THEORETICAL STUDY PROJECT
The use of computers is widely gaining popularity because of its ability to make complex tasks achievable in the most effective and efficient manner. An architect firm can utilize several computer hardware and software for their day to day running of activities. There have recently been the development of many computer applications; top among them is the computer Aided design and Drawing (CADD) which aid the architects to create architectural designs and drawings, simulations, 3D modeling and production of blue prints (William 1993).
Since there are several applications of computers in an architectural firm, the basic requirement will be the common hardware and software to be used for book keeping, record keeping and database management; these devices will include input devices, that is, key-board, mouse and, to some extent, bar-code readers, output devices, for example monitors, speakers, printers, central processing devices, like CPU, secondary storage devices, for example, external drives, and optical disks. In addition to these the firm will need the specialized hardware and software that is specific to the operations of an architect firm (American institute of Architects 2011).
The firm will need coloured printers to produce output in hard copy and for printing of office documents (William 1993). A fast and high quality printer is ideal for purposes of quality reports and documents and for output of computer Aided Design and Drawing images. The firm may opt for several printers, two to four, depending on the workload or one or two high speed printers that can be shared among the users. Two or three HP or Epson laser printers would serve the stated functions. Both printers are high speed, three-in-one that is, printer scanner and a copier which is an advantage in case of additional job requirements. Each of the printers would cost 100-200$. Since architectural work is much of mathematical which entail the use of figures a dot matrix or a daisy wheel printer would be suitable for production text and figures. A sharp printer (AR20D) a three in one fast and can be shared in a network could be used in a networked environment the cost of the printer is $500.
For production of graphical outputs of their designs and drawings the firm would need a plotter. A plotter is mainly a printer that is designed to print vector graphics. An Hp plotter is ideal for production of CADD designs. The HP Design Jet T1100 plotter is extremely fast with a speed of as fast as 35 seconds for a D-size or A1-size plotter paper. It uses smudge resistant Vivera ink and fast drying thus producing pinpoint line accuracy.it also has a high memory storage capacity thus capable of printing large files which is an advantage since most 3D simulations and design graphics have a large size. The plotter can also be shared among a team of architects or designers. The HP Design Jet T610 plotter printer is a cost-effective alternative to the HP Design Jet T1100 plotter printer. This is in a case where most plotting is rough draft or high quality plotting is rarely required.it is ideal for a small architectural or design firm. HP design Jet T1100 costs $2000 from HP and $3500 from eBay vendors while the T610 plotter cost $1200 from HP and $1250 from eBay. The best vendor would be HP since they provide product support and warranty.
Sharing and networking of printers, processors and other resources will require network hardware. This Hardware will include router, switch network cables. Router and switch can either be wireless but this depends with the size of the firm. Networking devices will enable the effective communication between the several workstations in the network. The router will be used to determine the next point to transfer data and information in a network the device is supplied by Cisco at $435, the switch splits the network to create the several work stations bridge to connect multiple networks and a repeater to amplify the network signal. (Cisco Network Academy 2010) other suppliers of the components include D-link $250,3com $400, however these vendors will not provide support and user training as opposed to Cisco.
Each of the devices mentioned is packaged with its device drivers to control their operations, however in addition to the operating system a number of software are needed to aide in the process of architectural designing, drawing and pictorial representations. Some of the recommended software includes Archicad 15 to be used in developing designs graphics and simulations this is supplied by Graphisoft who are the manufacturers they provide user guidance and training on the use of the software they also provide regular updates on the new changes and upgrade of the product. AutoCAD for design drawing and Photoshop or any other pictorial editing software for manipulation of pictures and graphics. This software is acquired from the respective manufacturers.
Normal office activities will need software like Microsoft office suite; adobe reader and anti-virus software are needed for effective office management and system security. (Cisco Network Academy 2010)
For effective running and operation of the above mentioned hardware and software the system units of the machines to be used should have processors with high processing speeds and storage capacities otherwise the acquired hardware and software will be obsolete (. (Cisco Network Academy 2010).The recommended specification for individual computer systems should be; Intel processor with a speed of 2-3Giga Hartz and internal memory 3 gigabytes of RAM. In addition the hard disk should be more than 200Giga bytes. The monitors should also have high quality Visual and graphics display to enhance quality design production and pictorial presentation.
A computer system (monitor, peripherals and external storage) with the stated specification would cost $500 a total of four machines would cost $2000. Two HP printers would cost $400, Epson $400, a sharp shared printer $500, Plotter $2000 and networking devices $450 .
The software to be used if sourced from the manufacturer would cost $150.the sum total expenditure ; Computer system $2000, printers $400 plotter $2000,networking devices $450, software $150 totaling to $5000
American institute of Architects (2011).The Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.
Cisco Networking Academy (2010).IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software Companion Guide.Cisco Press.
William, P. (1993). Architectural working drawings. Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.