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What's the current hardware situation?

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It's been four years and I'm thinking it's about time to get a new computer. Problem is, I haven't really kept up with what the current hardware out there is - when I put together my current system a Core2Duo was still near top of the line and 2GB of RAM was plenty. I played around with selecting every top of the line bit of equipment just to see the price and it was about 3k, which seems a bit steep when I'm not needing a new monitor!

I'd like to reasonably future proof for 3-4 years without going overboard on top of the line gear that'll never see it's full potential with me.

Who're currently seen as faster/more stable, intel or AMD? What are considered to be mid-high end processors these days? Are Quad Core still where it's at?
What's a good amount of RAM for Windows 7 where other than games I'm not going to be doing really intensive stuff? 4GB?
Who're the current leaders in graphics cards? Last I checked ATI were out in front but that changes all the time.

Just so I don't wind up accidentally getting a dud, who's considered a really stable motherboard manufacturer? I'm using a Gigabit one and I've never had a hardware problem so I'd like that trend to continue!

Last but not least, what's the advantage of 64bit over 32bit Windows7? Which is the better option in a new computer?

Thanks in advance!
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