Additional RAM buys more bang than a faster processor. I upped my iTunes machine (shut up) to 16 GB; I could have gotten by with 8 but the mod date on my page file is months ago. I never hit it and I have 115,000 albums in my collection. But the increase made a huge difference, even without an SSD I get zero thrash.
WHY would anyone pay for Office?!? Microsoft doesn’t deserve the money. I’ll pay gladly for SQL Server, grudgingly for Visual Studio (these are on other machines where I do development) but Office? No way. There are bugs in Office that were in the original 16-bit apps before they were bundled into the suite. They keep piling on new features nobody cares about while leaving bugs in critical functionality like paragraph styles unfixed.
I’m doing technical writing now so I may have to relent on this and at least get Word but I have no use for Access or PowerPoint and Google Docs has all of Excel I will ever use.
Agreed about not installing crap; when I get a new machine I remove all the games, the DVD recorder, the other junk since many of them have background services and tray apps that check for a new version once a minute. I turn off most auto start services because I really don’t need the very latest Java.