I agree with you that time is money, but I don't totally agree with you that
ATI is the problem here since I also get application crashes when I try to
print. But it only affects PCB printing. Schematic printing works fine. I get a
PCBPrint.dll error that effectively hangs the Protel 99SE SP6 application. I
must use the task manager to kill it and restart the program. Admittedly, I do
have networked HP printers that may be part of the problem, but I don't think
it's the graphics vendor's problem.

Think about it: Protel doesn't print properly when the host machine has an ATI
card or it tries to talk to an HP printer. Do you think HP and ATI have
something against Altium? I doubt it. More likely, something in the Protel
application is circumventing standard OS interface calls, for whatever reason,
causing some device vendor's interfaces to break. That's not the vendor's
fault, it Atiums. Besides, every other program I have has no troubles using my
printer configuration, so I say the conclusion must be that Protel is flawed.

Unfortunately and ultimately, it's my problem. I installed P99SE on my laptop,
which, BTW, has an ATI graphics card, and it functions properly. On my Dell
with an NVIDIA card, it crashes. Same printers, same printer drivers, same OS.
One works, one doesn't. I really don't have time to figure out what's wrong
with Protel right now, so I'm stuck doing my development on a laptop until I
get past my time crunch.

Altium needs to figure out what the problem is and stop having their customers
debug their printer/video problems.

My two cents,

Bryn Wolfe

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:

> What stands out like a sore thumb in this thread is three letters:
> As has been mentioned, many of us have found problems using ATI graphics
> cards. In one case, quite some time ago, I tracked down a particular
> failure and found that ATI was aware of the problem and had no plans to fix
> it. Their suggestion was to get your software to adapt itself to ATI
> requirements....
> These problems seem to go away with Matrox cards. I'm now running a Matrox
> G450 dual head display, no apparent problems. I would never voluntarily go
> back to a single monitor, I'm running two 21 inch monitors with an
> effective desktop of 3200x1200. Since on of my 21 inch monitors, a Mag
> Innovision DJ920, has a focus problem, and my new monitor, a Dell Trinitron
> 1600HS, arrived with a crack case, I just bought two more monitors at
> auction on ubid.com, intending to sell the Mag and return the Dell.
> In the new auctions, I paid $171 for another Dell 1600HS, and $119 for a
> refurbished Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 91 TXM, the latter having, reportedly, a
> scratched screen.
> I would not want to spend much time fiddling with an ATI card. I have a
> couple of them gathering dust on the shelves. If you are short on cash and
> long on time, sure, by all means, see what you can get to work. You might
> learn something.
> But if you are being paid by the hour -- either as an employee, contractor,
> or independent designer -- know that what is known to be reliable can be
> bought for not much more than the value of an hour's time (at U.S. designer
> rates), and since one might, at the same time, move to a huge desktop for,
> again, not more than the value of a few hours time, upgrading the video
> system makes a great deal of sense.
> Some of our friends in low-rent districts, such as Russia, etc., might see
> a different system, but I suspect that it would still make economic sense,
> even there, to abandon the single-monitor desktop. Russian design seems to
> sell to the U.S. for about $10 [US] per hour (at least that is what I have
> been offered); if a designer's efficiency is improved 10% by having twice
> as much space in which to work, that would be, at 20 hours per week, $1200
> per year. I'm sure that better equipment would be justified!
> The same arguments apply to computer equipment in general. The latest and
> greatest sells for a premium which may not be worth it, but one step behind
> can be well worth buying, I just put together an Athlon 1600 system,
> loaded, for about $1000 exclusive of monitor. Yet we still hear of
> designers forced to work with old technology: penny-wise, pound-foolish.
> People are expensive, computers are cheap.
> Abdulrahman Lomax
> Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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