For my first post on this forum, I want to thank all of the pros and enthusiasts here for helping me build the Mac I've always wanted. Here's what happened. Years ago I abandoned hope for the mythical "xMac" and, although a devoted Power Mac G4 and G5 user for years, I bought a 2007 20" iMac, which has been my primary computer until now. So I was definitely ready for an upgrade, even though the old iMac still runs like a champ. But it's slow and the 2600 graphics is meager for even light gaming. I'm an English professor by trade, but I do like to do some moderate gaming, music and video production, photo work in Pixelmator, and I spend a lot of time encoding in oXygen. The old Mac Pro always seemed to be overkill for me and not worth the price. Even more so now with the new Mac Pro. The xMac would have been my machine, but it will never come. Naturally, when I started shopping for a new Mac several months ago I started with the iMac. My budget was $1,800. I wanted an i7, at least a 256GB SDD, and 16GB ram. A 21.5" iMac with those specs is nearly $2,000! And it's not upgradable and comes with a measly graphics chip. So I looked at the 27" and retina iMac. Too expensive, non-upgradable, with mobile graphics. I thought to myself, there must be some other option to get exactly the specs I want for the right price. So I started reading the Mac Pro forums and discovered that the answer was there all along: the 4,1 or 5,1 Mac Pro. After reading just about every thread on the Mac Pro board, here's what I ended up putting together and what it cost: 2010 Mac Pro 2.8ghz quad core with Radeon 5770: $660 12GB 1333 OWC memory: $150 512 GB Crucial SSD: $200 Apricot Velocity Solo X2: $80 Dell S2340M 23" 1920x1080 monitor: $129 That's $1219 for a base system that runs circles around my old iMac and can be upgraded to my heart's content. And since I still hadn't reached my budget limit, I decided to beef it up even more to see what I could build for the same price as the 21.5" iMac. So I just added: 3.46 ghz 6-core X5690: $244 EVGA Geforce GTX 970: $339 Grand total: $1,802. Bingo! I couldn't be happier. The computer looks brand new, runs flawlessly and cool, and will last me at least another 5-7 years. Thanks to the members on this forum, the CPU upgrade was a piece of cake, and the Velocity X2 is great. I installed some old hard drives for Time Machine and media storage, and now I'm set. With smcfancontrol, even the most strenuous Handbraking job keeps the CPU in the mid 50s. And the GTX 970 is a wonder, even though the web drivers aren't optimized yet. Heck, the Radeon 5770 seemed great to me coming from an HD 2600. Thanks for helping me build the perfect Mac, for me. I'm sure the iMac would have been adequate, but it's just not as flexible, nor nearly as much fun as tinkering with the silver tank!