I’m still recovering from a computer crash about 10 days ago, the printer I used as a rip station to run my Roland BN-20 crashed. It is (was) a Gateway DX4860 that I purchased before I purchased my printer and was informed that this machine with an intel i3 processor and windows 7 could handle the printer just fine. While that was true, I discovered quickly that I couldn’t do anything else with the computer while a job was printing. It was so frustrating to have the computer freeze and require a reboot in the middle of printing on a wide format print job. Not only is it a waste of vinyl and ink, but because the BN-20 is one of the slowest wide format prints it is a HUGE waste of time.
I made lots of adjustments to optimize the computer, I can’t remember exactly what I did, but at the time it seemed like a lot. I basically did everything that I could that didn’t cost too much. As a start-up I had to use as many resources that I had on hand, until I actually started making some money. I still had problems with it freezing with some of the simplest of operations while I was printing, so I had to just let it be while printing. My son had an Aspire mini tower that was his first major purchase many years earlier, it was just collecting dust in his room. It runs on Vista and has a noisy graphics card, but it would still connect to the internet and had an open usb to run the BN-20. Wiped the hard drive and reinstalled only the essential operating system and drivers, installed VerseWorks and connected the BN-20. It worked like a charm and I was able to use the Gateway for design work while the printed whirred along.
Fast forward about a year and a half and I decided the business was successful enough to do some computer upgrades. Just what should I do? Since the Gateway didn’t have any problems running the BN-20 I decided to invest in a Lenovo with an i7 processor, something I could use for design work on the go. It is a great machine and the gateway was chugging along.
My business was getting busier and more profitable. I had an issue with the printer that shut me down for almost two weeks. The technician noted that it looked like my monitor was going out, there were some strange pixels and an occasional lines. The monitor, like the Aspire computer, was retrieved from one of my kids, it was buried under layers of dust and behind a pile of junk on his deck. One day while trying to print, the monitor went black. I rebooted the Gateway and the monitor came back on and got everything running just to black out again, after pressing every button on the monitor with no results except the pull up the monitors menu. I rebooted again, this time the monitor came on for a few seconds, then one more time and nothing. The gateway had an upgraded graphics card with VGA and DVI ports, so I thought that card had gone out so I plugged into the primary VGA port and nothing, I connected to an external USB graphics card and nothing. I went back to the graphics card and connected to the VGA port and nothing. Tried all four options with a different monitor…still nothing.
I had fortunately installed VersaWorks on the Lenovo laptop, because I was trying to use it to run my newly acquire CammPro cutter. I connected it to the BN-20 and couldn’t get it to print. I ran every upgrade I thought would get it going. The computer and printer were connected, but VersaWorks wouldn’t print…and of course it was Saturday. Monday started with an ‘earlish’ call to Roland in California to figure out if they could help me get the printer going again. It was going to require a 710 ‘meg’ download. I don’t live in a city, I’m actually about 5 miles down a dead-end country road, so our internet options are limited, and to top it off we were having severe weather, so that would mean the possibility of the connection dropping was even higher. After a couple of hours and two attempts I packed up and headed into my husband’s office to borrow their wireless internet. Finally, downloaded and upgraded and it seemed to be ready to print. Headed home and it took a couple of calls to Roland service and was finally up and running. [Note: make sure you’re connected to a USB 3.0, not a 2.0 or an always on connection]
I don’t want to keep printing on the laptop, so I picked up a new desk top. Computer upgrades happen so fast that I decided to do a pretty big upgrade so I won’t be doing another hardware upgrade for a couple of years. I love shopping were the salespeople actually use and know the equipment so I shop at Fry’s Electronics when I can. Thanks to their staff for asking the right questions and providing several options and suggestions with pro and cons about each machine. I ended up with an ASUS with an i7 processor and 32 gig of RAM. It is an amazing computer, I haven’t been this impressed with a computer in a long time. Don’t get me wrong the Lenovo is a great and fast machine, but I was so overwhelmed by switching to windows 8 and didn’t notice the speed.
The old retrieved monitor has never looked better and I pulled the hard drive from the Gateway and it is heading to my local donation center. Now I’ve decided to rearrange the office to maximize the use of the laptop and the new desktop with the printer and the cutter from one desk. Wish me luck making that transition, it will be a little like a Rubik’s Cube rearranging this office.
Thanks for visiting my blog and website. Have a great day.