Doing some keyword searches in these forums to find advice on a PC or Laptop setup that will run on CrossFire PRO with the Fusion360 software… but all the threads are at least 1-2 years old so the specific details about CPU / Graphics cards / Manufacturer Models are pretty obsolete now.
Are there any new users who just picked up new machine recently that would be willing to share details…? Ideally, it would be great to hear about specific make/models that get the job done right off the vendors shelf. I really don’t want to take on another huge research project and build my own PC here…
The general stuff I’ve read says focus on the processor speeds (NOT the number of cores) and these days 16GB RAM is probably a good minimum… SSD for local storage and a dedicated GPU …
No idea if there is a good “bang for the buck” choice here… but the CrossFire PRO is a stellar machine at a great price point, and I suppose what I’m looking for is the PC equivalent of the sort of cost/performance value that the Languir plasma table offers.
Any recent BTDT stories, links to specific machines or cautionary tales are appreciated.
I would highly recommend getting one with a touch screen. Firecontrol layout is really well thought out and works perfectly with a touch screen.
As for the laptop I bought an average Lenovo from Newegg couple months ago. Don’t remember the specs. Was like $700. Works flawlessly with both 360 and FC.
Thanks for the suggestion!
I’ve watched several videos on YouTube where the operator uses the touchscreen to zero the x/y coordinates and move the torch around quickly to position for a cut. Seems to work well.
If you happen to find a model number on that Lenovo laptop, please post up again. I’ll go looking as well and will post a link if I find something that looks like a match to what you described.
Myself I use a modest gaming style desktop that I bought in the beginning of 2021 which I do the vast majority of my designing on.
And then at the shop I have an old Windows 7 laptop that I put Windows 10 on so I could run Fusion 360 on it and I’m also running fire control. This one permanently affixed to the langmuir.
This this laptop while you can get something done in Fusion 360 ( I did for quite a long time) it is grueling and tedious.
I can gain access to my files on either computer through the cloud. With G-Code I typically email it to myself I find that convenient for finding it later from any computer. With the G-Code I’ll also email the screenshot of what it is and the and they’re cutting information.
And like stated above I can just log out of one instance of fusion 360 and log into another on any computer anywhere and have access to my design files.
To run fire control you can definitely get away with anything that will run Windows 10 practically. Even something that runs Windows 7 with a little bit of updating.
I may be making this more complicated than it needs to be. My “shop” is my home garage, and I could probably do everything with a single machine… perhaps just a reasonably powerful touchscreen laptop connected on a swingarm to the CrossFire PRO… then a wireless USB Keyboard & Mouse and a remote display a few feet away at a more comfortable workbench location to actually sit and design / layout parts.
Ultimately, I just don’t want to be tethered to the plasma table to do design work… but I also don’t want to be constantly plugging/unplugging a laptop from that swingarm either as that would get tedious over time.
I second the touch screen recommendation. I got a Lenovo laptop from my son to use on the Crossfire (I design on my MacBook) and wasn’t sure I’d be using the touchscreen much but it turns out I totally love it.
SSD, 16 GB and a good processor for sure if it’s going to be the machine you design on as well.
I’ve been kicking around buying one of these Lenovo all-in-one touch screens for in the shop but I’ve never pulled the trigger on one. Some of the more powerful versions of this would definitely run Fusion. This is one of their mid-range ones.
I know I said I wasn’t going to make this into a research project, but there were at least a few details that I wanted to understand more clearly.
There is a website called TESREG.com that seemed to have done a decent job collecting benchmarking data from people a couple of years ago… the specs don’t seem to be all that up-to-date but by filtering out the really bad performing systems and focusing on the ones that can do File Open / High FPS / Rendering Speed with reasonably good performance, it is possible to see common hardware that might give clues about what sorts of features to look for in a new machine.
The biggest challenge thus far seems to be that the touchscreen laptops don’t seem to have the best hardware for Fusion360 (specifically the GPUs are low-end, mostly integrated style not discrete)…
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX (3000 series) appears to be a good GPU to try to find. Prices vary dramatically as you move up their product roadmap ($399 to $1999) within that series and there are laptop-specific versions that can be found on most gaming laptops out there… at the enrty level, an AMD Ryzen7 CPU, 16" display and RTX 3060 is priced around $1100. Not terrible, but most gaming systems are NOT touchscreen style. So if you want to run the plasma table from a touchscreen, these are not a good option either… though they would be great for actual design work.
An interesting option currently is building a typical desktop gaming system with your preferred CPU (Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen7) and pairing it with the RTX 3060 GPU. These are available for around $1100 also… but then pairing it with a standalone touchscreen display like this 24" one from DELL for $399.
DELL 24" Standalone Touchscreen
This allows the convenience of a plasma table touchscreen that people really seem to like, with a more traditional PC which should be cheaper than an equivalent high-powered laptop.
Just a few more ideas to consider as the research continues…
Another great site just discovered…
Browse comparative CPU benchmarks, GPU benchmarks, etc.
Down the rabbit hole we go…
I built my desktop PC two years ago and it’s a benchmark crusher that can run Fusion, but my 9 year old laptop hangs up on generating toolpaths so I just process toolpaths on my desktop at home and throw the .nc on a thumbdrive and plug it into the laptop on the table. FireControl is awsome and you can probably run it on an Atari 400. I too am looking for a laptop that can generate toolpaths since I do a lot of my Fusion work outside the house. I can do the designs on my laptop I just can’t generate toolpaths.
Now you are speaking my language!! I spent my H.S. years programming my Atari400 for hours, but eventually got tired of the membrane keyboard and upgraded to the 800XL (with a real keyboard) when I left for college…
Nice I wish I had my old Atari and my old commodore 64 still. I do have a complete functioning tandy 2000. I also have a fairly respectable Nintendo 64 collection.
Somewhere around here I’ve still got my orignal Timex/Sinclair computer… in it’s original box. Back then you’d buy it for $99 and solder it together yourself. 1KB of RAM if I recall correctly, and the whole thing (including the membrane keyboard) was only about 8" x8" square.
Got a couple of old Vectrex gaming consoles, my Atari 800XL and an original Atari2600 with those original (and awful) plastic joysticks that never seemed to work right.
I might consider waiting a couple weeks to buy a computer as well. There’s a good chance that when etherium switches from proof of work to proof of stake the GPU pricing will crash.
We had a 400, 800 and 2600 at different times in the early-mid 80’s. Did basic programs on the 400 when code looked like “then go to line 4”…lol
I’ll hold off for a while, I can still design on my old laptop it’s just generating toolpaths that it can’t handle. I remember the Commodore 64, and Colecovision.
All my old programs started with this line in BASIC code:
Always have to start with a clean screen.
Fusion 360 doesn’t require a GPU. Design is CPU bound and it’s single threaded. Only time it needs GPU is if you render. I would look for something with is higher CPU speed with lower cores.