Need a new setup soon


New Member
So, my mac is starting to go on me. My screen is flickering today and it runs my plotter and it's sooooo annoying. :banghead: Luckily i have another mac, but it will probably go also because as it's been sitting in the basement with 2 floods. (I haven't attempted to plug it in yet as it's very heavy to transport back up the stairs lol)

So i'm in the market for a new computer and get out of this stone age setup i'm in.

Any suggestions? I mainly use my laptop for everything and export designs via floppy disc as an ai file to the old mac, edit the colors again (cause they never transfer with the file) and cut. Amazing right??

I don't know what to do.
I don't know what to get.
I don't know where to start to look.

I also want a new plotter as this is getting up in age. I would like a larger one then the 30" i have. Something like 48" I'm thinking.

I had a heck of a time picking out the laptop, and i plan to eventually get a new one of those also. (I see they are much slimmer now)

What are some of the computers you guys/gals are running?
Any suggestions on hard drives, storage things I should look at???



I've been a Mac guy loooong before they were cool. My first Mac was an lcII bought in 1992 that had a screaming 25mhz processor and 16MB (Not GB) of ram. :Big Laugh

Anyway, I used to carry a Macbook Pro back and forth to the office to work at home, etc. This spring I bought a refurb iMac - 27" model, 3.4 quad-core i7 processor and threw 64GB of ram in it. This was the last generation of iMac that still has an optical drive in it - all the new ones do not have optical drives but you can buy one that is USB now. I design with Adobe on the Mac side along with email and surfing, then I use VMWare to run Windows 7 in emulation. I do Quickbooks, MS Office and GraphixCalc Pro on the PC side. For me, 1 computer does it all, and I am very happy with it.

In regards to the printers and cutters, I run a Windows 7 box (quad core) that runs My 1604, 1204 and my Summa D-140. It is not hooked to a network nor internet. All files are taken from the mac and physically put on the PC so very little chance a virus/trojan would get over there.

*If you're looking to upgrade to a nice cutter, I am a former Roland guy who switched to Summa. Can't say I know anything about Graphtecs, I am sure many are happy with them. Stick with any of those 3 and you'll be fine. :smile:


New Member
I do not know what is your budget, but here is what I got.

27" iMac with upgraded RAM to 16 gig. No issues with anything that I have worked on and I do pretty big files sometimes.
As far as the cutter, I just upgraded from Graphtec CE5000-60 24" cutter to Graphtec FC8600-130 54" cutter. OMG, that is the difference.
The new one flies when cutting, I'm just amazed and I can not stop watching it. If you have few more grand to spare, get Summa, but other than that, Graphtec is a way to go.
I got a pretty good deal on Graphtec I think, if you want, I can get you in contact with my sales guy.

Good luck


Active Member
We design on Mac and run equipment with PC's. My iMac is an '08 and still rocks. I would run the whole shop on Mac if the RIP's were native. My system is what works for me and was not done haphazardly. Your results WILL vary.

Mac haters will be along any time now. Buy whatever you want, I ain't payin' for it. Just keep your yap clipped about the choices I make. I have better things to do than debate platform.

For a plotter I like Summa. We have a D610 that we have tried to run into the ground without success. LOL Years ago we'd put in a 50yd roll of material and go to dinner. Used to cut several hundred yards a week. I'm watching for a used Summa 140 or 160 with OPOS. One will eventually surface. I'm in no rush.


New Member
One other thing I have learned with my iMac and Graphtec. New Cutting Master 3 is pretty good. You can run the cutter without extra software, just Illustrator and CM3. Also, if you do not have Adobe, new FC8600 comes with stand alone design software (I did not try it) and it is probably not a full blown version as other sign software.

For a print/cut stuff, I design in Illustrator, add registration marks through CM3 and save a JPG file to print through Onyx on my PC. I drop the file in my Dropbox, but the time I walk to my PC, it is already there. Send the file to print from PC, cut the finished print and put it in the cutter.
Send the cut file from iMac to the cutter and i'm done.


New Member
If you are thinking about switching to PC then I would have to suggest looking at Signburst PC's. As stated above he is a merchant member here. I am running his Inferno and it rocks. I do all design work on it, run a 30" Graphtec, a Gerber Edge FX along with a 15" plotter, and also run Versaworks RIP to my Roland XC-540.


New Member
thanks for the info guys :smile:

Any feedback on these packages also??

Someone here (my dad/owner of shop) whom knows nothing about signs or computers and bought his last 2 dead laptops from Staples and Walmart, is telling me to check out those

I bought my original set-up from SignWarehouse in 1999. Similar to what you see in that link. The computer lasted 10 years even though outdated it still was used to cut decals that long. I am still using that plotter (Vinyl Express GRC-61) and it still works like new. I did buy a Mimaki CJV for printing last year but Signwarehoue really did me well through the years.