Back in the early days of inkjet printing, Epson had their print heads on the printer, and the cartridges only held ink, making the cartridges cheaper than the competition. They also had separate cartridges for each color, while the competition (HP, Lexmark, Canon) combined the color cartridges into a single three cell cartidge and in some cases even included black in a four cell cartridge so you had to replace all at once. I was a light user, and had the same printer for about 3 years, going through two sets of cartridges in that time (maybe one or two more black cartridges). After three years, the printer was still in good condition and printing well, and I gave it to a friend because I was moving overseas. No inkjet printer I have had since has matched up to it. Unused ink clogging up print heads was an artificial problem caused by additives in the ink, it was never a fundamental issue with the technology.