Server Trends & RIPs--New Configurations, Network Solutions
Handling those functions in the RIP will make the process even more efficient. When the server and RIP reside on the same system, data transfer can take place over the computer system's internal bus rather than through I/O ports and network links.
What of multiple processors? Are there advantages to having multiple processors on the same platform? "On the face of it, multiple processors on the same system enable parallel processing of multiple jobs, which increases efficiency," Halleran explains.
An even more powerful approach for demanding applications such as CTP and direct-to-press is symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP), which Harlequin has offered since 1992.
SMP allows multiple processors to operate on a single complex rush job, for example, to produce it on time. It also provides the flexibility to separate RIPing into interpretation and rendering. All high-performance platforms now offer multiple processors and a few RIPs provide the ability to take advantage of SMP.
"Many shops are running with multiple RIPs. These RIPs can be on the same platform, but they are typically distributed among different servers driving different output devices," he adds. "An advantage of this approach is that different RIPs can be employed which offer specialized functionality, such as driving a platesetter vs. a color printer or proofer."
For today, what is the outlook for hardware RIPs vs. software RIPs?
"Increasingly powerful computers coupled with the new breed of reconfigurable image processors will make it possible to take full advantage of software RIP flexibility," Halleran speculates. "We will see fewer hardware RIPs being used, except for dedicated applications and low-end functions."
—Marie Ranoia Alonso
RIP Round Table: ROOM to Grow
Whether the term used is Rip Once, Output Many (ROOM) or Rip Once, Plot Many (ROPM) or any variation thereof, the intent is the same, RIP Once—and make it count!