or do I need the whole box/reader etc.
I don't know what you need to do but I have heard the 5.0 was free with lots of purchases & people are selling them cheap on E-bay. I know list price on 4.0 was about $1500
The upgrade I think you're talking about is for PE Design, not Basic. Pe Design is a full digitizing program, and you cannot upgrade to it from Basic. Sorry!
Laura is right, and PE Design 5.0 is no longer on the market now that the (more expensive) 6.0 version is available. Do check Ebay, though, you may find a bargain. Also, Brother has a new rule that dealers can only sell to customers in their state, so if you find a great deal on a company's website that is in a different state than you are, you can't buy it from them.
i have a quick question:
why get a box with PED basic? it can't write cards?
and if that's the case what is the advantage of going for the PE Design instead of a box if you are not digitizing?
while we're at it, what box do you recommend for a (obvious) beginner?
PE Basic comes with a box, so that you can write your designs to the card.
If you won't be doing any digitizing at all, then there is no reason to get PE Design. Having said that, though...most of the boxes run a couple hundred $$ or so. IF you can find a deal on ebay for an earlier version of PE Design, I personally think most people should do it. You won't be spending a ton more, and that way, if you ever do decide to do any digitizing, or some very creative editing, you'll have everything you need. The last couple versions of PE Design also come with Tru Type Font lettering, which means you'll have TONS more lettering options available to you for free.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!
Someone on ebay is selling the 5.0 upgrade. The listing says that you can upgrade from basic to 5.0. I didn't think that was possible. Will it only upgrade the software and not the basic digitizer?