Hello all, I'm fairly new here in the forums, even though I read MR blog almost daily. Short background one me: switch to Mac in '06, tech oriented type of person (i.e. can't live without keyboard shortcuts, fiddling with preferences/os level settings and finding little nuances of os's and programs, etc), and a graphic designer looking to buy a Mac Pro as my main pc for my new business, as well as my daily "home" computer. It will be my first Mac desktop. I've been using a 2.0ghz Core (1) Duo 15" MBP with 2gb RAM and 320gb HD @ 7200 RPM since college (bought in mid 06). After working on MP's at my job, I find it incredibly tedious to go back to the slower machine at home, and thus I work less on personal freelance gigs. Also, I've since learned a lot more CPU intensive techniques in CS3 and 4 (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign especially) from doing professional work vs. college class projects. So this just adds more to my need of a more powerful system. I've read thru the posts on http://www.macperformanceguide.com/ but most of the stuff on buying I already knew. I'd like more pertinent opinions. So, I'd like to ask everyone here which option is the best for my situation and why. My Pref/Concerns: 1.) Money - I have enough to get what I need now, but do not want to "rip myself a new one" in the process. Likewise, I don't want to be cheap and buy a MP thats a couple yrs old and regret later. Plus I plan on using this thing for at least 3-5 years, so sustainability is key. I can't afford to buy a new one every couple of upgrade cycles. 2.) Upgradeability - I not a big soup-up your setup kind of user, however I do need the expandability in terms of RAM and storage. And also have a computer in 3-5+ years that will still be able to handle the software that comes our around then at a decent rate. How much is too much RAM for the uses I have listed below? Intended uses: 1.) Creative Suite 3 and/or 4 (PS, AI, ID, FL, LR, Br, in particular) 2.) office and business type applications (iwork/(neo)Office, quicken, etc) 3.) internet and web design, web maintenance on sites I make 4.) "home" type stuff (photos, music, mail, email etc) 5.) 3d rendering, starting dabble in stuff like Maya, 3ds, and zbrush Options: 1.) New Quad Nehalem MP - (if I go this route, I will most def be upgrading to the 2.93) Will be fast as hell now, but would u recommend this over a octo for future software to do the aforementioned uses? 2.) New Octo Nehalem MP (standard) - bestcase: overkill now, long-lasting. Worstcase: Adobe CS (PS especially) will drag now, until they release a multithread-utilizing version, because of the lower processor speed. Will prob improve over time, but I can't stand Spinning Beachballs. I get it all the time on my MBP, and fairly often on my 3.0ghz Work MP octo. 3.) '07 3.0ghz Octo, 4gb RAM (667mhz memory bus) MP - I have an offer to make a deal for one of the MP from my workplace (prob end up paying ~$2500) - can you tell me what a good price on this is? I'm not entirely sure what an appraised price would be. 4.) Refurb '08 2.8 octo (but these are still ~$3000, shouldn't I just go with the extra couple $100's and get a new one?) 5.) please suggest an alternative Lastly, if you can think of any other things I should take into consideration before making a decision, please let me know too. Thanks in advance for your input! I almost forgot! Which graphics card do you recommend? Will the standard nvidia GT 120 be good enough for around 3-5 yrs? or do you recommend the ATI upgrade? And can you buy and install a RAID card in your MP later?