Ok. so after my thread from last year http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1405208&page=2 I still haven't upgraded my hardware, but i'm about to for definite this time. I must have spent god knows how long in the apple store, but really the employees don't really know that much, besides this is a decision only I can make- but I will need some help basically i'm a photographer, and I do graphic/web design, occasionally some 3d rendering and video editing but it's not really a priority at the moment- but if I can make money doing it I will, and I think video and 3d will become more and more important to me in the future. My current laptop is 2.4ghz 2008 core2duo- old! here's what i'm thinking: i'm thinking 15" macbook pro/retina, but i'm starting to feel the size/weight are a problem for portability reasons. Maybe the 13"'s (upgraded to 2.9 i7) aren't powerful enough (and no gpu?) to be my sole laptop. So I started to think about getting 2 systems, a portable solution and a desktop solution. I already have a great 26" ips screen, but I wouldn't be against selling it, and I actually have an ipad right now, which I have 14 days to keep or return, so option 1) 27" imac 2012 (need usb 3) for £1500 with a few large usb 3 drives, and then keep current laptop, upgrade with ssd and keep ipad option 2) 2008 mac pro with lots of ram, a few internal hdd's and an ssd, dual quad core 2.8ghz xeon's for about £600-700, and then a macbook air 11/13" for my on the go laptop. Keep or sell current laptop and don't bother with ipad option 3) 15" mbp/retina for around £1500, and keep ipad. or 13" 2.9ghz and pocket the change. option 4) quad core mac mini, maxed out ram with external drives, and then a 13/11" macbook air or possible base spec 13" pro, take back ipad I think all are pretty viable options, maybe the mac pro is the one that makes the least sense seeing as that FB ram is so expensive. I also think the 27" imac maybe isn't logical either- it's pretty but no inputs so I can't plug in my ps3 or other hardware, and I still don't have a quick or small laptop 1) will I miss the gpu if I get the mini/air combo 2) will the air be powerful enough as my main pc? I guess it will seeing as it geekbenches about double.- how about the i7 upgrade? I'm also thinking that a brand new ipad 4 (it was a gift) is too much ipad for me, maybe a refurb ipad 3 and saving £100 would be better, especially as i'm a new ipad user I also get educational discount ---------- one more thing my current laptop is glossy, but not as glossy as the new 'glass' covered models the retina from the looks of it isn't as glossy, so is probably comparable to my old laptop- I do a lot of editing in starbucks so that could be important to me. I love that you get 14 days to trial something, how strict are they about returns, does it have to be 100% perfect? I do hate the lack of upgradeability in the retina's, but if I get 16gb ram from the start, and then switch to spotify instead of itunes, and lightroom 5 has 'smart previews' where you keep the master raw files back at home and do your edits on jpeg previews when you're in the field- that could mean i'd be fine with 256gb- and with usb 3 externals, and wireless hard drives I think i'd be ok with 256.