Background I use Macs in a publishing business and have done so since 1986. I have read entries here where one user wants to buy/configure equipment that will last five years or be able to last longer than considered typical. I have read the replies indicating that is not possible, too much change and evolution, buy every 2-3 years, and all that. Since 1986 I have had these models: Mac Plus, IIci, 8600, and most recently a G4 1.25 Ghz MDD. I am writing this post on the G4. It is about eight years old. Look at the number of models I list and do the math. Those are the only machines I have had since 1986. I don't believe I could get this kind of service from an iMac or laptop. Note: The 8600 is still my scanning station, run as required. What I learn is the computer does what it could do initially as well as it ever could. The problems eventually emerging are multiple. Increasing potential for hardware failure, inability to run newer software as operating systems fall behind, and today, an inability to run the most current browsers due to OS falling behind. I want capability to run newer versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and some CAD or solid modeling software. The G4 is doing what it did initially just as well as it ever did. It just can't move forward. I recall a photo of a raccoon standing on a boat dock with feet on one side on the dock and feet on the other side in the boat. The boat is drifting away; the raccoon's stance is widening. A decision has to be made before he falls in the water. Bad analogy, perhaps, but vivid. It's time to get in the boat. Worse, I am unemployed from my real job and have been so since February. Given the economy, the side business has taken on new importance and needs to grow and prosper more than ever. You are probably all kids. I am 60, and although age discrimination is illegal, it is alive and well I suspect. The most grim possibility is this business may become my sole support. My decision to spend a lot of savings has to be good. I have been down the path of the suggestions for laptops and iMacs. I learn from my G4, a standard desktop unit, that the flexibility, repairability, expandability, of a desktop is part of what allows me the long hardware lifespans I have enjoyed. For a while I had fumbled around trying to decide between laptop and iMac. Then, continuing to read, I read a long thread on Gearslutz about Pros and their virtues. I felt I could have written some of the posts myself. Then I spent two days here. It all jarred me back to reality. I want a Pro. In addition to the applications I mention, I want to be able to work with video. I have not yet, but will learn, as I see it as a great business tool and item to market, and market with. A side note. I read all these comments about 1T drives as I sit here with my 125GB internal drive and my 250GB external drive. My internal drive shows a capacity of 115 and an available of 46. This in eight years. Increased generation and receipt of digital images will increase storage, but even so. My questions: Dumb question disclaimer apologizing ahead of time for what may seem [to this really technical group] to be very dumb questions. I read where 2010 Mac Pro units are now available refurbished, implying previously they were 2009's. How do I tell the 2010 listings from the 2009 listings? If I buy a refurbished [or new] unit, does it affect my warranty if I then buy additional drives and RAM and install such items myself? I have the idea I could save quite a bit that way. I believe I learn, to continue my maximum hardware life pattern, I want a 2010. I have felt a 4-core, base unit is my best value. Reading more tells me perhaps a 6-core refurb would be even better with respect to long term performance and the refurb would make that affordable. Do you agree, or stay with the 4-core? How is it possible for resellers to offer Apple Care for so much less than Apple? Given that it is Apple's service, I don't understand why/how they discount it that much. I had thought I would buy from Apple, but seeing mention of B&H and several other sellers with lower prices, I wonder. Thoughts on that?