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"If I had $2000 to spend on a new computer and wanted to buy a Mac, what should I go for?"
top of the line 14.1" iBook
middle of the road 15" Powerbook G4 or
bottom level Power Mac G5"
If you already have a display and dont need portability... Go for the G5. If you need portability, I wouldn't go for either of the laptops you mentioned. I'd go for the 12" Powerbook. Its the ultimate in portability (very small) yet is very full featured
"Also, seeing people talk about how OS X is slow worries me. Is 10.2 really that much better?"
Pay no mind to the trolls in this forum. They are just reiterating the feedback that came from the first version of OS X... which was slow, but 10.2 was a major improvement as will Panther be.