. Installing all the necessary programmes (Stellarium, APT, PHD2, EQMod, Ascom platform Sharpcap, Anydesk) was without issue. Performance wise it seems much much better than I had anticipated. Edge starts up only slightly slower than on my good spec, main laptop. Streaming videos from YouTube etc works seamlessly with no visible jumps or lags. Stellarium runs without jumps or lag also. I had APT, PHD2 and Stellarium all running at the same time and talking to each other as normal without any problem. Platesolving in APT with ASTAP is a bit slower than on my current laptop but it will still blind-solve in 10-15 seconds and near solve in 2-4s. I've not yet been able to connect it up the the scope & camera (its all outside on its pier and its raining!!) but I don't foresee any issues there. I'll report back if I hit any. Overall, for what I paid for this unit I think it is an excellent buy and will definitely do the job. It seems to have no issue with running the programmes and I feel it would probably be capable of doing more but imaging is all I need it for. I would highly recommend this mini-pc particularly at the price break I got, but even at the higher £194 it is still great value. David Edited May 17, 2022 by Dmack1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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