Two into One

WWDC starts tomorrow and like most Apple fans, I will be following Steve Job's keynote tomorrow morning closely. Even though I did not plan to purchase a new computer at the beginning of this year because for everyday use, my Titanium PowerBook performs well enough, but I have been saving up for a new computer for the last few months.

The degree of how much underpowered it has became was painfully obvious whenever I use iPhoto or Photoshop. If that is all the computing power I need I can put up with my PowerBook until next year. However, I also have a PC laptop that I use for Windows software development. It is not the greatest and latest (only a Pentium M 1.3GHz) but it is powerful enough to allow me to code comfortably. However, having two laptops not only take up space on my desk but also means I have to make a conscious choice of which one to boot up. Actually whether to boot up the PC laptop because the Mac is always on and put to sleep when not used (I've never trusted the Windows sleep/hibernate capability, not to mention it is not quick like the Mac).

So with the Mac moving towards Intel chip and the ability to dual boot, not to mention the availability of virtualisation software (whether it is Parallels, or the rumored VMware), it means I can combine both machines into one letting me to run both OS X and Windows in parallel, switching between web surfing in the Mac and coding in Windows seamlessly. Then the question becomes, should I get a laptop or desktop?

Laptop is nice because it is compact, everything built-in, I can take it with me for traveling or even just to the bedroom. But it costs more, restricted in terms of upgrade, not as powerful as a desktop machine, and therefore not as 'future-proof'.

Desktop, on the other hand, will be as powerful as I can afford (or Apple makes available), allow me to use whatever peripherals as I like (large 20+" widescreen LCD monitor comes to mind), and I will be able to upgrade it as it ages (hard disk, memory, video card, or may be even CPU). And the price, after I've added everything I need to the list, will probably come to about the same as the laptop. The major downside is that I would not be able to take it with me, not even to the bedroom. I think that is a compromise I can live with, especially if I keep my PowerBook for traveling out of country or to the bedroom.

I did briefly flirt with the idea of getting an iMac but the inability to upgrade and restricted screen size and speed means I dismissed the idea as quickly as it popped into my head.

Now, Mr. Job, please show me what you got and I'll give you my hard earned cash in December.

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