Wacom, definitly! Giesla is so right! I have been using these for 8 years, and I wouldn't think of using Photoshop or Painter without it. Just the thing for quick butchering of critique forum pics! On the other hand, I still use a mouse or trackball at the same time for precise vector work and general work. Unless you fighting a repetitive stress injury just use them both.
To get in at a low cost, I would recommend a small Wacom Intuos tablet. Even the 4x5" (around $175.00) has as much total resolution and 4 times the pressure sensitivity of my first 12"x12" one. Plus you can eventually graduate to the WAY cool airbrush stylus if you wish!
Listen to Tammy here and do not scrimp on this purchase, bad tablets can sour you on the whole idea and you will never know what you are missing. Good Luck!
Oh, Rod, you shouldn't need any special video card with a Wacom, the drivers are just like mouse drivers on both PCs and Macs. My mac ones seem to work far more smoothly though, don't know why. The pressure sensitivity functions are usually turned on from within your art aps.
[This message has been edited by Miltz (edited June 18, 2000).]