Currently I'm using a computer that was built in 2003 - AMD Athlon XP 2500, Asus A78NX Deluxe MB, 2.5GB of OCZ DDR2 Ram, 160gb WD SATA2 drive, 100gb WD EIDE drive, ATI 9500 PRO 128mb video card, etc.... All running Windows XP and to tell you the truth- the system still runs pretty smoothly with only 2 or 3 re-formats over the years.
When I first built it, I played games and did some video editing- but now I use the PC mostly for Web Development- dreamweaver cs4, photoshop cs (my current processor doesn't currently support photoshop cs2 or greater), acdsee pro, as well as general applications (filezilla, putty, and other low-resources intensive apps.)
In 2005 I upgraded to an excellent monitor, a Dell Ultrasharp 2005FP Wide Flat Panel - a 20inch flat screen with a great picture that costed me $599 shipped using a slickdeals coupon/special link.
As I continue to get further into php and web development, I think it's time for an update. I'd really like to get a second monitor, start using Windows 7, and be able to support the newer version of photoshop.
So, I ask you guys, the experts- what would you recommend? I want something fast, but do I really need an i7 for my setup? Is the cost of a SSD for the operating system or the expense of an additional hard drive to be used as a scatch disk really worth it or even necessary? (I'm not opening huge raw files)
Also, in regards to monitors- Dell stopped making the 2005FP years ago. I'm worried if I go w/ 2 non-identical monitors the colors may be off, even slightly. - Do I need to buy a special monitor calibrator?
Any suggestions you guys can give are really welcomed. I'd like to keep the costs down, but also want this system to last. (My computer has been going strong for 7+ years <knock on wood> and the only enhancements was the addition of some memory and the SATA drive a few years ago.)
How much hard drive space do I need? What motherboard/cpu/video card/power supply/case/memory would you suggest? Also, what monitor(s) would you suggest and what do you think of expensive surge protectors or APC units?