Every year, as it nears the holidays especially, we get requests for information about what computer to purchase, or if there are any benefits to any specific processor, RAM, graphics card, etc.
It’s confusing, right? What to get?
It doesn’t have to be confusing, at least for embroidery, with Embrilliance.
We’re sorry, but if you want to justify getting that new gaming computer or high-end Mac, you can blame us, but it isn’t accurate. You don’t need high-end for Embrilliance. However, along with that sexy new computer, you might want to treat yourself with StitchArtist or some of our other fun products!
Embrilliance can be a pleasant surprise, if you’ve used something else.
We started with the clear and definite knowledge that sewing room computers were the leftovers from the Yahoo-connected or even pre-internet era. Many, today in 2021, still do not even have internet connectivity. And 20 years on, XP systems are still widely in use. Our software had to target these computers.
We know other software companies do not understand this. Ask around and you’ll find folks clicking the icon for their program, then going to make dinner or fill up a load of laundry while the application starts. That isn’t our way.
Multitasking while waiting for the program to load??
Get Embrilliance and it opens right up!
(Side note, we will be discontinuing XP support by 2022, simply because we cannot write software for today’s computers while still using tools for the ancient. Microsoft and the community at large have forced it. We can no longer even sign the code for XP-SP2, only SP3. Sorry, but there are junkyard deals on Win 7 systems, if you don’t want to get caught up.)
The Embrilliance Platform and Thumbnailer are written using current tools from Microsoft and Apple, but the code is written with an old-school mindset, taking care not to use up memory or hog CPU time. Our startup times are very short, and the processing does not require any specific hardware other than the computer type.
- Use a Windows PC with an Intel or compatible processor. Microsoft does now make Windows computers that are not Intel-compatible, and they’re less expensive. Don’t fall for it.
- Use any Mac from the last five years or so.
- Do not use a Chromebook.
- An iPad is NOT a Mac. You would be amazed how often people make that mistake.
If you wonder about memory, we have rarely seen the use of memory exceed 200Mb. Considering your computer needs far more than that to turn on, it does not matter how much memory you have on your system. The benefit of more memory is that your computer can run multiple programs at the same time. If your system has some number of Gb (Gigabytes) then you have vastly more than you’ll ever need for embroidery.
Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind…
The same is true of ‘cores’. Cores means your computer can run something in each core, all at the same time. We use one. Your OS uses another. Today, you rarely find a computer with less than four, so it’s not relevant , as far as our software is concerned.
Graphics? The built-in graphics of any of the above PCs is plenty. We do not have a use for a separate graphics card. On an old Windows XP computer from the 2000 era, we can display a 100,000-stitch design and rotate, in 3D, literally as fast as you can use your mouse. Embroidery does not do animation, rendering, fog effects and any of the Hollywood CGI required to make a movie. So we have no need for a high-speed graphics card.
We use similar techniques to Hollywood, but don’t need them as high-res or in real-time.
The only issue of late with graphics is due to a bug at Apple. If your monitor seems slow, switch the Mac monitor profile to RGB. They have these ‘warm’ looks to monitors, but the downside is they slowed their system performance noticeably. Apple knows about this, but they seem not to care, as it mostly affects apps not made by Apple.
For speed when digitizing, use a reasonably-sized graphic. You do NOT need anything over around 2k pixels on the widest edge and probably considerably less. Don’t load some 4K HD thing and expect to digitize over it. #1: That’s too much detail for embroidery. #2: You’ll be scaling it anyway, so why hog your system with it. Your density is about 4pt when embroidering, and that translates to 63.5 stitches per inch. So use an image around 100 DPI. A 4″-8″ (100mm – 200mm) design needs only 400 – 800 pixels for you to digitize it. Because we like prettier images, go ahead and maybe double it. You’re still nowhere near needing anything HD.
It doesn’t need to be THIS big!
Disk space? Because our users still download with AOL accounts, we keep our program and data size small. It’s a choice. Windows can run in 100Mb, but they choose to run one or two Gb just because it is easier for them to have separate divisions work on code pieces. Each one has its own accoutrements and that causes bloat. Other embroidery software companies do not own code within their own programs, purchasing vector-software components, etc. These are large and cause bloat. We don’t do that. We code it all ourselves.
The Embriliance Platform downloads in megabytes, not gigabytes. In fact the current Platform installer has BOTH 32-bit and 64-bit versions, Font and shape collections, plus the full Help system included in the single download and it’s still under 30Mb. And it’s only around 40Mb once fully installed, depending on OS version. So again, if your computer can even turn on, it has far, far more than it needs.
Want a Yottabyte of designs? You could never have enough time to even look at them all!
If you have tens of thousands of BX-installed fonts, we do suggest using a SSD drive, though, as it’ll get your startup time for the Platform down under a second.
The other computer issue we hear about often is OneDrive. Cloud storage is cool, but you need to know what you have. Don’t call us, or worse, blame us, because you don’t know what you’re doing. Cloud is great for availability on multiple computers, and of course, files are backed up in the cloud. BUT, and listen to this, if you want to see or use the file, it has to be synced to the computer you’re on. You cannot leave it in the cloud and magically expect a thumbnail to appear. You cannot run your Platform and use the fonts that are in the cloud. Just turn on the file synchronization and leave it there. If you don’t know what that means, please get some help or read the instructions for your cloud product.
Sync problems are common.
Embroidery files consume virtually no storage space. You can have all your files on each computer. Really. They’re not big enough to notice.
We hope this information helps you select the computer that’s best for you: Whether it’s a high-end gaming system with colorful lighting or a MacMini, your Embrilliance products will be able to work for you.
-Brian and the team.
3 thoughts on “Computer Requirements”
Thank you, very well written. My laptop processor is not Intel, but AMD and is great. I also use Google Drive for cloud storage, and works a real treat syncing between by desktop computer and my laptop. I love Embrilliance and recommend it always.
“Use any Mac from the last five years or so.”
My mac is a mid-2011 model – i.e. ten years old – and runs Embrillance SA2 with Essentials and Enthusiast with no problems.
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