What Hardware? (Was: ...dtp software for windoze)

Subject: What Hardware? (Was: ...dtp software for windoze)
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 14:28:35 +0800

Wondering what hardware to buy to run your DTP software under Windows?
In the thread "Recomendations for dtp software for windoze", Dick Dimock
(red -at- ELSEGUNDOCA -dot- ATTGIS -dot- COM) plumped for Frame and went on to say:

"Be darn sure to install lotsa memory - 8 is ok, and I use
Frame on my 4 Meg notebook, but I think 16 would be far better."

I'm about to upgrade my home PC to run Frame. I asked Dick:

"A 17" monitor is a must, but I can't afford to go deluxe with _both_
the processor and memory. Can you advise me where's the best place to
invest that last couple of hundred dollars - chip or RAM?"

With Dick's OK I've posted this summary (slightly edited) of his reply:

> ...I'm gonna back down a bit.

> I feel that I made my "Lotsa Memory" recommendation more out of
> Technical Correctness and Gut Feel than concrete evidence.

> For example, I ran Frame 4 on my 386 notebook with 4 Meg, and it
> worked JUST FINE! I was handling both text and graphics. Sure, it
> took a long time to scroll past a figure. But that was the only
> real inconvenience. I have the same slowness with WORD6.

> I have a 486/30 w 8 meg at home, and I also worked the same project,
> Frame4, on it. And it was NOT difficult. I have no painful memories. A
> somewhat faster graphics scroll.

> You ask the upgrade $$ question exactly the right way. WHere do I
> get the most for my money?

> My overall view of how I work is that I spend my time in the following
> activities, listed in order of magnitude:

> 1. Rummaging for data, totally off machine
> 2. Thinking about how to organize/write, off machine
> 3. Staring at the screen while thinking about how to organize/write
> something that is NOT on the screen
> 4. Wrassling format and printed appearance
> 5. Staring at screen while thinking how to write topic ON the screen
> 6. Looking at keyboard while actually WRITING. :)

> Considering the amount of time I use the screen, compared to how much I
> use the CPU and memory and disk, I vote for the $ going to screen.

> In fact, I DID do that myself when I bought my 486 system. I chose a
> bigger, sharper monitor over additional memory. And I am very happy with
> the result, over the 4 years I've used it. And I do a LOT of work at home.

> Another thing to consider is eyestrain. Lose them baby blues and you have
> problems of larger magnitude.

> OK, now. CHIP or RAM, you asks.

> Where you need the memory is in wrassling format back and forth, front
> and back, preview view, normal view. It is nice to have the whole doc
> in memory. BUT IT IS NOT ESSENTIAL!!

> Where you need the CPU speed is in the graphics - not so much in creating,
> as in scrolling past. CPU speed is totally wasted while typing, while
> staring at screen. But when you put that file in motion on your screen,
> the faster the clock speed, the faster it scrolls. Searches are also CPU
> dependent, but they are relatively rare.

> ... I suggest this approach

> 1. Hold your horses. Get the Software that will be needed. It is BEST to
> use the same Frame version at home as at work, but NOT necessary.
> The .mif file format will transport between different versions and
> platforms. Possibly get your company/client to pay?

> DO NOT, EVER, EVER PIRATE your production software.** You produce
> far more efficiently with a squeaky-clean conscience. FACT learned
> over years, given for free.

> 2. Load onto your existing home machine. It will work. Loosen up the HD
> as much as you can. See how it goes.

> 3. For the formatting heavy work, sneaker the diskettes back to work
> and run them on the Solaris machine. My Office machine is a SUN.
> Files come across perfectly, NO, repeat NO problems. (Frame 3 at
> home, Frame 4 on SUN.) Frame is good.

> 4. When you do see how much work you are doing at home, then get the
> monitor. Get a good one with 0.28 (?) or better resolution. Dunno
> where they are at now on res. Also get a well shielded one, both
> Xray AND ELF/Magnetic radiation. I have an ELF field strength
> meter I use when evaluating monitors. Swedish standards are best.

> 5. If you are NOT satisfied with the home operation and still feel
> spendy, go for the BEST, BLAZINGEST CPU you can afford, with 8
> meg. I say this because you will then have the basis for running
> newer, hungrier SW as it comes out in the next few years. Get
> plenty of card slots to accomodate fast modems and ports for home
> office. Get the largest power supply that will fit.

> ALSO PLENTY OF FANS!! Use two. That will keep it all running
> for decades.

> I am making do with my 200 Meg HD. More would be nice, but I find
> I can offload old apps I won't be using. No packratting allowed
> with a small disk. You might want more than that.

> 6. THEN, if you need to, as money permits, you can figure out the
> RAM vs HD requirements and upgrade.

> When I bought my 486, it was specifically for a new moonlight job using
> Ventura. The only upgrade I made to the beastie has been a fast I/O
> card for fast modems. I long ago conquered my lust for latest and
> greatest, biggest and fastest. Writing is slow work. Graphics folk need
> the goodies. Me, I'm a technical content developer.

> You asked. My forthright opinions. Fooey on that "Humble Opinion" stuff!

After Dick's advice my final configuration will probably be:

486 DX2/66, 8 MB RAM
17" Mag monitor 1024x768 at 60 MHz
320 MB hard disk

I can pick all this up either second-hand or through swaps. If I have to
I'll save up for another 8 Meg of memory.


Stuart Burnfield

** The thought never crossed my mind. In fact we got two Sun licences for
work and one Windogs licence for me to use at home.

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