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plotter advice

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I'm being asked to indicate a plotter to buy, to used with Vectorworks, on a Mac ethernet network mixed Os 9 and X. I was thinking about the hp500. Does the PostScript versioni is worth the price?

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Simply, put you can't go wrong with HP Plotters. Mac uses both the HP native & the GIMP Open Source drivers which means hat you can make different configurations with different abilities for PDF Files.

Pure Postscript beats Hp Emulation everytime ... but 95% of CAD plotter output actually doesn't require PS. Postscript excels at images & overlays, kerning & positioning.

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I have used the HP500 w/ VW and Mac OS X. There are native Mac OS X drivers for it from HP, as well as native support from 10.4. I'm unsure about the OS 9 side. Dont' waste the money on the PS version. It will provide excellent output, both B&W and color, without it. Jusy make sure to get the internal print server card and as much RAM as you can afford.

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We are going through the decision making process of which plotter to buy. I have spent a lot of time reviewing past comments on the board, and seem to have narrowed it down to three potential candidates: the Epson 7800, the HP 130, and the HP 500. All seem to have positive feedback from users. Any opinioins to contrary are appreciated.

I have a question regarding the internal print server card referenced by Jeffrey above. I saw that as an option for the 130, but I only saw jet direct boxes for the 500 on HP's website. Does this box "HP Jetdirect 300x OfficeConnect Print Server (J4101B)" do the same thing as the internal print server? We have a mac network, and I saw several people seem to have trouble with network cards for both epson and hp? We can use an older machine as a printer server. If we do that, do we even need a jet direct or print server card. As always, thanks for everyone's help with these matters.

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Eric,

We use an older G4 as the print server (it simply has Share Printer checked in the setup, nothing special) for our Epson 7600 (previously) and 9800 (current) printers. Have had zero problems so far as print queue, etc. are concerned. Occasionally have had mixups re paper size and ink out (stops printing untill someone notices and replaces a cartridge), since the big printers are in another room.

Good luck,

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I have a question in addition. On my HP 455CA, it will continue printing even though it is out of ink. It can, (and has), spit out a whole stack of blank paper because of no ink.

How do the new Epson and HP printers handle an out of ink condition?

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Travis,

Thanks for the prompt reply. I really like the looks of the Epson am glad to hear that they work so well for you. Part of our debate will inevitably come down to the cost difference between the Epson and the HP 130. One other concern was the cost of the extended warrenty for the Epson vs HP. The 130 has a 3 year replacement warrenty for $250. The Epson was $725 for two years of parts and service. I've never had much trouble with any of my Epson printers, and wonder how worthwhile other people have found the extended warrenties for any ofthe plotters.

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Kevin,

The Epsons simply stop printing and wait patiently for someone to replace the cartridge. It then continues without wasting any paper. The driver doesn't, however, send notice across the network that the printer is out of ink. . .so we all try to just listen or check on it occasionally to make sure everything's running as expected.

Eric,

I think I'm probably allergic to extended warranties, so view my comments accordingly. Seems like each one I've purchased has been a complete waste of money. I'd be more inclined to do a little research into the local Epson service center's turn-around time and qualified techs. We're fortunate to have a very good one here locally. A year or so ago, our 7600 was out of sorts: took one new ink pump, a nozzle and a general cleaning to get it back in shape. We hauled it to their facility (because they could get their inhouse tech on it one day quicker than the mobile guy) and had it back in two days. Cost $460. It's the only repair work we've had in more than three years and a couple miles of paper.

Good luck,

[ 01-09-2006, 06:44 PM: Message edited by: Travis ]

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Eric,

My HP455CA is around 7 years old. It has never needed work except for a new drive belt. I replaced the belt myself.

Travis,

That would be a huge improvement for me. I would love to be able to send a large print job to the printer and walk away.

Thanks for the info.

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We have the HP 500 with the HPGL card connected to an old G4 running OS9 as a print server via USB.

When we had a network of entirley OS9 machines we had to purchace Microspot RIP software (Graphicpak) for it to work.

Then when we had a mixed OSX and OS9 network we needed to purchase the upgrade to the microspot product (Xrip) which send the print file from the OS X machines to the OS9 print server and then to the plotter.

I'm sure there's a better way of doing it, but this works so we're reluctant to waste a few days time experimenting..

Hope this was of some help.

Regards

Barry

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Thanks to everyone for thte insight and advice. I'll definitely look into the status of our local Epson dealer. We're in Atlanta, so I'm sure there has got to be someone close. Thanks again for the thoughts on the warrenties as well.

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we switched from a hp 650c on os9 to osx and a hp 500ps the setup was a nightmare ! no suitable driver from hp only free project (gimp print and bml) could help out o get the maschine running. far away from beeing reliable so we switched to a dedicated print server and usb - so far so good - but not really satisfying.

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We bought and installed a non-postscript Designjet 500 with an Ethernet card about 3 months ago and despite what HP's website said, the 500 without postscript is supported by HP for use with OS X 10.4; and HP provides drivers. No need for gimp, Ghost Script or setting up a print server. Installed and worked since day one, first time. The printer is on our network and has become invisible technology; we say print and it does.

Three disadvantages so far: 1) Unlike HP's Windows counterpart, their OS X driver does not allow plot rotation, so we are constantly wasting paper. 2) Light gray fills print with a v. slight red cast. 3) Not HP's fault, but VW 11 show diagonal line weight problems on this printer as well.

The latest OS X drivers (3.1 - Nov 9, 2005) are available on HPs website. You can download the drivers onto your laptop, bounce along to your local dealer and try plotting from VW before buying.

When we bought our 500, HP also threw in free paper & ink and offered a 30-day money back trial.

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