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Thread: How much power for larger prints?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Denver Colorado USA
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    How much power for larger prints?

    My Macbook blew its harddrive a few days ago, and I am trying to repair it myself. It begs the question, if getting a new machine--(mostly in hopes of having enough power to do paintings in Artrage that would print out at 300 dpi at at least 8.5 x 11)- how much power is needed for the computer to handle it and not bog down during painting? I suspect it would be quite a lot of power required. Any help?
    No doubt I would need to switch to PC to be able to afford such a thing.
    Last edited by Rob in Denver; 03-12-2010 at 05:51 AM.
    "If I could only learn to be humble, I would be so proud." Author Unknown.

  2. #2
    I recently upgraded my PC to take full advantage of artrage, as well as other graphic programs.

    My box,
    amd phenom 2 x4 3.2ghz
    8 gig of ram ddr3
    radeon 4770 512mb ddr5

    thats the stuff that matters. On that pc I can paint a 26x38 at 250 dpi, I cant go 300 because it demands more memory than artrage takes advantge of. And depending on what I am using, watercolor, oil etc, and the brosh size, and how far zoomed out I am there is not much lag. If i zoom in there is no lag.

    However I also have a laptop that I use,
    Toshiba a505-s6969

    core2duo 2.1
    4 gig ram
    1gig ddr3 4650 radeon(the reason I got the laptop)

    On that I can run the same size painting, 26x38 at 250dpi with a little more lag than my desktop. It is still manageable, especially if zoomed in. All in all im am still experimenting with print sizes and resolutions.

    Both boxes run win 7 x64

    I would suggest ditching the mac, but thats me. I personally think they are overrated.

    On a side not the laptop I purchased from newegg in august on sale for $700. And the upgrade i did just cost me $460, but I also didnt upgrade the HD or dvd drives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Rob, I'm not the expert, but here seems to be the thing: RAM of course is the big deal. If you are going to switch to a PC - get one with both a 64 bit processor and 64 bit Windows 7. The 64 bit capability allows you to install 8 or more gigabytes of ram. 32 bits limits your use to 3GB RAM regardless of how much RAM you install. Go to Circuitcity.com and check out the dozens of machines that it seems they are almost giving away to get an idea of specs and prices. Now seems a good time to buy to get an incredible machine for small bucks.

    Someone else here more computer knowledgeable might help by chiming in on this 64 vs. 32 bit difference (some pros and cons). From what I've been able to figure out, however, I think that will be my next purchase for the sole purpose of dealing with ArtRage's resource-heavy requirements.

    Of course, you have to figure in your software costs, but most new Windows 7 machines will have a lot of the basics to get you up and running including lots of deals on most of the basic stuff. But the machines themselves, the prices are near amazing.
    // "Appreciation fosters well-being. Be well." - Byron
    //
    My ArtRage Paintings Here
    // My Comprehensive AR4 & 3 Thread Here
    64 bit Win8Pro, 16GB Ram, Intel i7 Quad Core - 8 threads; Wacom Intuios 4

  4. #4
    If your going to buy a packaged system, i.e. dell, hp gateway... I would recommend gateway. They are reasonable on their mid-high systems. However if your going to build ASUS components all the way, if you have the money.

    newegg.com thats the place to go.

    Youd be safe getting a gamer system as they will sport the better graphics card, more memory faster hard drive etc.

    AMD all the way, intel is overpriced.

    Go to newegg and look at the ibuypower systems. DIY is going to be the cheapest/best quality component route though. However the prebuilt already come with windows, which is a decent chunk of money in comparison to how much it costs to build the system.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob in Denver View Post
    No doubt I would need to switch to PC to be able to afford such a thing.
    First of all "Welcome to the Darkside"

    Couple of things to keep in mind:-
    Currently Artrage is a single-threaded application which means that it can only use a single core
    Also it is a 32-bit application which means that it can only use a maximum of 3.7gigs of RAM
    For files the size you wish to work on you will need a fast large harddrive with a low seek time to act as swap disk (virtual memory)

    Realistically when working with files that size you will still get a slowdown on some tools, remember artrage calculates lighting/texture/vectors for each layer.
    If you're working for canvas/watercolour paper output (giclee) you don't need more than 200dpi and keeping your layers to a minimum will also help reduce lag.
    Hope this helps
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  6. #6
    I recommend you switch to something with an i7 processor (Intel's new line). They are FAST. Currently there are no i7 Macs, but I'm sure that will change down the road if Apple gets their A's into G soon and stops harping on about the iPad.

    For an OS, going with 64-bit is not going to hurt you when running a 32-bit app, but it will leave you open in the future if the Rage Dudes release a 64-bit version. I STRONGLY recommend Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate - it is EXTREMELY NICE.

    Working at 300 dpi is redundant unless you work for a high-end photography magazine or publisher. The vast majority of output systems have an indistinguishable difference between 300 and 180 dpi, and if you're going to commercial print the standard is usually 180dpi. Unless you're using pure spot output, 300dpi is overkill, and it's sucking up your RAM for nothing. Most commercial media (papers) below the highest of the high end will bleed out at about 180dpi anyway. Talk to your printer dude to determine if you are going a bit overboard on the res. If you're using a laser or inkjet printer (even a good one), forget about anything finer than 200dpi.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Tiffin, OH USA
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    You don't specify what you mean by "larger prints". I routinely work at AR sizes between 1200x1800 pixels and 1600x2400 pixels and am comfortable printing them at the pixel size divided by 100 in inches. The settings for DPI in AR only come into play if you plan on printing directly from AR. I export from AR as PNG (as AR doesn't as yet handle exporting in JPG well) and then use third party software to convert to high quality JPG as that is what most commercial printing companies want you to send them. Ths also gives better quality home printer prints.

    RAM is of course a major consideration when working "in the moment" and trying to reduce AR lag time as is processor speed, virtual memory size, and hard drive speed. Certain AR tools require more computations to be performed before the stroke finishes and the larger the canvas and the tool size the more lag you will experience.

    If you're looking to work at canvas sizes of 2000x3000 pixels I'm not sure there is a processor speed and RAM size combination available that will eliminate lag times.

    I've gotten used to the fact that a Windows based machine is periodically going to have to be recovered. I've never seen that as a good reason to spend the inflated price for a MAC. Instead I've used a small portion of that price difference to invest in an external hard drive to back up all of my important files.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSWade View Post
    I export from AR as PNG (as AR doesn't as yet handle exporting in JPG well) and then use third party software to convert to high quality JPG as that is what most commercial printing companies want you to send them. Ths also gives better quality home printer prints.
    If you're using ArtRage Studio or Studio Pro, you can set the JPG export quality in Edit -> ArtRage Settings -> Export. You can select a quality percentage which will then become the default for all JPG exports.
    Dave
    Resident Bug-Hunter
    Ambient Design

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver Colorado USA
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    Thanks all for the valued input! I will consider it all, and having a low tech mentality, it may take a while!! First things first--rehab the Macbook, then
    consider something more potent.
    "If I could only learn to be humble, I would be so proud." Author Unknown.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSWade View Post
    If you're looking to work at canvas sizes of 2000x3000 pixels I'm not sure there is a processor speed and RAM size combination available that will eliminate lag times.
    Well... there IS, it would just be hideously expensive. You'd need a really fast processor set, like dual quad-core Xeons or dual i7 Extremes, a really fast front side bus (I think the Extreme can handle 2066Mhz), high quality RAM (like the new Kingston 2066 kits), and a blazing fast storage medium to use as your swap space (say, a 256GB SSD drive ought to do it - solid state storage). You wouldn't need more than 8 GB or RAM, and you'd have to fine-tune processor affinity so that Artrage and Artrage alone used an entire single core to itself.

    The solid state storage (SSD) would be necessary to make the swap as fast as possible - they're much faster than standard SATA II hard drives.

    You would probably also need some significant cooling.

    However, such a machine would probably run upwards of $7,000 (a 256GB SSD is $1000, i7 Extremes are $1500/ea, etc.), which is a bit much just to run Artrage ($80).

    A great place to research what hardware is capable of is http://tomshardware.com. They provide real-world price/performance specs as products are released, with comparisons to similar products.

    Now I'm drooling a bit, mind you... that would be a nice workstation.

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