Avast Thar Mateys,
Being the newest tribe member to jump on the Macbook Pro bandwagon (pun intended), Aye have a few opinions. 8 GB of RAM is great, but don't use Apple memory as they charge a Pyrate's ransom for it. As far as the i7 duo or i7 quad, the quad will be just a hair faster, but most people won't be able to tell the difference. Aye puchased the i5 13 inch display with 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB HD, which Aye have connected to me USB 2 and firewaire 800 external HDs. So far Aye have not had any problems with latency issues, but Aye not be through programming stuff yet. An SSD should be 256 GB or higher and be SATA 3 or higher. Lacie is coming out with a Thunderport HD this summer. Pricing is expected to be approximately $200.00 for a 1TB external. A 256 SSD with 8GB RAM and a 1-3 TB thunderport external HD would absotively scream. By Neptune's Trident, Aye would love to do something like that, but Aye must upgrade me Jolly Roger Zendrum first.
Fair Winds and Following Seas,