Hey all, I'm considering an upgrade from my pre-Unibody Macbook Pro, and since I've got an iPad, I've found the laptop doesn't leave my desk all that much. So I says to myself "Self, maybe its time you go back to a tower...". Four drive bays is a seductive concept indeed. The configuration I'm considering is the 3.33 hexacore model, a modest (and slowly expanding - I'm on a student's budget) amount of RAM, and something akin to the following HD configuration: - SSD Boot/App Drive (Snow Leopard) - 1 TB 7200rpm HD (Windows 7) - 2 TB 7200rpm HD (OSX Data) -or- - WD Velociraptor Drive (OSX/Win7 Boot and App drive, partitioned) - 1 TB 7200rpm HD (Windows 7 Data) - 2 TB 7200rpm HD (OSX Data) They're about the same, price wise, so its a contest between trying to decide on "Good for Both" versus "Great For One, Good for the Other" with an eye to eventually add a Windows 7 SSD. What am I going to use this all for? Science! No, seriously. I'm a graduate student, and I'll be using this machine for the bulk of my dissertation time. I'm in a math/statistics heavy field, so on the Windows side I'll be using SAS pretty hard, and on the Mac side...statistics programs (R), my own simulations in Python/C++ and the like. I have a weakness for simulations, so I tend to have large data sets and, well, I make my computer do alot of math. I also game. I'll admit, most of my time is spent on WoW, WAR or Starcraft, and I own an XBox 360, so the gaming side of things is definitely peripheral, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I wouldn't appreciate a decently performing gaming system (with the acknowledgement that it is a Mac, and that is what it is). So I was thinking the ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB. Some questions that come to mind for me: 1. Any rumors that new graphics card options will be coming soon that will help the gaming side of things? My understanding is the 5870 is middle of the road, and the nVida Quadro 4000 isn't much of a gaming card - not to mention mind bogglingly expensive. 2. Opinions on the two HD setups? Anything glaringly obvious I'm missing? The performance degradation of SSDs is making me skittish - are people having good luck with the OWC drives? 3. Is it even *possible* to buy the hexacore MP from somewhere like Amazon? 4. I'm balking at the $720 jump from a Nehalem to Westmere processor. The clock speeds are pretty close - is the 6-core machine apt to show enough performance jump that I'll go "yeah, that was worth it"? How upgradable are MP processors these days - a year or two down the line, when I have a bit more cash, can I nudge it upward?