I'm currently using a dell laptop (pentium M 2gHz, 1gb ram). It is about time to switch and I am considering an iMac 24", 2,8gHz, 4gb ram. I will be using it mainly for music production in Ableton Live and Pro Tools, but also for lightroom/photoshop and a little 3D work in Sketchup and Maxwell render.

My concern goes as follows: Will the 2,8 gHz Core 2 Duo processor be enough for extensive plug-in use in Live and Pro Tools (especially Waves' SSL package and various relatively processor heavy soft synths)?

The alternative is a Core 2 Quad PC, but I really don't want to mess with Vista. But I NEED to know, that the iMac will do the job at the moment, my laptop have troubles handling 5-7 tracks in Live with a good load of plug-ins used... unfortunately my budget doesn't allow me to go for a Mac Pro.

- which leads to two other questions: Can Live and Pro Tools even take advantage of the power of four cores? And if so, when is it realistic to expect a Quad Core processor in the iMac?

... thanks in advance, everyone