What stands out like a sore thumb in this thread is three letters:


As has been mentioned, many of us have found problems using ATI graphics 
cards. In one case, quite some time ago, I tracked down a particular 
failure and found that ATI was aware of the problem and had no plans to fix 
it. Their suggestion was to get your software to adapt itself to ATI 

These problems seem to go away with Matrox cards. I'm now running a Matrox 
G450 dual head display, no apparent problems. I would never voluntarily go 
back to a single monitor, I'm running two 21 inch monitors with an 
effective desktop of 3200x1200. Since on of my 21 inch monitors, a Mag 
Innovision DJ920, has a focus problem, and my new monitor, a Dell Trinitron 
1600HS, arrived with a crack case, I just bought two more monitors at 
auction on ubid.com, intending to sell the Mag and return the Dell.

In the new auctions, I paid $171 for another Dell 1600HS, and $119 for a 
refurbished Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 91 TXM, the latter having, reportedly, a 
scratched screen.

I would not want to spend much time fiddling with an ATI card. I have a 
couple of them gathering dust on the shelves. If you are short on cash and 
long on time, sure, by all means, see what you can get to work. You might 
learn something.

But if you are being paid by the hour -- either as an employee, contractor, 
or independent designer -- know that what is known to be reliable can be 
bought for not much more than the value of an hour's time (at U.S. designer 
rates), and since one might, at the same time, move to a huge desktop for, 
again, not more than the value of a few hours time, upgrading the video 
system makes a great deal of sense.

Some of our friends in low-rent districts, such as Russia, etc., might see 
a different system, but I suspect that it would still make economic sense, 
even there, to abandon the single-monitor desktop. Russian design seems to 
sell to the U.S. for about $10 [US] per hour (at least that is what I have 
been offered); if a designer's efficiency is improved 10% by having twice 
as much space in which to work, that would be, at 20 hours per week, $1200 
per year. I'm sure that better equipment would be justified!

The same arguments apply to computer equipment in general. The latest and 
greatest sells for a premium which may not be worth it, but one step behind 
can be well worth buying, I just put together an Athlon 1600 system, 
loaded, for about $1000 exclusive of monitor. Yet we still hear of 
designers forced to work with old technology: penny-wise, pound-foolish. 
People are expensive, computers are cheap.
Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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