I apologise that this issue seems to have come up a number of times already. I am not sure that I've found people making reccomendations as to what to buy with respect to what it is that I want to use the machine for, however. I'm attracted to the black imac (with memory and hard drive upgrade) but a friend is telling me that I'd be crazy if I didn't go with the low end powerbook given that they would be similar in price. I'm attracted to the black mac for the following features: - weighs a little less - is a little smaller - battery lasts a little longer - it is black!!!!! I want to use it to - write a PhD thesis - do seminar presentations (not sure about keynote vs ppt. yet - I'll be new to mac) - do some database / google scholar searching on the web I WON'T BE PLAYING GAMES. I've promised myself already. A little Skype... But aside from that just work work work. Ideally... I'd like to keep the system uncluttered so it loads up FAST so people don't have to wait for me to get my presentations up and running. What would people reccomend?