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DVD, wheel mouse, Web Cam ...Scanners top list of best-selling computer gadgets

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by Christine Ballew-Gonzales

SBJ Contributing Writer

A number of computer accessories are flying off of Springfield computer-store shelves, but the gizmo going out in the greatest number these days is the scanner, according to local retailers.

"The biggest sellers anyone is seeing right now are scanners," said Brad Smith, sales representative for Computer Renaissance. Smith said recent price drops, as well as greater ease of use, have made scanners, which copy images into the computer, more popular than ever.

"Importing pictures is about as easy as opening a document," Smith said. "Some scanners even come with a new e-mail feature that e-mails the pictures as soon as they are scanned in." Smith said a low-end scanner could be purchased for $70 or $80, with higher quality models going for $100 and $120.

Scanners are also moving well at Software Central, according to store owner Jeff Clinkingbeard. "Scanners are getting much more popular," he said. "For $150 to $200 you can get a really good scanner." Clinkingbeard added that scanners used to go for $300 to $500.

Clinkingbeard said another computer gadget gaining popularity is the digital video disc, or DVD, player. "You're going to see them become standard after this Christmas season," he said. "DVD is the next format to replace compact disc and VHS tapes. They can store music and video in a digital format."

When purchased as part of a bundled computer/software package, the difference in price between regular CD-ROM and DVD is $75 to $100, Clinkingbeard said. For those who already own a computer with CD-ROM, a DVD upgrade can be had for around $150.

Another popular accessory is the wheel mouse. "A lot more people are coming in to get the wheel mouse," Clinkingbeard said. The wheel, located between the buttons on the mouse, allows the computer user to scroll up and down through a document while keeping the cursor in the middle of the screen.

Clinkingbeard said those who use a computer regularly would find the wheel mouse, which sells for $15 to $50, a welcome improvement over the traditional mouse.

Web Cams are also becoming strong sellers, according to Smith. "That's going to be a real popular Christmas gift," he said. Web Cams work through a video-stream program and the user's Internet service provider to provide a video connection between users. "You can literally be chatting with someone and see everything they're doing," Smith said.

Springfield Technology's James Archer, sales and ordering manager, said Zip drives are also popular items for Springfield computer users. "Zip drives are still selling very well," he said. Also moving well are high-end video cards, available for $140 to $200, and sound cards, which sell for $80 to $100.

Tape backup systems, which are used more in business settings, are becoming more popular in spite of the $400 to $3,000 price tag. Removable drive cages, which make it possible to transport the hard drive to another computer, are another option gaining popularity among the business set, Archer said.

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