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What hardware do I need to make a 300dpi 2000mm x 1200mm illustrator files rich with 2 x layers of jpeg artwork and 1 x layer of vector?

I suspect the final files for printing will be in excess 1GB but will wait and see (printer has requested orginal ai files). Our current machines are not up to the job so we need something new very soon. Any advice about hardware and also about making the files would be very welcome!

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Are you absolutely certain you need 300ppi for a file that size? Most large format images are not 300ppi. –  Scott May 16 '13 at 22:51
    
1GB? That seems excessively large for even that large dimension of an image. That said, are you sure you need them at that dpi? –  DA01 May 17 '13 at 4:52
    
also, if you're not manipulating the JPGs in illustrator, you should be able to just place low-res previews in AI while you are working and then have them swap in the high res at prepress. –  DA01 May 17 '13 at 4:54
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Pick up anything with a modern processor and a whole lotta RAM. A fast disk (SSD or 7200RPM+) will go a long way too.

You don't specify platform or budget but the Mac Pro tower comes to mind. Now available with a 12-core processor and up to 64GB(!!!) of RAM. That would do it.

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Illustrator isn't multi-core aware. 12 cores mean nothing to Illustrator. –  Scott May 17 '13 at 0:08
    
Is that still true with the CC version? In any case, it will certainly benefit from the blazing fast bus speed and copious RAM. –  plainclothes May 17 '13 at 0:52
    
Yup, still true. RAM does help though. –  Scott May 17 '13 at 1:06
    
I'd also add that if platform doesn't matter, you're on a tighter budget, and you have the technical know-how then building your own computer is usually more price efficient. –  Johannes May 17 '13 at 14:54
    
Cheaper only if you have lots of free time. Consider that you might spend an extra $1000-1500 to get one that's ready to go (it's been a while since I ran the numbers). You have to calculate that against the projects you're setting aside. The numbers never work out for me. But every time I see a screaming fast Hackintosh, I start to wonder again :) –  plainclothes May 17 '13 at 16:16
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