Coming to the dark side

I am about a 15 year die hard macaholic and I think I am ready to throw in the towel on trying to do astroimaging on a mac, or a raspberry pi, and just use windows.

I am running zwo camera/focuser/filter wheel and an ioptron cem60-ec , and I just need a reliable imaging software that can do a automated meridian flip and run a nexdome.

I am hopeful SGpro can do this, but I need a recommendation on a nuc mini pc to run everything.

wondering if maybe Jared, or anyone could recommend which one of the nuc would be ideal ?
I already have a windows 10 pro license. mainly which processor and ram do I really need ?

thanks :grinning:

Out of my experience, I got a Beelink U57 Windows 10 4K-Mini-PC, 8 GB DDR3L 256 GB SSD Intel Core i5-5257U Mini-Desktop-Computer with Dual-HDMI, Gigabit-Ethernet

I connect to it through Team Viewer and had no issues at all. SGP, MaximDL, Skycharts and a bunch of other stuff running simultaneously, never had issues, although it lags a bit if everything is running at the same time.

Couldn’t be more happier with it.


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Yes, SGP can do all that, and you don’t need much to run it. I typically overbuy…but the NUC I have on my pier is an i5, 16gb ram and a 256gb HD (if anything I would have gone with a larger drive). i3 would work fine too. I personally wouldn’t go to a Atom or Pentium based PC…but people do use those.

Minimum system I would recommend:
8gb ram
120gb SSD HD (larger definitely better here as it will limit the amount you can store) SSD to reduce vibrations and give you a speed boost with an i3.

Depending on your climate there are also some fanless PCs out there as well that will help reduce vibrations if it will be running on the mount.


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I have an Intel NUC, I3, 8 Gb Ram, 128 Gb SSD, with 4 USB 3.0 plus 1 USB-C 3.0 and I have added a special cocer (Amazon) with 2 aditional USB 2.0 (not a HUB but connected directly to the mainboard), and I run 2 scopes in parallel, therefore 2 cameras, 2 focusers, 1 autoguiding and 1 mount via wifi using remote desktop and/or Teamviewer with excellent resaults. It has a slot for a 64 Gb micro SD card that is where I save the captured images (no delay vs rhe internal SSD) so I can transfer data easily by bringing the memory card to mi indoor PC.

It works fine but may be, and only when I am running Pixinsight on that NUC while taking pictures, maybe then I would prefer an I5. Running PI?, yes, just to check Lights while capturing them.

Not using a troublemaker Hub.



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Another one using NUC. One is about three years old and the other is a bit younger. Both are dual core I5 with USB3. Use high speed memory stick for saving images. One connects to an industrial USB3 hub and the other to a USB2.
I run both from my macs or iPad running Microsoft Remote Desktop.
You just need to manage Win10 updates and restarts so it does not clobber the PC or interrupt proceedings


It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it? To some of us, you are actually LEAVING the dark side. Welcome!! My NUC is way over rated for the task at hand as at one time (to save bandwidth), I actually preprocessed images on it so I would only need upload masters. It is a NUC6i7KYK with 16GB RAM and a 480GB SSD. It hums away at my remote observatory and has never been an issue (knock on wood). As for Windows, make certain that you have at least Windows 10 PRO (no HOME) and I have two configuration suggestions…

  1. Make sure you learn how to disable power savings on USB ports.
  2. Using the command “gpedit,” make certain that you disable Automatic Windows Updates. The procedure in the link below has worked well for me. YMMV, of course.

Best of luck!


If the following link doesn’t work, just Google the following keywords …

how to stop automatic updates on windows 10,launch%20the%20Group%20Policy%20Editor.&text=Double-click%20the%20Configure%20Automatic%20Updates%20policy%20on%20the%20right%20side.&text=Check%20the%20Disabled%20option%20to%20turn%20off%20the%20policy.


OK, I will chime in by saying that I do not see any advantage to using a NUC unless you are putting it on the scope. The reason is mainly that they can be pretty limited if you ever want to upgrade them or use them for some other purpose. I would go with building your own PC - it is WAY easier than most folks think and you get about 2-3 times the performance for the same money. If you want small, there are plenty of Mini-ITX boards and cases out there. Not as small as a NUC but not very big either. I just built a 9th generation i5 for my wife with a ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I motherboard and it is super.

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Regrading the windows restarting during an imaging session - for some time now, Windows (Home version at least) let’s you define the active hours you typically use the device and won’t restart during those times. Since that feature was added, I’ve not had any unexpected restarts during a session.

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I have a 6 yr old I3-3401 NUC w/ 8gb ram and 128gb SSD that works very well running SGP and PHD2. It never gets very stressed even doing 2s exposures for flats (which ends up being a lot a data writing.) I also installed a wifi card so that I connect to it wirelessly from the house. The NUC is mounted on my telescope and I use Windows remote desktop to connect to it. I either write the frames to the hrddrive and transfer them to my laptop later, or plug in a portable harddrive and write directly to that, which I can then just unplug at the end of the night and take inside. The wifi is sometimes flakey, but the NUC itself has always worked great. I agree though with the person who said if you’re not mounting the NUC on your telescope, you’d get a lot better bang-for-the-buck building your own. Also, the case for my NUC is stupidly heavy; I’ve thought about 3D printing a plastic one (once I get access to the library’s 3D printer again, that is.)

Well Yes and No. In my case I wanted a small computer that had low power consumption and a bonus if it ran off 12 V, giving me the option of taking it out on field trips. In the observatory, it sits in a plastic lunchbox with a USB3 SSD and a bag of rice. It sits there quite happily, without getting damp or too hot. I have built computers in the past but at the time, this Intel box fitted the requirements and I didn’t have to purchase an unnecessary Windows license. I went a bit too far on another rig and used an M3 computing stick. The size of a Twix bar, it did the job - but I had to be careful not to overload it with multitasking. Its WiFi was weak, however, and I had to rig up secondary WiFi access points to work it remotely, which defeated the point somewhat.

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well I settled on a nuc with the 10th generation I5, 16G of ram and a 1tb evo plus ssd. I will keep it in it’s own sockitbox, to keep it out of the dew.

I will use a Pegasus Astro ppb advance and pegasus USB Control Hub, that will sit outside the box on the ioptron tri-pier. all of this will sit inside a nexdome, if it will ever ship.

thanks for the suggestions.