My name is Drew, and I am in the market to upgrade my Mac Pro, as well as purchase a laptop. This is essentially a repost of a topic on a different forum, but I want to try and get as many different opinions as possible before I make a desicion. If I am breaking any major rules, feel free to scream at me.

Last summer, I purchased a Mac Pro. Here are some of the adjustments that I made:

+400GB 7200 RPM WD Hard Drive

Thus far, I have loved every minute of it. However, this summer, I have some extra cash, and I am thinking of upgrading some more portions of it. Before I ask about specific components, I will give a little bit of background on what I do.

I am primarily a CG Artist. I work mainly with 3D Modeling and Animation (which I will get to later), while also working with 2D Animation, large-format print editing, vector illustration, and video editing.

I have rarely encountered problems with my computer "hanging," but there have been instances, and I would like to know if there is anything that I could do to speed my machine up. Here are things that I am looking into purchasing:

-Faster Hard Drive (10000 RPM+?)

-Another Graphics Card

-4GB More RAM

I know I need specific parts, but is there anyone here who can point me in the right direction as to speeding up things? As I said, I work mainly with 3D Modeling and Animation, so render times are a big deal for me.

I have also been thinking on getting a second monitor...is there anyone here who can attest to how good/bad of an idea that is?

For my final issue with my Mac Pro...and this is terrible...I, through my education, have been taught 3DS Max. Therefore, I typically elect to use 3DS Max for all my 3D Needs. However, I have had issues for the better part of a year with 3DS Max and Boot Camp. This is not the issue that I am inquring about, but rather, I want to know if anyone has experience with Mac Pros and Windows XP 64-Bit/Vista 64-Bit. I assume that my render times and processing times in general will be greatly reduced with 64-Bit Windows, but I am not sure. Is there anyone who can share experience with this?

Whoo...that's a lot to take in. Sorry about the novel, for anyone who is still reading, and I want to thank you in advance for your help. I have one final matter to attend to...

My school is currently instituting a new Laptop program, where students need to bring their own Laptop and software to class. I have no problem with this, other than the fact that I just spent $4000 on a desktop last summer. I am currently in the market for a Laptop, and I am leaning HEAVILY toward a Macbook Pro. I am mainly wanting to use this computer for class, and to work on things while I am traveling. I would like to be able to do a generous amount of 3D stuff on this laptop, but not necessarily render entire projects. Would it be sufficient to purchase the base Macbook Pro, and possibly put a bit more RAM in it? I am wanting this laptop to be able to do a good amount of CG work, but I also want it portable (read: 15-inch, long as possible battery life...I know CG stuff can greatly diminish battery power). At first, I was leaning more toward the Macbook, but for 3D, I feel like it will totally fail me. Also, does anyone here have experience with Apple refurb products? I have seem some relatively cheap Macbook Pros coming up lately, and that piqued my interest.

Anyway, thank you for reading all this, and I hope to hear from some of you soon!