Computers for screenwriters
If you're really set on typing out your masterpiece on a typewriter, I salute you! But I can guarantee right now, you will suffer more setbacks and failure than all the other screenwriters in the world today. Scripts tend to change... a lot. One small change might require you to retype 10 pages or more.
On one hand, the more you retype, the tighter your script gets. But all that typing is just going to give you carpal tunnel syndrome. Get yourself a computer. But don't just get any computer. There is one major feature you need to consider: when are you the most creative and when do you have time to be creative? If you do everything in front of your desk at home, then you can get just about any computer.
However, if you plan on taking your show on the road, then you need to find yourself the perfect laptop. What is my suggestion for the perfect laptop? First of all, you should get a laptop that's small enough that it's no big deal to carry around with you. However, it should absolutely have a full-size keyboard. You can get one of those dinky, sub-compact jobbies, but typing on them for any extended length of time is a pain.
After burning through a few laptops, I settled on the Acer Aspire One 10 inch Netbook that's small enough to fit into anything, yet it has a roomy edge to edge keyboard that's actually bigger than the one on my 14 inch laptop. It has a 1.60 Ghz processor, 1 Gig of Sdram, a huge 160 Gb hard drive and all the Wi-Fi you need to distract you from actually writing. It's also really cheap (under $350), so if I wreck it, like I did with my $1800 one, I only cry a little.
Get whatever you want. It doesn't matter if it's Mac or PC (although PC's are cheaper) because the screenwriting software works on both. Not only that, all the software for screenwriting is just a specialized word processor, so you don't even need a top of the line model.
In fact, I recommend computers for screenwriters be as simple as possible. You don't need any more distractions keeping you from writing (I delete the solitaire game off the computer before I do anything else with it).
Back everything up!
Get a bunch of thumb drives. Save your files on your computers and all of your thumb drives. They don't have to be large capacity thumb drives either. 2 gig is the tail-end standard right now and you can pick up 4-packs of them pretty cheap. You don't even need that big of drive since your typed screenplays aren't much more than a couple hundred kilobytes, so I recommend getting small ones like these USB-512MB-MINI ultra thin USB thumb drives. They're tiny and cheap so if you want to give someone a copy of your script digitally, just pop one of these in their hands and you might just impress them a little bit...
I really love these HACKED 2 GB USB Flash Drives! It looks like a frayed network cable and thieves don't want to steal it. In fact, I did have a laptop stolen from a cafe once, and the stupid thief pulled out this USB thumbdrive and chucked it on the floor! I was bummed that my laptop got jacked, but I still had all my important files because he thought this frayed cable was junk.
Get a couple. One you leave at home and one for on the go. If you only save one copy of your script and something goes wrong with your computer (or it's stolen), you just witnessed the equivalent of your dog chewing up your typed manuscript. It's a devastating occurrence.
Get a cheap laser printer.
You will be printing your script out over and over again as you make tiny (or major) revisions. Those BubbleJet printers just take way too long and don't have the capacity a laser printer has. A laser printer is going to be your best friend. I'm kind of a connoisseur of laser printers. I've had a ton over my life. My favorite? By far, Hewlett Packard makes the best, most solid, most reliable printers I've ever used. There's a reason they lead the field in printer sales. I love my HP Laserjet P1606Dn! It has a huge paper capacity, prints super fast, and hooks right up to my home network. The best part is that it prints text fabulously and will auto-duplex so all you do is hit print and a couple minutes later, you've got a brand new warm script in your hands. Also, the high capacity toner cartidge is around $60 so it won't hurt so bad when you run out of toner.
Cheap is a relative term here, so just get the best laser printer you can afford, preferably one that has some way of doing double-sided prints and one that doesn't have $100 replacement toner cartridges (a hard lesson to find out later...). Check with a reputable source like 123inkjets.com before you buy your laser printer to make sure it won't end up costing you more than you want to afford.