My MBP is about 6 years old and seems to rainbow pinwheel more and more frequently (reminding me of my PC/Spinning Hourglass days and the reason i switched to Mac in the first place). I recently did a complete wipe of the drive and reinstall of the OS and apps...yet it still seems to get confused and need time to think (2.33GHz IC2D, 3GB 667Mhz DDR2 SDRAM, 500GB Seagate HDD with ~200GB Free). So, I've decided that it will be relegated to just surfing on the couch and that I'll get a new iMac. However, I would like the forum's opinion(s) on my iMac options, given my intended use(s). I'm thinking of getting a 27", 3.4Ghz, 8GB RAM, SSD + HDD(?). Here's what I currently use my MBP (and will use my future iMac) for: I DO NOT game....EVER. Just not my thing. So, all of the RAM, GPU/Graphics Cards, etc. associated with gaming is of no use to me,....However... I have a lot of multi-media files (1M+ pictures....240,000 songs....1,000's of movie clips, etc., etc.). I like to dabble with (and would like to do more with) iMovie, FCP, Aperture, Lightroom 3, Flash, etc....(which I know are processor intensive). I tend to surf the net a lot and can have 50 tabs open at a time in a browser. I utilize "Spaces" and will almost always have multiple things open in each space. I'll number my questions/situations/dilemmas so that posters can reply to a specific item: I'm leaning towards getting a 256GB SSD for my boot drive and all of my apps. From what I understand, this is a good idea for a number of reasons:...no moving parts...faster read/write/access times....fast boot times....etc., etc. Am I correct in my understanding that this would be the better drive to have (vs. a HDD) as my boot drive? Do the benefits listed above warrant the ~$500 price tag? Should I spend the money to get a large (internal, obviously) HDD for storage? I have many external HDD's (1x750GB, 1x1TB, 2x2TB), so storage is not an issue. I was wondering if I should just get a small internal HDD, sell most/all of my current external HDD's, and get an external 2TB Thunderbolt drive that I can do a RAID set up on (to house all of my non-app things like photos, music, etc.)....thus the iMac would house the OS and the apps on the SSD, and everything else would be stored on/sourced from the external (Thunderbolt) drive. Thoughts? Is it true that Apple is starting to design iMacs so that you have to use their HDD's specifically (re: upgrading in the future)? If not, and I decide to get a small internal HDD, how hard will it be for me to swap the drive to a bigger one should I ever decide to sell my iMac? Do you think given my non-gaming (yet video/photo editing uses) that I'd need more than 8GB of RAM? Either way, should I just get the bare minimum from Apple and do aftermarket RAM? If so, whom do you recommend I buy it from? Is a Quad-core chip the highest thing available for the iMac (currently)? If not, would I have a need for a 6-core or 12-core since I don't game? I'm assuming that since I don't game and don't do Desktop Publishing/Graphics for a living, that I should stay with an iMac and not look into building a Mac Pro, correct? I've seen some companies on the web/ebay that will custom build an iMac with the buyer's specifications? Is there any benefit/detriment to doing this? Obviously, when you buy New from Apple your machine is...well...New, from Apple (w/ a warranty). The custom-build companies tend to be a little less expensive and also offer a 1 year warranty. Has anybody bought a custom Mac from a non-Apple company? Any feedback/education would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, J.