Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 24 Jun 2011 07:52 pm

Hardware Suggestions For Your Model Train Software – How Much Computer Power Do You Need?

There is a wide variety of model train software available for your model train hobby. From layout packages (both two dimensional and three dimensional), to scenery generators, to scale calculators, you can find useful software for many aspects of the hobby. This software varies in price from free to hundreds of dollars and if you shell out your hard earned cash, you want to make sure you can take advantage of all of its functionality. In order to do that, you need the right hardware to run the software on, print the output, and perhaps even share the output with others. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your model train software.

First, your computer. As with other computer programs, you will find software available for both PC’s and MAC’s, so the type of computer will probably not be an issue. Second, you will need a fast processor and enough RAM to run some very graphics intensive applications, so buy the best you can afford. Don’t be too concerned if you can’t afford the latest and greatest though, because in almost all cases, that is not necessary. As with any graphics program, a large display is always useful. Fine detail and less zooming in and out are the advantages here. Again, buy the best you can afford, but don’t be worried if it is not the best available. Data storage is another consideration. You’ll want to think about whether or not you want to store your data on the installed hard drive, a DVD, memory stick, or some other format. This will depend on how portable you want the data to be, how much data you plan on having, and how much money you have to spend.

A printer is another piece of hardware that is very helpful. You will want to be able to look at the output of your program as you build your layout, and carrying a piece of paper around is much easier than carrying a computer around. Some features to look for in a printer are price, pages per minute, cost of replacement ink or toner cartridges, and paper sizes that the printer is capable of. Large paper sizes make printers cost more, but they are very useful when printing out large layouts. Smaller paper sizes will work, but may require either taping together several sheets of paper to see the entire layout, or a very strong magnifying glass if you want to see the details printed out on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.

Sharing your data with other model train hobbyists may also be something you want to do. A connection to the internet may be the most simple way to share data through email or an ftp site, but you can also consider removable storage to if your fellow enthusiasts are local. Consider how fluent you and your friends are with computers when making this decision as well.

Model train software is a valuable addition to your hobby. Make sure that you think about this software and its requirements the next time you purchase a computer or other component to ensure that you can take full advantage of the features it offers.

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