I am a first year undergraduate student. I have been using PCs all my life, but I think this is the time for me to switch to Apple and its OSX. It also happens that I have just received my student loan check, and while I know this might be real stupid.. I decided to blow it all on a brand new, shiny, Apple iMac. Problem is, this is a huge decision for me. Its a large sum of money for a student like myself, and I know I will be skint for a very, very, long time. Therefore I want to spend it in the most efficient way and get my money's worth. I want a really good deal. So please direct me to the best possible direction, and correct any mistakes you see: 1- 2.4 VS 2.8, which model to get? I know I will be getting a %13 discount with my HE discount (UK) with my purchase. Now I have used the search function and came to the conclusion that I should be getting the 2.4 model. That is firstly because the difference will only be noticed when encoding a video and will shave off a couple of minutes of the total time it would have otherwise taken. Another reason is that you are paying for the an extra gig of ram from apple which is a rip-off (I could go around this by getting the 2.4 and upgrading the processor and HD, but I want to buy from a physical store and not the online.. that leaves me with the 2.4 model). 2- Gradient issue. I have tried checking the gradient problem myself in an apple store but couldnt notice anything. I certainly wouldnt be going to look for problems but whats a way that I can use to check if the machine I will be getting has this particular problem or not? 3- Which leads me to my next question; is it possible at all to ask the staff to open up and fire up the machine before purchase? I am asking this because I have asked the manager at the store and he tried to run away from the question by saying that I neednt to since the cool-off period extends to 14 days in which I could return the product for a refund, no questions asked. I really would want to try it before hand at the store though, just as an extra assurance I will not get a defect. 4- Would you buy from an Apple Store or the Online Store? 5- I was thinking of maybe using the ADC, and get the one off %20 discount on hardware. It just seems alot of hassle, and I could see me frustrated with a dead machine and not knowing where to return it to. Is this correct? 6- I will be using the HE %13 discount. Along with Apple Care £58 pack. With a later addition of 4 GB RAM kit from crucial for around £60. Any other tips on many savers? 7- In terms of resale value, would the 2.4 be way worse than the 2.8?? 8- I will be using the iMac for browsing the internet, video encoding (small videos i.e. youtube and some home ones), university photoshop and some 3d packages, drawing with a tablet, watching loads of movies and shows and some gaming. I want to upgrade the HD to 500 GB but I feel its expensive, would I get reliable fast connection to an external through firewire? Over all, what would you advice me to buy? If you have a case for the 2.8 model please do tell, any other tips on general transition from PC to Mac are welcome also. Thanks alot for your time!