I have 3 dead desktop computers, and 4 dead video cards. All were well behind the curve. I'm currently posting this on a desktop which isn't mine. I'd like to purchase a Mac, less for the power than for the OS. I'm a programmer, doing work in two primary areas: systems work and statistics. I'm very comfortable in *nix environments and always have a terminal open. The large issue here is my limited budget and need for computing power. I understand that a laptop isn't ideal for this--but I need -a- computer and I'd really prefer one that I can take to the local coffee shop and work on. So here's how it breaks down. I have a budget which maxes out around $1500. I can barely afford that as it is. Most of the time, I can cope with limited computing power. (As my computers died, I was forced to use a P3 933mhz with 512mb of RAM.) The systems end of my work isn't really dependent on power so much--after all, most of it will run on another platform eventually. The statistical area is less demanding in raw cycles than in memory. It's very helpful to have a lot of space to cram data in. Time/space trade-offs are rampant. I'd really love to have a dedicated video card, but it isn't an option in the MB. GPUs are better suited for parallel processing. Also, CUDA is available on the 8600M GT. In my spare time, I'm -usually- listening to music, browsing the web, looking at stupid pictures. I'm less of a gamer than I used to be, but I still like to play the occasional game of HL2 and TFC. (Yes, I'm well aware these aren't typically supported, but I'm used to playing them under Linux with Wine--and compiling stuff doesn't scare me in the least.) So with all these factors in mind, what would people suggest in terms of: purchase time-frame/release cycles, base model, options? Also, I'd like to hear from people if they have any experience doing work/recreation in my particular areas.