I've been living in a state of denial. I currently run a mid 2010 2.4 c2d MBP 13 as a desktop, dual internal hdd's, 8 gigs ram with discrete graphics, usb hdd's, usb dvd and I'm now starting to have issues with artifacts appearing more and more often. After the artifacts started to appear on the primary while simply doing normal tasks, reality started set in and now I need to face that I need a new desktop computer on the cheap - hopefully. I will be going back to school in about a year or two. They had me running VM, radiance, vray, artlantis, CS4, LR, etc on my underpowered MBP during undergrad. Should be the same when I go back. I've built a hackintosh before but it always had problems - I was always searching for a certain kext file, things didn't always work, issues with non-updates and kernel panics - the thought of crashing during something important was too much to bear so that was crossed out of the equation. Also, while I'm originally from the states I live near Antartica so shipping is an issue (thus, no cheap parts). I was almost ready to drop the dough when I started reading these forums. That's when I realised there was so much variation in the models. I've come up with two options and I'd love some input, even though I'm new here and will probably get blasted for 'not searching hard enough' or 'use google' or something. 1. A cheap 1,1 base with some upgrades. 1,1 base: $550 x5355/5365 SLAEG: $250 16g ddr2fb: $200 All up and with graphics, about 1200 if I cannibalize the SSD from the MBP. Problems with this setup: No 64 bit EFI, never ever forever. Unless you can change the logic board, have robotic soldering arms, build fan housings for a living, etc... Feelings of impending doom. that bad taste of deja vu when you realize your 1,1 may likely need chameleon (a la hackintosh) to boot the next release. Now, it comes to a point where I'm spending so much money I *THINK* I should be looking at a 3,1. 2. a not so cheap 3,1 base, with upgrades. 3,1 base: $1200 16g ddr2fb: $200 All up and attempting to keep the graphics, about 1400. Graphics will not be as great as the above. So. I will be spending about 200 dollars more for a machine whose only benefit is the 64 bit EFI. I understand that along with the 64 bit EFI comes a few extras, such as additional graphics cards support however it's not a huge architecture jump like the move to DDR3, is this correct? 3 - a new mac. I will be buying from Australia. It's about 2700 for a 'new' but not really new mac pro. Education discount (I know a friend) brings it to 2500 out the door. (single core) A bit too rich for my blood. 4. a newer mac. 4,1 and newer. These run about 1900 dollars. At this price I'd rather buy new. so I'd rather not? thoughts? Questions: does the above look right? Is it worth the extra money from the 1,1 to 3,1? Or should I take the 1,1 now? Where to go with the "should I spend a bit more" attitude? Will this hold out for grad work?