I'll give you some background first: In Spring of 2005 I bought a Mac mini G4 which I've been using since then. It hasn't had one single problem or issue. Still, it became excruciatingly slow to use online as it can't handle Flash content or video too well. Last November I bought a 27" i5 iMac and was initially overjoyed. Soon the screen started flickering and I noticed the yellow tinge (worse than anything I've seen in many months) and grumbly HD. I could hear the HD chugging away over a movie I was watching in VLC. "What on earth is going on in that factory?!" I thought. This was nothing like my mini from a quality standpoint. I ended up returning it on day 10 and getting all of my money back and vowed not to buy again until these problems were fixed. Apple halted 27" production in February and began using another model number of LCD panel (still LG) and since then reports of yellow tinges on 27" declined dramatically. Apple's second firmware update finally fixed the flickering. At this point I decided to wait it out until the refresh. So here I am - excited but still nervous. I'll be using this Mac for web, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, moderate gaming and some music production. I plan on going for the i7. Here are my questions: 1. For those who have been living with the grumbly HD - has it gotten quieter with age? What are ways of minimizing it? And this question too: do you wish you had sprung for the (quieter) Hitachi 2 TB HD? As a student, it's $135 more for me now. 2. I'll call the Apple Stores in San Antonio and Austin asking if they plan on stocking the i7. If I buy one there, can I exchange it there if it has issues or do I have to mail it back myself? If I buy online is my only option returning via mail? 3. If the Seagate HD noise is just too loud to deal with, can I take it to the Genius Bar and request a replacement Western Digital HD? I really don't want to fork over the cash for an unnecessary 2 TB of space, I already have a 1 TB LaCie d2 Quadra external. 4. I'll be getting the free iPod touch with this purchase, as a student. If I have to exchange iMacs, can I keep the first iPod I received? I plan on selling it to finance the i7 upgrade. 5. Is it true that I can use my iMac's factory warranty for one year and then buy AppleCare to extend it an additional 3 years? ...or do I have to buy it when I buy the iMac online? I'm planning on ordering in about a week.