Originally Posted by Person99
As mentioned above, the optical swap really does make the iMac viable for 99% of the folks out there. The vast majority don't need more that a couple 2 TB drives. This frees your FW port up for your interface. Simply put your optical drive and external backup drives on USB ports.
Bottom line: Given OP's usage, there is a 98-99% chance an i7 iMac would work for OP especially if willing to do the optical swap. I can get over 40 tracks of software instruments each with a Space Designer insert and not have to freeze any tracks on it! A comparable Mac Pro system with an inferior monitors will cost you $1500 more than the i7. I can think of a bunch of good uses for that $1500.
The screen on this thing is extremely nice looking. I've not even bothered to hook up a second monitor to mine yet because I find the workspace pretty usable (was used to 2 1600x1200 monitors). You have to spend almost as much as an iMac just to get a comparable screen--and I tell you, after working on this screen, the LCDs from Dell, Sony, and the screen makers just look soft and lifeless!
You can get the EXACT same panel used in the iMac 27" from Dell. It's called the u2711. It's 1099 at the moment, but it should drop to the 800 range in short order I imagine. Shipping in February.
Remember, it's not an Apple monitor, it's simply an LG panel that others will use. HP will have a model soon as well.