Re: Need advice on new desktop
I second (or is it third) the SSD idea.
They are reliable enough, in my experience, more so than hard drives - I run a couple of HDD raid arrays, and I have a failed drive about once per year - I have had about 10 SSD's over the last 5 years, and not had a failure yet. This is still a small sample, so as you should always do, have a good backup plan/procedure.
In regards to everthing else, even a low end modern machine would do that work no problem today. 10 years ago, sure, a decent machine would give far better perfomance compared to its peers, but today? Computers have came so far that a top of the line machine today will produce greatly dimished returns compared to what a top of the range machine would do 10 years ago.
Get a good mid-ranged machine, say an i5 CPU (Even an i3 would be up to the job). Get a load of RAM (it's cheap - 8GB would do nicely as a starting point), and get the SSD. There are many low end, discrete, graphics card that can do multi-monitors. If you don't need to 3D processing power (and you don't say you do anything that would need it), then don't waste the money on a top of the range graphics card - just get one with enough outputs for what you need.
DVD Burning, any machine can do that today while multi-tasking, without any issues.
So, your looking for a machine with:
~ 8GB of RAM,
Core i5 (or i3 CPU)
DVD-RW (Some new machines don't come with any optical drive. I say it's a bit premature, but some manufacturers are pushing it to go the way of the floppy drive).
Delta: "What's wrong Chris?? Chris: "I miss my old Cyrix"