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-   -   Rugged Laptops: Panasonic Toughbook vs General Dynamics (https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=1562036)

Romeo_alpha01 09-30-2019 6:56 AM

Rugged Laptops: Panasonic Toughbook vs General Dynamics
 
In the market for a one and done laptop. I have a tendency to fumble and run equipment hard. Iím looking for something I can continually upgrade and retrofit to keep up with newer features. This is strictly a no frills work laptop.

In my research Iíve narrowed it down to the Toughbook CF series but I also came across the GD8200 laptops. Specs seem to meet my needs. I use the toughbook at my work right now, but I have zero experience with General dynamics.

Seeing these two laptops are in use with military and first responders, what would you choose and why?

MJB 09-30-2019 6:57 AM

Tagged

Dragunov 09-30-2019 8:39 AM

I'd go with the Panasonic. Simply because of the parts availability if you need to replace something. They're much more common.

ibanezfoo 09-30-2019 11:29 AM

Really depends on what you are doing with it. You will be paying a crapton of money for a computer with average specs. We use 2 variations of the latoptops from Trimble, which are really just reboxed Panasonics from what I can tell. Our price on those is about $9000... but that includes GPS, Trimble radios for the robots, etc... Those are definitely rugged. Our guys have dropped them off multi story buildings and they have survived. Dell makes a few different ones. I got to go to their rugged testing lab and throw some laptops off ladders and stuff, as well as see all their testing machines... sand blasters, rain simulators, etc. If you are ever in the Austin area its a worthwhile trip to see if you can check it out. Anyway, Dell has a tablet which is nice and durable, but expensive. They also have a laptop that has a touchscreen that flips around to the front. Its very weird. It is meant specifically for police and fire (the PD helped develop it). It was really expensive and we couldn't find a use for it. Its meant for vehicles. Supposedly works in up to 200deg heat or something.

Anyway, these rugged things are not really "one and done" type machines... they are generally purpose built for cars, construction, or whatever... For standard laptops that are a little more durable we've had good luck with the metal Dell Precisions, the old thick plastic IBMs...actually those are about the only ones that I've seen dropped off cars and stuff that have survived.

Romeo_alpha01 09-30-2019 1:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ibanezfoo (Post 23460754)
Really depends on what you are doing with it. You will be paying a crapton of money for a computer with average specs. We use 2 variations of the latoptops from Trimble, which are really just reboxed Panasonics from what I can tell. Our price on those is about $9000... but that includes GPS, Trimble radios for the robots, etc... Those are definitely rugged. Our guys have dropped them off multi story buildings and they have survived. Dell makes a few different ones. I got to go to their rugged testing lab and throw some laptops off ladders and stuff, as well as see all their testing machines... sand blasters, rain simulators, etc. If you are ever in the Austin area its a worthwhile trip to see if you can check it out. Anyway, Dell has a tablet which is nice and durable, but expensive. They also have a laptop that has a touchscreen that flips around to the front. Its very weird. It is meant specifically for police and fire (the PD helped develop it). It was really expensive and we couldn't find a use for it. Its meant for vehicles. Supposedly works in up to 200deg heat or something.

Anyway, these rugged things are not really "one and done" type machines... they are generally purpose built for cars, construction, or whatever... For standard laptops that are a little more durable we've had good luck with the metal Dell Precisions, the old thick plastic IBMs...actually those are about the only ones that I've seen dropped off cars and stuff that have survived.

Itís simply just a work computer at best, mostly word documents, graphing, data display, internet. Occasionally Iíd like to use it for diagnostic work (which I already do with a Toughbook at work when diagnosing heavy equipment). I donít need it for video editing, and I donít think Iíll really require any GPS features unless Iím convinced I really need that feature. Iíll be using this everywhere, including a shop environment (think cars and reloading bench).

I realize electronics become obsolescent in short order, so if I can get a rigged laptop where I can change out memory and hard drives on the fly, or upgrade the CPU, that would be great. At work I currently use the older CF-30 with the Core Duo. The general dynamics and more expensive newer toughbooks use the i7 which is what I used to have in the surface pro 3.

ibanezfoo 09-30-2019 8:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Romeo_alpha01 (Post 23461132)
Itís simply just a work computer at best, mostly word documents, graphing, data display, internet. Occasionally Iíd like to use it for diagnostic work (which I already do with a Toughbook at work when diagnosing heavy equipment). I donít need it for video editing, and I donít think Iíll really require any GPS features unless Iím convinced I really need that feature. Iíll be using this everywhere, including a shop environment (think cars and reloading bench).

I realize electronics become obsolescent in short order, so if I can get a rigged laptop where I can change out memory and hard drives on the fly, or upgrade the CPU, that would be great. At work I currently use the older CF-30 with the Core Duo. The general dynamics and more expensive newer toughbooks use the i7 which is what I used to have in the surface pro 3.

I havenít seen any ruggedized laptops that are also able to easily swap out parts because they are typically sealed up pretty well for their IP certifications. Laptops in general arenít all that upgradable. You can always swap out the hard drives and swap RAM, but the max RAM is typically fairly limited and the CPUs are almost never swappable without removing the motherboard. For that type of thing you are looking more at the gaming type machines as thereís usually just a single panel to pop off and get at that stuff, or 1 screw that holds the HD in that slides out the side. At any rate, out in the field you almost always see the Panasonicís exclusively, as far as rugged goes. (Or the Trimble which is the same thing). We tested the Dells in house, and they were nice, but just too expensive for what they were. Check out their rugged extreme series. They are pressure sealed. We threw them off ladders and sprayed them with high pressure hoses in the lab. Canít kill them. Well, shooting them kills them, they also test them at the range. Putting ball bearings on the screen and running them over with an f150 does not kill them.

Romeo_alpha01 10-01-2019 11:25 AM

Well after doing more research, I think the CF-31 is going to be my choice. I really cant find much info on the GD8200, and if I choose to upgrade the CF-31, I still have plenty of options.

glassparman 10-01-2019 12:05 PM

GETAC - many in use with the military for field operations

Bigdog68 10-01-2019 12:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ibanezfoo (Post 23462496)
I havenít seen any ruggedized laptops that are also able to easily swap out parts because they are typically sealed up pretty well for their IP certifications...


Yes, you can't open up ruggedized laptops without sending to the factory, and you will probably void the ruggedized certs. These are machines that can be shoved into a dishwasher and still work.

In a shop situation any regular laptop would work. If worried about damaging a machine, just buy the cheapest available. Then if it breaks, it will cost just a few hundred to replace, instead of a multiple thousands. You can always back it up over WiFI, so no data lost.

Romeo_alpha01 10-02-2019 9:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glassparman (Post 23464277)
GETAC - many in use with the military for field operations

After researching the GETAC, that looks really comparable, although it seems I would have to deal with a third party for any sort of warranty work. Panasonic seems more accessible. That V110 and X500 looks like the bees knees.

ibanezfoo 10-03-2019 4:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Romeo_alpha01 (Post 23467036)
After researching the GETAC, that looks really comparable, although it seems I would have to deal with a third party for any sort of warranty work. Panasonic seems more accessible. That V110 and X500 looks like the bees knees.

For $4000 those are garbage specs on that X500... Those are specs of a $500 normal laptop.

ldsnet 10-03-2019 5:04 AM

We have both at work (field environment), of the two, I would get the Toughbook; just for the availability of replacement parts.

I would hate to use one as my regular laptop, large, heavy, poor screens and difficult to connect accessories (the doors and plugs protect the machine, but make connections a real pain. Even plugging in a usb thumbdrive can be a challenge)

ibanezfoo 10-03-2019 7:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ldsnet (Post 23469971)
We have both at work (field environment), of the two, I would get the Toughbook; just for the availability of replacement parts.

I would hate to use one as my regular laptop, large, heavy, poor screens and difficult to connect accessories (the doors and plugs protect the machine, but make connections a real pain. Even plugging in a usb thumbdrive can be a challenge)

Thats actually a good point about the USB. I've had to take some thumb drives out of their cases, leaving only the plug and board so they'd fit in there for our guys to get critical data off of.

shotcaller6 10-05-2019 1:29 PM

Panasonic Toughbook CF-31
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Romeo_alpha01 (Post 23464167)
Well after doing more research, I think the CF-31 is going to be my choice. I really cant find much info on the GD8200, and if I choose to upgrade the CF-31, I still have plenty of options.

The CF-31 is a good choice and contrary to opinions that you can't open them up and work on them, yes you can. I have been inside my CF-19 and CF-31.

Since you are thinking of getting a CF-31 here is a link to the service manual that you can download and check out.

https://elektrotanya.com/panasonic_c.../download.html


I have spare caddy's for mine with Win 7 Pro on one and Linux Mint 19 Tina on the other. I also have a CF-52 that I use for testing with Linux before updating the other machines. The CF-31 is a very stout machine.

Romeo_alpha01 11-19-2019 6:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shotcaller6 (Post 23477855)
The CF-31 is a good choice and contrary to opinions that you can't open them up and work on them, yes you can. I have been inside my CF-19 and CF-31.

Since you are thinking of getting a CF-31 here is a link to the service manual that you can download and check out.

https://elektrotanya.com/panasonic_c.../download.html


I have spare caddy's for mine with Win 7 Pro on one and Linux Mint 19 Tina on the other. I also have a CF-52 that I use for testing with Linux before updating the other machines. The CF-31 is a very stout machine.

Well I finally bit the bullet and bought a CF-31. Look forward to tinkering with it.

I'm exploring the idea of going to Linux once Win 7 is no longer supported in the coming year. I'm sure this is a separate discussion altogether, but how was the transition and what was involved in installing it?

Dragunov 11-19-2019 7:06 AM

Linux (most varieties) is pretty easy to install. I recommend Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop, if you're coming from Windows.

Keep in mind, Linux isn't Windows, and you can't think "Windows" when using it, and it does have a learning curve.


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