Its right before the end of the year and I need some help; I have read most of the postings around here regarding buying advice for a Mac Pro. I noticed that you guys look for the most possible amount of information on what one wants to do with the Mac Pro and what's already there... so I figured I lay it all out . Here we go: Having my own business I am working as an independent SAP consultant / developer (mostly with customer's Windows laptops), and want to get more serious with photography and Xcode development (possibly iPhone/iPad development too). In 2006 I took the plunge and bought my very first Mac (MBP), and have never looked back. Got a Mac Mini for the living room in 2008 and even converted the wife to use a Macbook instead of a Windows PC. I see a lot of the spinning beach ball lately, hitting the memory ceiling on the MBP. Having OSX and apps on the Wintec SSD in the express card slot helped things a bit booting and for response times, but Aperture 3 is a tad sluggish. Below my current equipment and what I am using it for. - MacBookPro2,2 (2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 3GB, 640GB HD, 46GB Wintec SSD as Boot Drive in Express Card Slot) - Cinema HD Display (30") - Mac Mini 2,1(2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB, 120GB HD) - iPhone 3GS, 3G, 2G - iPad 64GB 3G MacBookPro usage: Aperture 3 (serious but not professionally - yet; need more time to make more pictures with 5D Mark II) Handbrake SABnzbd Quickbook Pro iTunes Safari Possibly video cutting (HD recorded with Canon 5D Mark II) VMWare or Parallels to run windows software (SAPGUI for Windows) Xcode development Gaming (Steam, and FPS like Far Cry)... I always think I might play games like in the good old Quake III days and then don't have time, but in case I want to play the hardware shouldn't keep me from running smoothly for a while, especially since some good games come to the Mac platform these days. Mac Mini usage: Plex (TV, movies, music) Plex Server Spam filtering with Spam Sweep Now I figured its time for my first Mac Pro, and I am looking at the two options below. Concerning the price I don't want to say that money is not an option, but I could afford the 12-core (plus memory, SSD, additional HD's if needed; I am aware to not buy the memory and HD's beyond the standard equipment from Apple directly), if it makes sense for me. I usually go for the high end rather than making compromises, but got some second thoughts after reading some of you guys recommending the 6-core since its faster in some situations (but only for Photoshop CS5, or also what I want to use it for??). Option 1. Two 2.93GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon Westmere (12 cores) 6GB (6X1GB) (for now) 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro Total: $6,648.00 Option 2. One 3.33GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon Westmere 3GB (3x1GB) 1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro Total: $4,148.00 So it would be exactly $2,500 difference between the two options... and I'm kinda talking myself into going for the 12-core so that I am not disappointed down the road for having picked something smaller (I intend to use this Mac Pro for *at least* the next 5 years... like the MBP has served me very well for the last four years, and will remain my backup laptop in case I have to work on the road). And here the questions that I couldn't get the answer for after going through other Mac Pro buying advice posts: Q1. Even though not all programs can utilize multiple cores, wouldn't the 12 core still be faster than a 6 core if multiple programs were running concurrently at the same time (for instance, 9 programs that can use only one core)? Or would it really make more sense for me to just get the 6-core (since the clock speed is higher)? Q2. Will it be possible to update the processor ("Sandy Bridge")?? I read somewhere that people are waiting for "Sandy Bridge" - Who's that girl and will it be possible to update a 6-core 3.33GHz? Could I maybe even upgrade the 12-core in a couple of years? Q3. Can the Mac Pro RAID card be added later in case I need it or would I have to buy it when ordering? Q4: How much memory do you guys think I should get for the 6-core or the 12-core considering my usage above? Thank you very much in advance for your advice. Bernard.