After some research, i have decided the below is the best performance/value macbook pro 15" configuration. 1) base model i5 2.4 mbp 15" 2) intel 160gb x-25m ssd total: $2200 shipped reason: 1) base model i5 2.4 to i7 2.66 performance is negligible in actual use (yes i am aware the benchmarks have it at ~10-15% gain but actual usage shows little difference). 2) 256mb vs 512mb graphic memory, 512mb is better however given the crappy performance of those graphic cards to begin with, i dont expect to play any graphic intensive games on the mbp anyway, for the average lower demand games that WILL play on mbp, having 256 vs 512mb will not make a difference. 3) screen: the default lower resolution screen will be less taxing on the games especially given the crappy graphics in mbp and bigger text for coding/browsing (my personal preference). I have viewed both and prefer the lower resolution. I would say this is a personal preference, most people will probably want the high res. 4) hard drive: there is no doubt ssd is mandatory, and offers the MOST SIGNIFICANT performance boost, as such i rather save money on the less critical items previously mentioned and spend the money here on the best ssd. Intel still offers a solid performance lead over other ssd as a proven leader and reliability. It is much better than the apple stock ssd option. 5) my configuration can be bought from resellers at a discount and no tax vs apple store's bto version - means more savings. A) - base model i5 2.4 mbp - intel 160gb x-25m ssd - 256mb graphic memory total: $2200 shipped vs B) -bto model i7 2.66 mbp high res -128gb apple ssd -512mb graphic memory total: $2670 shipped vs C) - base model i7 2.66 mbp - 500gb 5400rpm hdd - 512mb graphic memory total: $2200 shipped vs D) - bto model i7 2.66 mbp high res - intel 160gb x-25m ssd - 512 mb graphic memory total: $2870 shipped I originally had config D) as it is the top of the line mbp 15" you can buy, but decided to change it to A) for the reasons stated not to mention saving myself $600 and able to get it in a few days vs 2 weeks delay. It's really a no brainer if you think about it.