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Monitors and Removable Drives

Your computer will have to be capable of displaying at least thousands of colors on your monitor because 256 just won't cut it. But you don't need millions of colors- it'll just slow you down. If your computer can't display thousands, get an inexpensive video card (PC) or some more V(ideo)RAM (MAC). Aside from the printer, your monitor is one of the most important elements in the digital chain, so if you're thinking of getting a new one, don't scrimp because the two of you are going to spend many hours face-to-face. I recommend buying a 15-inch Sony for about $300...its color and sharpness are outstanding.

If you don't already have one, you may find a CD ROM drive useful for these reasons: First, most programs come on CD ROM today. Next, there are some excellent multimedia CDs on a wide range of subjects, including photography, that might interest you. Finally, you can play your audio CDs while you work...a nice plus. You can get an 8x drive for about $130. You don't need anything faster. In fact, most any old 2x CD ROM drive that's gathering dust somewhere will do.

If you have an old, smaller, hard drive, you may need some extra storage space for the images you work on. Their file sizes can gobble up anywhere from 1MB-5MB (that's per picture) and they'll fill up your drive pretty fast. Two inexpensive options are the 100MB ZIP Drive from Iomega and the 230MB EZFlyer from Syquest. Each has removable disks, similar to floppies.

Both cost about $140 but I favor the Syquest. It's much faster, stores more data per cartridge, and tech support is always available when you need it. Lately, some Zip drive users have experienced "click of death" failures in which the disks just clunk around in the drive and can't be read...or ejected. Zip disks cost about $20 for 100MB of storage while Syquest disks holds 230MB -more than double- for only a few dollars more.

Finally, I'm going to suggest you buy an Epson Stylus Photo ink-jet printer, and that will set you back about $270. Epson makes superb trouble-free printers and backs them by treating its customers right. If you have a warranty problem, they'll overnight a new printer and pick up the old one...at their expense.

 

 

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