Thanks for the input! The consensus from everywhere / one that I've asked seems to be the P4...either that or they try to switch me to getting a Mac Mini heh.
Setishock: Thanks for the advice...I live in Ontario / Nova Scotia (School) and the weather is for the most part pretty calm so we don't have lightning storms very often, though on occaison they do happen, and I know people that have had their computers fried, so I will definitly be taking your advice as a "just in case" if I purchase a system. Now snow storms is something else...not sure what kind of damage they could do, but better safe than sorry
Rakedog: You seem to be among many that are not a fan of Windows or Intel... I've been prodded many times to switch to Linux but it's too much fiddling for me. (I don't know if that's what you use...if there's more OS other than those and MAC, I don't know about them :P)
Lurkswithin: The only reason that I want the flat panel monitor is because I move around alot between home, work, and school, so it would be lighter and smaller to move (I think?). I'm also used to using a laptop, so anything is better than a 14" screen
It's all good stuff...thanks!!