Thx guys. Wasn't expecting so much good feedback since I didn't even think anybody read this sub-forum.
@pgtips: I suck at math
... I just read the usage of a file I was working on at the time, but that file was a cropped B&W TIFF, so I should have been more careful in that regard.
@Orsan Kart: They are huge, and I doubt I need it all, but I have seen the difference between 8bit and 16bit TIFFs (haven't noticed any changes with DPI though since I usually stick above 300), particularly in shadow detail. The printing place uses Epson Stylus Pro 9900's (I think). Might be all in my head, but I don't want to throw away bits for marginal gain (I tested it, better but still slow) when I could simple upgrade (although I have the 12bit RAW files). Also, my mainboard only supports 4GB DDR2 so that's a dead end
@thelostswede: This is the first I'm hearing about this, but I can imagine that first gen boards will be buggy and expensive. Though, I will see what reviewers are saying.
@Lorride: Not sure 7 secs is a big deal, but when put in a real world scenario, you can have 2 possibilities, either the difference gets minimized or amplified. I'm thinking it might get amplified since my computer, regardless of what I choose, won't be spec'd to the hilt, so every little thing will add up.
Thanks all, you've given me much to think about. I'll check around on newegg and see what makes sense financially since I guess any option I choose will be far better than what I have now. Especially since I want to upgrade to CS5 in the near future.
P.S. It's hard to spend money on something that isn't a lens