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Debating between 15" macbook (used) or an iMac (new/used) help?

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With my tax return I need to get a new mac.  I used to have a 2008 17" macbook pro, but that died on me a little over a year ago.  I loved that thing and used it for everything as I am a graphic designer and musician.  I've gone over a year without a

With my tax return I need to get a new mac.  I used to have a 2008 17" macbook pro, but that died on me a little over a year ago.  I loved that thing and used it for everything as I am a graphic designer and musician.  I've gone over a year without a computer (I use my work computer which is a PC bleh), because I won't settle to buy a PC; i dislike them and always had problems with them, my beloved macbook was flawless until the graphics processor died and it wasn't worth the repair.  I need a mac asap haha!  My budget is likely between $1,000-$1,500, if i can spend less that'd be cool too, I might be able to get a decent used iMac for less.  I'm probably looking at buying a used macbook OR or a new/used iMac.  I loved the portability of my macbook when I had it, I regularly did work at local cafes and libraries, BUT with my said budget I'm wondering if I might get more bang for my buck with an iMac and am wondering if an iMac can be portable?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I'm also debating and wondering about others' experience with buying a mac on craigslist vs. ebay.
Would I be able to finance a new Macbook if I put $1,000 down, my credit isn't the best due to unpaid student loans.  I tried to finance a macbook with no money down and couldn't get approved.  My only worry with buying used is if it'll have a shorter lifespan.
Any advice on buying a mac with my situation would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!
- Matt

The replay answer
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I recommend Apple refurb store. They're practically new and have the full warranty.
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac
FYI: iMacs are not portable.

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