Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: by end of year (to take advantage of Black Friday sales)
Budget Range: Around $1500 or less
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Creative Suites 6, Photo editing, some gaming. I also run Virtual Machines and multitask .
Are you buying a monitor: I will be using the dual monitors I already have
Do you need to buy OS: Yes, Windows 7 Home Premium (can use my student discount for this)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com, have CDW, Tiger, and MicroCenter locations in the area
Location: City, State/Region, Country - Antioch IL US (near the Wisconsin border)
Parts Preferences: by brand or type: prefer Intel Processors, and Nvida video cards due to past issues with ATI/AMD products
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: 1440x900 on both monitors
Additional Comments: Creative Suites 6, Virtual Machines, I play games, but not high-end online games, the most I would get is the upcoming new version of SimCity
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I have no real issues with my current computer, but I cannot find one that meets my needs and wants currently on the market. Want to have room to upgrade if needed later on.
I have dual montiors that both connect to HDMI. Since there are no dual HDMI cards, I use an adapter to use the DVI for one of them. I have found that dual DVI + HDMI is configured better to allow for the adapter.
With regard to the i5 vs i7 consideration. It really only makes a difference to the speed of some processes/software, that use hyperthreading, like Adobe editing software. The question is, do you do enough of that, for a speed increase to justify the additional cost, of i7 over i5. Most "routine" processes gain virtually nothing, from i7.
Especially if you have a local Microcentre, where they currently have a walk-in deal, you can save around $140 with i5 (less elsewhere). Nothing else, in the build, would need to be changed, if using, say, i5-3470.
Thank you both for the good suggestions, especially the cost savings.
I am a student and I have a personal website, so actually I do use Adobe software quite a bit. Even with multiple programs open at once, it really makes no impact on the system I have now.
I chose i7 because that is what I have now, and for the hyperthreading. I am just not sure I can justify the cost. The most expensive parts of this are the processor and the graphics card. While I will not sacrifice on the graphics card, I think that realistically I can on the processor without losing too much of what I am looking for, which is the multitasking with large programs.