Trying to get up to speed on newer stuff, looking for opinions

I built my last rig around 2002. She's still going strong too. Back when I built this machine (p4 2.5, geforce ti4200, still has a CRT monitor) pci express was just about to release. I really have no clue on power consumption or how to fiddle with memory latency or processor settings now and am looking for some good articles with info. Hell I've been considering buying prebuilt because it's like I went into a coma and woke up in a new futuristic world 5 years later.

I'm mainly interested in something that has enough horsepower to run command and conquer 3 full settings as it looks like generals on the 02 machine(Runs smooth as silk though). I also play ram intensive mmos from time to time. Then I also need something for work since I process videos of animal behaviors all day for a museum between formats and it takes me all night.

I've got $1500 in saved so far. However the article on the main page made me think on if I should hold that cash until it grows for next years new stuff. I'd probably have $2000 to spend a new monitor and comp. Or would I be better off just spending $600 on a meh PC and then dropping the other 1400 on a new one next year? Also what's the deal with vista so far? Worth using for now?

Any advice is appreciated thanks in advance.
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More about trying speed newer stuff opinions
  1. ok so 2k to spend on a new comp, here goes...(sorry no links right now)

    cpu - intel q6600 ~$270 from newegg

    mobo - gigabyte ga-p35-ds3r ~$130 from newegg

    video - 8800gts 320mb ~$280 from newegg

    case - your choice, choose something you like ~$100

    ram - 2gb crucial ballistix ~$110 from newegg

    psu - corsair 520hx ~$130 from newegg

    cd/dvd burner - lite on 20x ~$40 from newegg

    moniter - samsung 22in 225bw ~$300 from newegg

    keyboard/mouse - choose one you like, ~$50

    speakers - logitech x-230 2.1 ~$40 from newegg

    os - vista x64 home premium ~$120 from newegg

    cpu cooler - tuniq tower 120 ~$60 from newegg

    so total comes to ~$1630

    possible upgrades with the remainder:

    8800gtx instead of 8800gts - +$220

    ga-p35c-ds3r instead of ga-p35-ds3r - +$30

    another dvd burner - +$40

    22in samsung to 24in samsung - +$200

    4gb ram instead of 2gb ram - +$110

    or spend more on keyboard, mouse, and case

    so with 2k there are all kinds of possiblities this is just one use of the money
    and i would build now, because no matter what a month after you build new computer, it isn't new anymore
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