Howdy all, So, I've been browsing through this forum for several hours, and after collecting a bunch of info, I've decided to go ahead and just post my questions and concerns and see what sort of advice I can get tailored for me. First off, I'm hopefully typing this on my last Windows machine. It's been a good machine that has lasted me 4 years now and still rams right through Photoshop and many of the other Adobe products (no After Effects though). However, it appears to me that Macs really have Windows machines licked when it comes to nifty applications. iLife alone seems like a good reason to make the switch, but it doesn't stop there. So why do I want a laptop (I've never owned one before)? I'm currently a student working on my BA thesis, and unless the ship sinks in the next few months, I'll be moving on to grad school--masters and then a phd in the fields of religion, classics, and philology. I'd like to, if at all possible, buy a laptop now that will last me a good deal of time. I'd rather not have to buy another laptop before I land that teaching gig that I'm ultimately seeking 4 or 5 years from now. The portability of a laptop is enticing, especially as I can sit in the library actually working on the thesis (not just taking notes) and be connected to the wireless network. All of this sounds too wonderful to be true. As I'm looking at these laptops I'm continually pinching myself to be sure I'm awake. At any rate, being married and in college creates serious budget constraints. I've told myself that I can spend no more than $2,000, and that's really pushing it. I'd like to do the following with the laptop: 1) Typical websurfing and email, as well as Microsoft Office products, and Keynote looks intriguing. 2) I'm an amateur musician (isn't everyone in Austin?) and Garage Band looks really intriguing, so I'd like to be able to play with that...and perhaps move up to some other more high end audio programs. 3) I currently pay the rent by editing video (I do the rough cut for cheap and then they bring in the big boys to use Shake and programs like that to really make the presentation hum). However, I've never owned my own editing software because anything that I can afford on Windows sucks...especially compared to the machines I'm using which typically are Avid, Media 100, or Final Cut. So, I'm definitely going to want to be getting Final Cut Express (can't afford the Pro version...even at $499 with the student discount). Being able to cut on the run or at home would be a major bonus in terms of productivity and may create more cash flow. Hopefully, I'll be able to use Garage Band in lieu of Soundtrack for music purposes. Being able to burn DVD is a major preference, though not a must. I would like to continue using my Windows machine for Photoshop and Illustrator because I got all of that stuff for free from an old employer, and I don't want to drop the cash to get mac versions. So, nothing more than iPhoto will be required in terms of digital photography. So, based on all of this, I've narrowed my decision down to the 12" PB. Why 12"? Ultimate portability is a must, but it doesn't appear that the iBook has a SuperDrive option, nor the kind of RAM I'm eventually going to want for Final Cut and Garage Band (or more semipro audio applications I may look at in the future). My first question is this: I keep hearing about PB G5s on the horizon. Is there any reliable info on this? I think even if the PB G5s come out soon, I'll want a PB G4 for the sake of my budget. If G5s are announced, will they immediately start discounting the G4s? What is the general opinion on how quickly a mac becomes a dinosaur? Considering I'm still running a 600mHz P2, I'm not terribly concerned. But, due to the differences in terminology between Mac and PC, I'm a little lost. For example, in Pentium-land 100 mhz difference in clock speed is nothing. How different is 100 mhz in Apple-world? Second, I've found the following deals on 12" PBs: 12" PB G4 867 mHz (refurb) 256MB RAM 40 GB SuperDrive adding an Airport Extreme Card, iLife 04, and Final Cut Express $1,656 12" PB G4 1GHz 256MB RAM 60 GB SuperDrive adding Airport Extreme Card, and Final Cut Express $1,872 In both cases I intend to purchase a 512MB RAM from Crucial. -Is the 867mhz machine going to have that 128 MB RAM built-in? I really don't think I like that. -It seems like 40GB is going to be smallish for DV editing. Does anyone have any idea how much storage space I'll have after the drive is formatted and I've installed iLife, Final Cut, Office, etc? -While the new machine has a bigger HD and more power, is it worth the extra $200? -Will both of these machines run Final Cut just fine (remember I'm upgrading the RAM)? -Will both machines last me the 4 or 5 years that I need out of them? OR Should I consider going with an iBook for $1300, with the following specs: 12" iBook 800 mhz 256MB RAM (128 built-in...drat) Combo Drive 60 GB Hard Drive add Final Cut and Airport Extreme Card and then look elsewhere for a DVD burning solution...perhaps an external burner. At the moment I have access to a DVD burner on a G4 on campus (I have no idea what kind of burner or what software it's running)...would I be able to create in iDVD and then switch it over to that machine to do the actual burning? OR is iDVD (since it is low-end) limited in this regard. OK, that's a lot of info to digest...I thank everyone who wades through it and replies.