More and more yachtsmen are using PCs on board. A computer can be used as a tool for navigation, weather forecasting, communication or entertainment.

First you need to decide on what hardware you need, how to install it, and the power and interfacing considerations.The performance required depends on what you want to use a computer for.

If you want to use your PC for email and web browsing, and for basic navigation software, then any new PC you’ll find in the high street is more than powerful enough in terms of processor power, memory and storage capacity. In fact, there are arguments for choosing a lower specification computer – to save power and have a smaller physical unit.

If you want to use the computer for graphics-intensive applications such as radar or 3D views in the chartplotter, video editing or 3D computer games, then you will want a high-performance CPU (possibly a dual-processor model), and as much memory (RAM) as you can install – usually 1–2GB.A high-performance graphics processor is also a big benefit, and this is one area where laptops lose out to a fixed PC.

Disk size is generally not an issue, unless you want to use the computer for video editing, or you have a very large collection of audio files and digital camera images that you want to keep on your computer.

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