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Thread: Affordable new build for running production printer?

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    Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Currently the network is 3 Macs (Old g4-400 with MacOS 9.1, 24inch intel dual core iMac, a 21inch i5 quad core and a Dual core intel Dell running XP-Pro). The Dell currently handles all our email for the business, runs command workstation for 2 digital presses (1 xerox, 1 canon), prints to our Canon wideformat, handles lots of PDF and graphics files that come through email for digital printing. I must say the Dell has worked hard for us in the last 4 years - but it really started to show the strain when we added the RIP for the new Wideformat.

    Its a solvent based printer which requires a standalone pc to be kept near the printer. The printer only has a USB 2.0 connection, which surprised me considering the cost. Hence, I want to keep costs down but have a little grunt for keeping multiple files open. The RIP software is optimised to run with a quad core - so an i5 is a preference, but I wouldn't rule out an i3 if anyone with a similar graphics workhorse requirement had found that successful. I have a really old Aopen server case - so no need for a case. Everything else is needed - A monitor (Biggish) Motherboard, RAM, DVD Reader/writer, PSU, Hard Drive and operating system - Windows 7 Home or Pro? Can I happily run home premium in a business environment with any problems?

    I wouldn't normally ask for advice regarding builds, but the last one was a rush job (for my home games pc) I didn't do my research properly and I chose the wrong motherboard (h67) - now I have a i5 2500k with loads of overclocking potential, but the motherboard is not overclockable (to any significant degree).

    Here's what i have so far:


    8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 XMS3, PC3-10600 (1333)
    Asus P8Z77-V LX, Intel Z77
    Intel Core i5 3570K,1155
    These are a deal from scan for £263.99

    500W ScanFX PSU All Black with 120mm Quiet Fan ATX 12V V2.0 - £11.68 - too cheap probably

    24" IIyama Prolite X2472HD-B1 LED £129.59 - also cheap, but happy enough with an IIyama

    2TB Seagate ST2000DM001 Barracuda 7200.14 SATA 3 6GB/s 7200rpm 64MB Cache 8ms OEM NCQ - - £68.39 amazing price for hard drives these days

    Samsung WriteMaster SH-S222BB/BEBE 22x DVD £11.68 - cheap but probably ok

    Windows 7 Home Premium - £72.84

    MS Comfort Curve keyboard/mouse - £21.34

    Think that's the lot - is anything overkill or inadequate?

    Total - £590.80 with VAT and Carriage, might be adjusted with the hexus discount
    Wise old man won't you help me please? My house is a squash and a squeeze.

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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    What sort of budget are you looking?? What CPU did your Dell have?? When you say optmised for quad cores,does it scale upto 8 threads??

    So,this workstation basically receives large image files,which you open and then send to the presses,right??

    I wonder if you are hitting a RAM limitation with your current rig though?? Moreover,have you considered upgrading your current system with a quad core if possible??

    When you say quad core,it could even mean an old Core2 quad for example?? For example a Phenom II X4 965BE is around £69 and is faster than my Core i3 2100 in most multi-threaded workloads:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-p...he-125w-retail

    It is around Q9650 level in performance,or around 10% slower than a Core i5 750 IIRC.

    Then there is the Phenom II X6 1045T:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-p...che-95w-retail

    In multi-threaded benchmarks that is around Core i7 920 level.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    The current Dell is being pushed too hard, dozens of Apps and files are opened within 30 minutes of work starting, all the while it is keeping an eye on emails and monitoring and controlling 2 xEFI Fiery rips stuck on the back of digital presses - it needs to be safely retired before a major problem occurs. I can't remember the exact model name of the Dell, but it has something like a Intel Dual Core 2750 or something like that. The Solvent printer is to be kept away from the Graphics area because of fumes and I have the USB 2.0 rather than Ethernet issue - so the new build must be close to a large printer, occasionally running all day long, sending ripped files. Most files will be from Illustrator or Adobe Acrobat.
    I'm quite happy to spend upto £550 excl VAT (we are VAT registered) but would be delighted to cut £100 off that. The multithreaded aspect of the RIP - I don't know about that. But I read recently that the JAWS 3.0 PS rip code had been optimised for 4 cores and this is used within many Software RIPS used by wideformat manufacturers.

    Confused? I am.
    Last edited by RoganJosh; 06-10-2012 at 11:29 AM. Reason: omitted to mention
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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    That would be an E6750 I suspect. I went from a system with a 3GHZ Core2 duo to a 3GHZ Q6600 Core2 quad and the improvement in multi-tasking was noticeable. How much RAM do you have?? You might be using all your RAM and hence system performance collapses.

    An SSD would also be useful,as it really does help with the general smoothness of a system. OTH,you will need to be careful with SSDs,as you would need something very reliable. I would probably think of adding a commercial grade one at a later date.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Thank you for your interest - yes I think it is an E6750. The RAM is limited, only 2gb - it is XP Pro, isn't this limited to a certain amount of RAM? Are you proposing that I keep the Dell, just load it up with Windows 7 on an SSD and cram some more RAM in? This might work, but it'll be less beneficial to the economy in general. The guy who installed the printer suggested using one of the macs to monitor the PC using VNC on parallels - this sounds somewhat complicated.
    Last edited by RoganJosh; 06-10-2012 at 11:52 AM. Reason: typo
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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoganJosh View Post
    Thank you for your interest - yes I think it is an E6750. The RAM is limited, only 2gb - it is XP Pro, isn't this limited to a certain amount of RAM? Are you proposing that I keep the Dell, just load it up with Windows 7 on an SSD and cram some more RAM in? This might work, but it'll be less beneficial to the economy in general. The guy who installed the printer suggested using one of the macs to monitor the PC using VNC on parallels - this is sounds somewhat complicated.
    The 32 bit version is limited to only 4GB total RAM including the graphics card. What graphics card do you have?? Ideally you would change over to a quad core and 4GB to 8GB of RAM,but most of the Core2 quad are not available new anymore. 2GB of RAM is limited though.

    I can come up with a list of parts - you won't be able to get workstation level parts,but better quality consumer parts for the price. Out of interest have you considered using dual monitors?? That would help you manage the workflow better,if you have the space!!

    Edit!!

    What is the case??

    A big case might mean you will need a PSU with longer cables or extension cables.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 06-10-2012 at 12:06 PM.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Good call on the cables - I had trouble in the past.
    The Aopen case is an HQ08 bought from ebuyer with my first ever build with an Athlon 1.2ghz -1200 something? - Must have been a while back....? 2000 or 2001.
    Wise old man won't you help me please? My house is a squash and a squeeze.

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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Here is a picture of the case:

    http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/4021/server9zi.jpg

    Does the case you a standard PSU??

    The following build uses parts from Scan.



    The build might be a bit OTT,but it has enough RAM,so you should not have issues even with large files. The Xeon E3 1230 V2 is basically a lower clocked Core i7 3770 without an IGP.

    You might need extension cables,but the PSU appear relatively close to the motherboard so might be OK.

    I have not included an OS,as I would check whether the extra £30 or so for Windows 7 Professional Edition is worth it for you.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Thank you Cat-The-Fifth.
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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    No motherboard in the spec - sorry!!

    This one would do the job:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-...a%29-dvi-d-atx

    OTH,it now pushes the build out of budget with the Windows 7 license!!

    Maybe drop down to 8GB of DDR3 RAM for now:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%...s-9-9-9-24-15v

    That should keep you roughly in budget.

    You can then add another 8GB and a reliable SSD at a later date.

    Edit!!

    Its is £550 excluding VAT,so looks like you are fine!!
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 06-10-2012 at 03:33 PM.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    I made some slight modifications,to the components list to,ahem,include a motherboard!!



    The first one includes a motherboard!!



    The second one drops 8GB of RAM for a small SSD,which helps system responsiveness. However,being 64GB don't store files on it,ie, have documents folders on the HDD. Even though the Samsung 830 and Crucial M4 are among the most reliable consumer SSDs,there is always the potential for issues. Since this is a mission critical rig,I am not too sure about an SSD ATM.

    I also looked at possible dropping the price of the rig down to under £450 too.



    The third computer includes a Phenom II X6 1045T. For well under £100,this would be a good CPU for general multi-tasking. There is also the Phenom II X4 965BE quad core which is actually faster per core:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-p...he-125w-retail

    This is cheaper,and the cores are faster than the Phenom II X6 1055T,so your RIP software will probably run faster. OTH,the Phenom II X6 1045T consumes less power and is probably better for multi-tasking. You could also probably manually assign tasks to each core too.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    For a computer with those tasks in mind I'd definitely bump up the ram as high as possible, no need to buy enthusiast ram (xms3 or vengeance or similar) surely for the needs of the build.

    All of those builds have a bit of wiggle room left at 550 exc vat the xeon one looks pretty great for a workstation
    Last edited by holy god of nil; 06-10-2012 at 06:57 PM.

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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    1600MHZ DDR3 seems to be the ideal memory speed for IB and is the same price as 1333MHZ DDR3. Also,XMS3 is the cheapest 1.5V 1600MHZ DDR3 Scan sells. The cheapest 8GB 1600MHZ kit is the 1.65V XMS3 one, and the IB memory controller really is not rated for more than 1.58V for long periods AFAIK. The builds don't include Windows 7 so for the more expensive ones,the OP will hit the £550 limit. I would also stay with Windows 7,and not use the Windows 8 offer, as it has been around long enough to work without any issues with the custom software required.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Here's where I'm at:



    Carriage has gone free... Random

    Added a nice case - I remembered how poor the airflow was in my old Aopen case. Also remembered an old Radeon 1900xt PCI Express card lurking at the back of a cupboard.
    Last edited by RoganJosh; 06-10-2012 at 07:21 PM. Reason: addition
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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoganJosh View Post
    Here's where I'm at:



    Carriage has gone free... Random
    You have over 20 posts so postage is free for you. A few things - you need to consider that this is a mission-critical build. The last thing you want to doing is using a crappy £10 PSU!!

    That Seasonic is very solid as is more than powerful enough for the computer and so is this 400W Antec:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/400w-...an-atx-v23-psu

    You are not overclocking or having a high end card. If you really feel that 360W or 400W is not enough for you get this:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/525w-...uard-safeguard

    Either way the three PSUs are solid designs.

    Go with 1600MHZ DDR3 as it is cheaper:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%...-9-9-9-24-165v

    Also,regarding the case get this:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/therm...5-sata-w-o-psu

    It has pre-installed dust filters and decent cooling too. This case has easier to access HDD bays though:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/silve...usb-30-w-o-psu

    Also,the monitor I listed uses an IPS panel(meaning deep blacks and good viewing angles) and has a decent anti-glare coating. Here is a review:

    http://www.trustedreviews.com/viewso...Monitor_review

    You will also require a graphics card for the build as AM3+ CPUs lack an IGP. The HD6450 I suggested should be fine.

    However,do remember the Xeon E3 1230 V2 is a faster CPU overall.


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    Re: Affordable new build for running production printer?

    You could still go for an upgrade with the ram and quad core if you don't mind eBay or the hexus classifieds.

    You could at least drop them in with minimal fuss and you would get more thinking time. Just be sure what motherboard you have and what it can take. You don't want to end up finding you have a socket 771 and buy suit 5 quad

    You could always use your home PC motherboard as a base and get your self a better board.

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