The more you talk about your needs, the more it sounds like you are a real power user. You might just use Word & Firefox on most days, but your heavy days add VMware and real-time traffic sniffing.silentbobbo wrote:The second NIC is to sniff traffic from the switch for an application i use. Won't be doing it very often but may need to do it from a remote location hence always need the NIC connected
I would stick with the currently-recommended setup, as it spends your sub-$700 budget well. I would also start saving money for upgrades. The main upgrades would be Ivy Bridge and a SSD. Quad-core "Ivy Bridge" CPUs will be on the market in 9 months, so be sure to have $225 ready.
A SSD for Intel Smart-Response Technology should be 20-64 GB in size, Intel makes the 311 drive is 20GB and costs $110 but you might want something bigger. Intel Smart-Response Technology will only use a max of 64GB, and the Crucial M4 64GB costs about $180. Anand Lai Shimpi of Anandtech says that SSD prices should drop at 20-30% per year.
NICs can use 5 watts. The controller will only use a watt or less, but the MAC can use a lot of power. Some companies turn down the MAC to save power, and turn the MAC off when no cable is connected. I don't know if these Intel NICs have that feature.silentbobbo wrote:I don't think a NIC card should use more than a couple of watts, especially when not being used. I'll turn off the Ethernet port from the switch-side
The integrated video will not use power when you are not showing video. This is not controlled by having plugged-in devices on or off. It is controlled by the "Turn off the display" setting in "Edit plan settings" on your "Power options" under "Control Panel > Hardware and Sound" in Windows 7.silentbobbo wrote:Also, if I connect my computer's HDMI to TV and DVI to monitor but my TV and monitors are turned off, does the video card use any electricity?