I will be buying a new computer in the next few months, but I havent been able to decide which one to get. I've recently been thinking of switching to OS X and this is giving me more choices as well. I have an old Fujitsu laptop and during the 3+ years I've had it I've only carried it with me twice, so I feel that its better for me to buy a desktop (pc/mac) instead - its cheaper and I can regularly use a bigger monitor. But heres my dilemma: I might study abroad in Japan next year and Id like to have a computer with me for school work and keeping in contact with my family. I'm desperate for some suggestions. Should I buy... (1) desktop now + a low-end macbook/cheap notebook for study abroad (2) low-end 15" MBP (3) other suggestions... ? Some questions... (1) Connecting a laptop to an external monitor nearly all of the time is kind of pointless, but does it have a negative effect on the laptop at all? (2) I most likely dont need bootcamp once I switch, but if I ever do, does it run smoothly on Mac Mini? Does it make MBP hotter? Other things to consider... The only heavy programs I will be using is Photoshop and Illustrator, and I wont be using them everyday - at least not on my computer. Budget is around $2500 for either desktop+notebook or a MBP. Here are the choices that I'm considering... Dell Vostro 400 Intel® Core2 Duo Proc E6550 (2.33GHz,4MB L2Cache,1333FSB) Genuine Windows® XP Home 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz - 2DIMMs 250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache Free Upgrade! From DVD to DVD+RW 128MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8300GS 3 Year Limited Hardware Warranty with Next Business Day On-Site Service 3 Year CompleteCare Accidental Damage Service $1037 + tax = $1119.86 --> which leaves me with ~$1300 for monitor + a notebook Mac Mini 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB 120GB Serial ATA drive SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) Apple Wireless Keyboard & wireless Mighty Mouse Mac OS X - U.S. English AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac mini (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll $1,142.00 + tax = $1,243.64 --> which leaves me with ~$1250 for monitor + a notebook iMac** 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x1GB 250GB Serial ATA Drive SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) Apple wireless Mighty Mouse Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) + Mac OS X AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac - Auto-enroll ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128MB memory 20-inch glossy widescreen LCD AirPort Extreme $1,453.00 + tax = $1,582.32 --> which leaves me with ~$900 for a notebook low-end MBP $2,167.00 + tax = $2,359.86 --> which leaves me with ~$100 for monitor (uhhh...) ** I can't say I like the design of iMac very much, especially the glossy monitor. It's not a matter of distraction, it's a matter of eye strain. I use computer 3-7 hours everyday - 19 matte at work and 17 glossy Fujitsu at home. Needless to say I can feel the difference. But if many of you believe it's the best solution for me, I will keep this option in mind. Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance!