I'm at the crossroads again. A longtime PC user, I am closer than ever to purchasing my first Mac desktop. Last summer, I bought a MacBook and it's been great, but I just use it for home use, internet and email. I own a small but busy web development company, and I'm not only the owner, but do most of the labor. My assistant uses a 24" iMac, and has been harping on my constantly to finally upgrade from my Pentium4 I built in August of '03. But, I need some advice from people with experience with similar demands. I'll list my questions/considerations/wants/needs, and you can respond as you see fit. Basically, I am trying to decided between a MacPro or a 24" iMac. Okay! First things first: - Consideration: I have two Samsung 214T monitors (21 inch LCD's) that run at 1600x1200. They are a year old, I paid $1200 for both of them. With the iMac, I can use 1 monitor as an extension, but with a MacPro I can use both, and add more monitors later (3-4 monitors would be great). - Consideration: I work 10-12 hours a day, chained to a keyboard. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, FTP, chats, a bunch of small utility apps, and multiple browser windows are open at all times, plus at any given moment additional Illustrator, Indesign, Acrobat, Word, Excel, and lord knows what else. People say that if you're not doing 3d/Video or 40gillion megapixel work, you can't really "tax a system with web dev apps!!". Well.. that's never been my experience. When I explain that I build websites for a living, people usually poo-poo it and say "You can run those apps on a 386 with 8 megs of ram!" - Consideration: With the above consideration, suffice it to say, I feel like I can definitley tax a system with all my web dev apps, and I want a screaming fast computer. I know the MacPro and the iMac can both be fast, but please don't say that a MacPro is "overkill" for web development. - Question: With an iMac, I'm pretty limited. Hard drives are gonna be external, can't change video cards or add more than 1 monitor, limited to 3 gigs of ram. Right now, I run 2 external drives and 3 interal, and would like to have my new machine have 10,000 rpm drives. Will the iMac probably reach limitations alot faster than a MacPro? - Consideration: Cost... but not really. I figure I can get the MacPro I need to start for about 3000-3500, and add more 10k drives and ram as needed (start with 4 gigs). The Imac will end up about 2500 with the added ram and such. - Question: With a MacPro, will it's functional "fast computer" longevity be alot longer than the iMac? With the type of demands and wants I have for a workstation, what will I be saying in 2 years with the iMac? The MacPro? - Question: Does the Processor speed difference on the MacPro really matter much? is a 3.0 machine really that much faster than a 2.66? Or will I probably not notice. - Want: I want a nice, fast machine. This PC is almost 4 years old, full of quirks, and just pretty slow and outdated. - Need: I will NEED a new machine soon. I've already lost a drive and a motherboard on this beast. It can't last forever, and time is money, working slow just slows down my ability to earn money and provide for my family. Right now, the MacPro I'd get is the 2.66 quad for about 2700, and then 4 gigs of ram from Crucial for another 400. Then add the 10k drives later. I have everything else I need (software, periphs). So I figure with odds and ends, about $3200 bucks to get into a new tower. Or, if you can advise, maybe it's worth the extra 800-1500 for the faster processors, or the quad cores? the iMac, 2000 plus about 150 for 3gigs of ram. Someone weight in! If you can say "you'd be stupid not to get a macpro with what you've described" and then give reasons, go ahead. I *will* be buying a computer soon, but this kind of monetary investment, and also the whole livelihood of myself and my family is riding on this machine and it's performance/reliability. I can already feel the MacPro making more sense, but I'd love for some people who use Mac's for their career/job to weigh in. I've never worked on a Mac, so this is a huge step in alot of ways. Thanks ahead of time, I REALLY appreciate feedback. Love, Sean Dempsey Ex-Hardcore PC user.