My 2007 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo is showing its age. Editing and rendering a 10 minute 720p video takes close to an hour in iMovie. Even YouTube videos are becoming problematic. It's safe to say that I'm ready for some quad-core action. Here's the deal, I just built a powerful $1500 gaming PC i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core + GTX570 so I'm finding it a tad bit difficult dropping $3K on a decked out 27" i7 when comparing the power to price ratio. I do everything on my Mac except gaming. Editing, movies, music, console game capturing and soon, I'll be moving my audio only podcast to a skype video format by utilizing the iSight's 720p recording ability and capturing that with ScreenFlow along with Final Cut Pro X for editing. Are there drastic differences in performance between the i5/3.1GHz and i7/3.4GHz besides the $200 price? Is video rendering all processor based or does the video card (6970M 1GB vs 2GB) play a major role here? Finally, all of my media including my iTunes library is on 3TB externals so my internal is strictly for OSX. When configuring a build on the site, they have the option for a 256GB SSD [Add $500]. Does that mean that by choosing this option you only get an SSD and that's it? My Win7 machine is very snappy so I'm aware of the performance boost by having an SSD but is it a must? Basically, I need to make the best financial decision for the performance as this new iMac will more than likely last me as long as my first one did. Thank you for your input.