How do you choose the right drawing equipment when purchasing a new computer? Do you go with a Dual core processor? And the memory? 1GB or 2GB ... or more?
Let's try to see what are the important components of an illustrator's computer.
A good monitor should be at least 19 inches wide with a minimum resolution of 1024x768. Try to go with a screen that has a response time of 5ms or less.
This will help you get a sharper image. Of course, widescreen is now the norm, so perhaps you should avoid monitors that have a 4/3 ratio.
If you have enough money, you can also work with two monitors side-by-side. In this case, it might be better to go with monitors that have a 4/3 ratio.
A fast and solid graphic card is also essential. After all, you are working on the visual side here!
I usually go for a graphic card that is around 6 months old. Why? It's cheaper than a brand new one, all issues are usually solved and it's still good enough to support most graphic software.
This one is easy! Don't go below 2GB. Especially if you are running with Vista! XP users will be limited to 3GB max but that should be enough to work with all major applications.
This part of the computer doesn't cost too much (compared to ten years ago!) so don't save your money on RAM.
Once again, this is an important part of your computer, like the motherboard is. I have a dual processor and it does the job pretty well. If you can, go with a quad. You'll be amazed by the speed of your machine!
Of course, don't put money on the audio card unless you wish to play music or listen to TV shows on your computer.
If you are on a tight budget, try the Bamboo series. They are very solid and do I pretty good job, even for professional artist (that's what I'm using!). Once you try one, you'll never draw with a mouse again... I promise!
Good luck setting up the machine of your dream!