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Need specs on computer shopping...

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Signsforwhile, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Signsforwhile

    Signsforwhile Very Active Member

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    I'm shopping for a new design station because we've been getting bigger and bigger files that are just tasking our system now. I just want to confirm that what I'm looking for is indeed what I think is going to be somewhat bullet proof

    A processor 3ghz or faster, probably an i7
    16 gigs of ram
    SSD hard drive

    Anything else I should be looking for specifically?

    Oh, and it will be windows 7
     
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  2. ironchef

    ironchef Very Active Member

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    Look at signburst pc's
     
  3. Signsforwhile

    Signsforwhile Very Active Member

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    seems like the signbursts are are going to cost more than what I can build on my own.

    also forgot to as originally, am i going to see a huge jump in workability from 4 core to 6 core processors?
     
  4. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    Just like signs cost more when you a hire pro versus DIY.....
     
  5. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    You can use Tom's hardware's performance charts to pick your components. I also read the articles there and at Anandtech for informed buying and then go to Newegg and Amazon for reviews and to look for the best price.

    I like Asus mobo's and their UEFI mouse enabled bios and overclocking tools. I don't overclock work computers but having the option at the end of its life can extend the usability.

    Don't forget about cooling solutions on the chip and in the case. Heat related issues can be hard to track down in a custom build and keeping things cool will extend the life of your components.

    I'll also include an internal front mounted USB/card reader for convenience.
     
  6. Locals Find!

    Locals Find! Very Active Member

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    Go with a SignBurst PC and sleep well knowing you got the best machine you can get for your business.

    You can build your own, you may even have the knowledge to do that.

    However, your not going to get the same quality and reliability as you get with someone who is designing a machine to withstand anything this industry can throw at it for the foreseeable future. So, you either spend a bit more now and get the right tool for the job or, you spend later replacing the inferior product you built for yourself. Me I always opt to spend more upfront knowing I am "bullet proof" for quite a while.
     
  7. idsignsil

    idsignsil Member

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    We just got our second Signburst Inferno from Casey on Friday. They are great computers, well worth the cost.
     
  8. SignBurst PCs

    SignBurst PCs Very Active Member

    First, thanks guys for all of the kind words. I really appreciate your business and referrals.

    Secondly, I would be more than happy to help out if I can. Feel free to give me a buzz anytime and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.
     
  9. danno

    danno Member

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    Signburst or nothing in our shop. Yes, I can build ours also, but Casey is AWESOME!!! All the PC's in our shop have come from Signburst. I wouldn't even think about building one. :thumb:
     
  10. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    been around computers probably a lot longer then most of you. got my start on them in 1972, YES 1972!!!!! air force had this monster(IBM 1050-2) that took up 2 regular rooms, had to be climate controlled because of the heat it created, had a wopping 640 K OF MEMORY)))) instead of floppy discs, or or jump drives, it has 2 ISA DRUMS!!! bout 6-8 foot long, and to change them it took an overhead crane. all info was put into this via keypunch cards that someone had to write, then send to keypunch then put into the keypunch card sorter. such a technological marvel that was.
    then i got my 1st PC 386DX40, 4 megs a ram.....hada friend of mine who was computer programmer..........gave me a tidbit of advice which i seemed to have used since then. YOURE COMPUTER ...........only needs to be as fast as your slowest peripheral. so iam sorta lost with need for faster....cause you aint gona get anymore done until the printer gets faster.............
     
  11. Ditchmiester

    Ditchmiester Active Member

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    I just upgraded our design machines to Nvidia Quadro K2000 graphics cards and have seen a drastic improvement in speed of handling large files. Would definitely recommend them.
     
  12. CreatedDesigns

    CreatedDesigns Member

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    Not to knock Signburst but all they do is buy the components to build the same comp you can build yourself and you still get the same warranty from the manufacturers of each of the individual components. I have been building my own systems since 1996 I use the same train of thought that Jester provided above. As long as you understand the parts and how it all works together you will have no problems building your own. That being said if you do not understand the components fully let Signburst do it for you. As there are millions of combinations to build a comp. Sadly some of the high end components of yesterday are not very high end today and the only way to know what parts are good and bad is to buy them and test them for yourself, I am sure Signburst has tested many configurations of Mobos, CPU's and RAM to make a killer system and get it to you in a timely manor. Maybe for a small consulting fee Signburst can tell you what components to use for your budget. You might find out that a system from them might not be so much more than if you did it yourself.
     
  13. k_graham

    k_graham Member

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    Because of that issue with peripherals - I just put together a RIP for Caldera running Linux (or Onyx) but also purchased Windows 8 to see what it would do as a Workstation. Overall I am quite happy with the unit, though I have yet to receive Onyx - they sent Poster shop instead of the APPE Adbe RIP version.

    The idea goes this way -

    1.)with large amounts of RAM there is an increased likelihood of a memory error which will bring the system down - Using ECC RAM provides a parity check giving the memory a 2nd chance to save itself. I went with it.

    2.)ECC memory requires a motherboard and processor to support it - I saw too many issues with Asus so went with the SuperMicro, I would have liked to go with a Gigabyte motherboard with backup ROM but could not find one meeting the ECC RAM requirement.

    Issues arising from the SuperMicro motherboard - the dual network cards were to new for the default Caldera Color RIP, rather than compiling for them I took the lazy way out and put in a Intel Gigabit PCI card I had already. On the plus side the integrated networks cards are apparently 10 Gigabit capable if you happen to own a 2000.00 network switch which will probably be 298.00 in a years time.

    Xeon Haswell 3.5 ghz processor seems to claim something like 3.7 ghz starting up. Mine included built in Video. Windows 8 processor performance was 8.1 but only something like 5.1 for integrated Video, which may still be fast enough for static images. Upgraded to 8.1 and it shows 8.3 Processor experience but had to go online to figure out how to get the info as they deleted the program from Menu.

    Issue arising from integrated video - Under Caldera Linux it only displayed at 1280x1024 . To match my monitor 1980 x ? . I added in a older NVIDIA card that cost less than $100.00 a year or 2 back and ended up with higher score (around 6) but mainly the ability to run the 27" monitor at full resolution and a 2nd if I choose. NOTE - you should be able to run 2 monitors with the integrated video under Windows, but if you want performance the motherboard should allow 2 high performace Video cards supporting up to 4 monitors. And if the videocards break you can use the integrated one to run up to 2 monitors in Windows.

    Powersupply - was purchased oversize to run high performance Video Card if needed.

    Case - is great but way over size, as I use a SME Linux Server so really only need 1 SSD in the system. I think I will like the air filters but sure would like a smaller case.

    RAM 2 x 8GIG strips (1 seems to be all that is needed with Caldera RIP) Will allow up to 32 GIGs . I went with the in stock Kingston against better judgement as I have had issues in past and the fine print of their lifetime warranties wants a bill of sale which a few years later can be rather a issue. Will be throwing a copy of all invoices into a packing slip and attaching to computer in case of warranty in next 3 years.

    Computer is solid so far - no glitches, I used separate drives for the RIP and Windows Install - I did have it refuse to clone backup with opensource program redobackup 1.04 but it may have been a faulty CD as it backed up fine with redobackup 1.03 cd.

    Windows 8 pro vs Windows 7 is no biggie just go to Ninite .com and add classic start menu as well as the other must have accessories in 1 auto install. I did not appreciate NewEggs Windows disk, the serial number is like 25 digits long and I could not read it on the colored background with a magnifying glass, I had to get out my trusty 10x printers loupe, also I found Microsoft does not support Windows OEM purchased through Newegg better might be to buy direct from Microsoft so they will talk to you when you call them - in my case it was because initially I read another number as the serial number. Other possible benefits of Windows 8 - 3D printer driver, maybe a touch screen?

    Monitor 27" LED but last monitor a 28" LCD was just that much larger - will be looking to other vendors for a 28" LED if one exists - this seems to be the sweet point in monitors before they suddenly triple in price to the next size larger.

    Items purchased follows.


    16 Gigs ECC error correcting RAM 1600 speed in 2 modules of 8 Gigs so it can go as high as 32 , hope for Crucial brand as I have had a few Kingston items fail , but I see its dropped off my order in progress as out of stock.

    Intel Intel Xeon E3-1275V3 Haswell 3.5GHz LGA 1150 95W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80646E31275V3 Item #: N82E16819116908
    This processor has onboard Graphics Card which should save buying a Graphics card as the Mac Mini uses no graphics card from the looks of the specs.

    SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SAE-O ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1150 Intel C226 DDR3 1600 Item #: N82E16813182831 as it is capable of using the error correcting RAM and the Xeon revision 3 processor base (1150) drawback is only 1 year warranty but could not find a server motherboard in other brand that had 1150 base and feature set I desired. Features dual LAN connections as well.

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case Item #: N82E16811129042 , has air filters - will be a nice change, I hate what computers look like inside after a year, have to keep a sticker on them for when last cleaned, like an oil change for a car. Went at last minute instead with 1 x Rosewill R5 Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Case, comes with 2 x front fans, Fan Controller, USB2.0 & USB3.0 front ports, filters because of mention it supported 2.5" drives, turns out the 3.5" caddies are all drilled to take the 2.5" drives as well -great for SSD's


    CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850M 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Semi Modular High Performance ... Item #: N82E16817139029 (not listed as a server motherboard, hope that is not a cable issue, is 5 year warranted, is large for these low power components but would allow me to add a potent Graphics card if onboard isn't powerful enough.

    SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD256BW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Item #: N82E16820147193, minimum recommended size by Caldera but lots for a workstation as we use a separate server. I have a spare 1 terabyte Western Digital black - year warranted drive here so would try both ways to see if any benefit from having a SSD other than startup, I know its the way to go for running several programs.

    Windows 8 Professional - to test Onyx and eventually use in the Graphics Workstation I intend to build as hopefully will be going with Caldera 64 bit .

    27" monitor Viewsonic- to keep track of queues, and display. One drawback discussed with Caldera being no monitor calibration utility in Linux, but can calibrate on a nearby PC adjusting hardware then plug into Caldera computer. This is one instance of Mac having monitor calibration software .


    Enjoy

    Ken
     
  14. k_graham

    k_graham Member

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    Alternatively, the Mac Pro's coming out in December look like they would be an interesting platform, dual booted to Windows. Ken
     
  15. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    We have been running dell XPScomps for a few years now and they are a little pricey but run great. All comps run the same chinese taiwan parts in them so dont fall for the expensive comps in pretty cases with LED lighting and all that jazz

    the XPS runs the quad core intel and its quiet and quick. Right now we are running XPS 8300 and in 2 years or so may upgrade to the next generation.
     
  16. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I wouldn't use Win 8 Pro as a desktop OS without having touchscreen. I have it on my Cintiq tablet and it runs great. I actually like it better in some respects then Win 7 (which would have been tough for me to say a few months ago), but there are things that make no sense to have to do unless you have a touchscreen monitor. I'm also not exactly a fan on how you have to shut down the tiles, if you use the tiles from the start screen. That could have easily been handled better.

    Now, for a need of a start menu. None what so ever (at least for me) unless you use it without a touchscreen monitor. That would help significantly. If you aren't going to get monitors that have touch capability, then I would stick with Win 7.

    Corsair makes much better cases then Antec now. Antec really hasn't had much in the way of design changes. Sometimes it's even the simply things. Handles to move the case are a whole lot sturdier with the Corsair. Easier access to the components for cleaning or upgrading etc. I've used both, unless Antec makes some changes, I won't be going back to them. Not that I've had problems with them, but it's just the simple design changes that once you have, it's kinda hard to go back to them (rather they are or are not much of a necessity).


    Don't forget Thailand as well. Remember that big supply issue back in 2011 due to flooding and how SSDs were a little more appealing in price?

    However, there is a considerable difference in quality among computers. But I will say this, you can do good bargain hunting and get solid parts and come out way ahead of your more expensive computers and with better components. So in some instances, the priciest isn't necessarily the best.
     
  17. Milo

    Milo Member

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    One of the best custom configuration sites is xicomputer.com They are made for the 3d / CAD industry and understand the design industry. By far not the cheapest, but will give you available options.

    Good Luck,

    Milo
     
  18. k_graham

    k_graham Member

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    Do me a favour and go to ninite .com and install the free Classic start screen and any of the 90+ programs be it free, shareware or commercial available in a 1 click install, you can always remove the Classic Start screen - then tell me if that doesn't resolve your issue with Windows 8 on a regular computer. The initial issues I had with Windows 8 was its desire to use my Hotmail address as my log in. It really did not want me using a local login which is how my network is set up, but it did allow it. Also the security feature to quick boot makes it more difficult to boot to the CMOS of the computer - one must do a complete shutdown to manage it. Anyway the issue with not buying 8 is you pay the same price for 7 but lock yourself out of the possibility of touch screen and whatever comes that is limitied to 8 in future.


    Good I made that last minute switch to Rosewill R5 Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Case, looking back on it I see it was the USB3 top port as well, and though I complained the case was so large I remember now I went with a case that could handle large Video Cards. Its toolless design is nice as well. The only thing I can say against it is the filter area at top of case means someone could spill liquid in, it would be nice to find a filtered case with a sealed top - any recommendations?

    One could go to the 3.5 ghz Xeon Haswell without integrated video and save 15 watts power but would need to change motherboards to a ECC RAM capable board with I think socket 1270 instead of 1275 but verify specs before ordering - don't take my word for it.
    Ken
     
  19. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Not from what I'm seeing. The issues that I have has to do with the swipe. Unless you can specifically point out a program on that site that removes the need to swipe (to me doesn't fell natural/intuitive on using a mouse to do that motion). Or anything that else to where it's geared more to touching the using a mouse. However, the only Win 8 machine that I have is on my Cintiq tablet and I have no need to add anything to that, I'm fully satisfied with Win 8 on that device as is.


    We had touchscreen work just fine with a Vista computer and if it was working back then, it will work with 7, maybe even better as Vista had it's on quirks early on. Now other things might be limited to Win 8 that's for sure, but that's the nature of the beast.
     
  20. SignBurst PCs

    SignBurst PCs Very Active Member

    There is a lot of good, honest, and relevant information here. I do see several mentions of cost and value and I would just like to add that when you buy one of our computers, the actual computer purchase is often just the beginning of the relationship. Honestly, you become part of our “family”. Our customers call with all kinds of issues and we almost always try to assist in every way possible (i.e. network troubleshooting, software questions and troubleshooting, work-flow recommendations, storage and backup considerations, and much more). I really enjoy helping my customers. I appreciate their business and will do whatever I can (within reason) to assist when they need it.


    How much is that worth to you? That is a question that only you can answer. We save our customers countless hours of frustration and billable service hours by helping when they would otherwise have to pay a computer consulting/service company. We don't promise to completely replace your computer support company, but we just might. Many of our customers haven't had to call a computer support company since buying their first SignBurst.


    We are familiar with the software that our customers use and can not only make system recommendations based on their software requirements, but can often avoid potential problems ahead of time. We assist our customers in setting up their software to take advantage of the speed in our computers. If they ever need help setting up their computer and/or software, we are happy to help.


    We don't claim to know everything about all of the industry-specific software out there. There is a lot of software out there and there are just some things that only the software companies can fix. In some instances though, we have direct lines of communication to software companies and can get you help when their tech support lines don't answer or put you on hold for extended periods of time. We have friends in the industry and will leverage those relationships to help our customers if we can.


    While we build very stable and reliable computers, they are still computers and can have issues. We try and avoid as many of those issues as we can by building with high-quality components (Yes, there many levels of quality in computer components. They are not all the same.) and educating our customers on a few “best practices”, but our customers do occasionally run into problems. Regardless of when they bought their computer from us, we try our best to help. I can think of one recent example of a customer with a 4 year old SignBurst Inferno that had a failing hard drive. While, technically, they were out of our warranty, I was able to walk them through replacing the drive, restoring a backup image from the night before, and they were back operational in a couple hours. This was possible because they had followed our instructions when they received their computer and called us because they didn't feel comfortable setting up their own backup. We logged in remotely and setup their backup for them. In addition, I walked them though getting their failing hard drive replaced through the manufacturer as it had a 5yr warranty. Now they have a spare.


    I guess that what I am trying to explain is that there is value to buying a SignBurst beyond the initial cost. We see it as a partnership with our customers and want to help them succeed. We don't have all the answers and solutions, but we try to go above and beyond to help our customers if we possibly can. It is hard to explain the level of commitment that we have to our customers, but hopefully our customers understand.

    On the other side of the coin, there are those customers who buy a SignBurst and we don't hear from them except for when it is time to buy a 2nd computer from us. That means that their experience was uneventful and after all, isn't that really what we are looking for?
     
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