After getting laughed at for posing this question again and searching the other Mac Rumors threads that are filled with contradictory advice, I did some research to help annoying future inquirers: From PC World: Compared with each other, the new 2.53GHz MacBook Pro was just over 12 percent faster overall than the 2.26GHz MacBook Pro. The 2.53GHz laptop was about 21 percent faster at Photoshop and Cinema 4D. Some of this performance difference is due to the 2.53GHz system's additional RAM; to quantify the difference, MacWorld leveled the playing field by adding 2GB of memory to the 2.26GHz model, bringing it up to 4GB, which is the standard configuration for the 2.53GHz version. Most of MacWorlds tests, which are run one at a time, don't benefit much from additional RAM, and the underwhelming two-point improvement in the Speedmark score bears that out. The biggest performance difference with the additional RAM was in our Photoshop suite times, which improved the 2.26GHz MacBook Pro's score by about 10 percent. The main counter argument from the threads seems to be, "Save the $300" and buy a SSD (Solid State Drive)"... and indeed an Intel 80 GB X25m SSD can be had for less than $250 and easily self installed: http://www.google.com/products/cata...ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CBkQ8wIwAw#ps-sellers This combined with 4GBs ram will produce a much faster machine but raises crucial disk space issues... is "80GBs enough?" for less than $500 you can score an Intel 160 GB X25m, but now you're blowing up the price range and getting well over $1500. Conclusion: For the extra money the stock configuration of the 2.53 gives you a noticeable speed improvement that will run pretty much everything except graphics intensive games and serious industry level multi application photo shopping and video editing. The upgrade to the super fast SSD remains a tantalizing future option with prices continuing to fall. If you plan on doing no video editing or serious multi-application photoshopping or graphics intensive gaming... the 2.26 is PLENTY of machine. thoughts? Comments?