APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP as soon as I get a good build list & windows 7 is available
BUDGET RANGE: It is the company's money so price isn't much of a factor, but I'd like to keep it reasonable for a workstation <$2500 ???
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Adobe CS4, AutoCAD, Multitasking, Network Administration
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard (G11), Mouse (Habu), 3 Monitors (DVI)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, CDW, Microcenter in person/online, USA online vendors
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel processor, dual/tri monitor setup (DVI)
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe if necessary
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe if necessary
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 3 monitors @ 1680x1050 via DVI currently. In the future I'd like to upgrade to one 24" monitor + 1 extra
I would like to have the physical build completed by the time windows 7 is released. Quiet operation is a plus. I would like my programs to launch as fast as possible. I would like to try SSD for my primary + and additional fast drive for storage. I would also like to try dual nics either onboard MB or room for an add on card. I would like to have an upgrade path for the future. Upgrades along the way are not a problem, but getting a whole new system is like pulling teeth around here. I'm currently running a P4 from 2003.
definitely wait for the Radeon 5870, There's even rumors of a 5870 X2 by year's end. Though since your company and work is built around graphics tasks, shouldn't you be thinking about a workstation class card like a ATI FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro?
Since you're thinking about future upgrades, that definitely makes the x38 boards the best fit for you. An intel i7 950 would be a good choice, 920 if you want to be modest in what you ask for from the company.
for hard drives, best SSDs are the second gen of intel SSDs if you can find them. Next alternative would be the OCZ Vertex.
For the rest, I'd guess you're looking at an i7 system with 6 gb of ram (12 if you want to splurge). I've seen some motherboards with dual built in NICs but don't know of a specific one to point you at. I'd start poking around newegg for any combo deals and add them to this post if you want more input.
Oh yeah, about the dual NICs, you have to be sure your board supports port teaming, port aggregation, or whatever the manufacturer wants to call it. Also, you need to be sure that you're connecting to a switch that supports this functionality too. If you're using stuff at work, it's probably a high quality Cisco one that will certainly have all the bells and whistles, but it would be worth confirming before you waste time on a feature that will never work.
There's no reason to buy a Spinpoint F1. The Samsung Spinpoint F3 is brand new and uses a single 500GB platter design, better performance with the higher data density per platter. the Spinpoint F1 uses 2x 250GB platters. Since the F3 is cheaper to produce, it's usually priced around $55 also.
As for cases, I'd go with a full sized tower since they are easier to work with. Antec 1200 is probably the current standard that all other full towers are judged against so I'd start looking there. there are nicer cases out there, but you will pay more for them.