Macs aren't that bad value anymore when you compare them to their same specced Windows counterparts. (Yes, even custom built stuff) Mac stability being worse than XP is rubbish. I work in an advertising agency in IT and have both a mac and a couple of PCs sitting on my desk - I havent restarted my mac in ~6months, and although my XP machine is generally fine its definently no mac. Some of the designers around here are getting around with Quads with 6 ~ 8gb of ram, can never have enough ram when dealing with large/raw files in photoshop/indesign etc. If you work/freelancing for agencies you will most probably be using macs - And places generally wont want you sitting around on you ass not being productive while you familiarise yourself with the system. Best to use what you will be using.