In my laptop career, I went from from Centrino to Core 2 Duo to i5. Never noticed much difference in performance. Well, with the last one, I also got the mentioned SSD and it blew my mind. And I was wondering, besides the famous Samsung SSD in RAID movie, I haven't heard much about it, nor seen impressed geeks writing poems about its awesomeness. Sure, people are testing how faster it is and arguing about the fact if it consumes less battery or more. But who cares, what you really want to know is if it makes a significant difference or not.
So trust me on this one: nothing will make more difference in personal computer performance than a Solid-state drive. By miles. Lightyears even. And while I know they are expensive as gold, I still think you should consider getting one with your new computer. They are worth every penny. If you're not a hardcore gamer, make movies or process calculations with thousand of parameters, you really don't need an extremely capable processor and a state-of-the-art graphic card. Memory, you need that, but it's cheap. What you need the most is a Solid-state drive. Casual user or one of the mentioned.
There's always a downside. After some time, Solid-state drives supposedly start to behave a bit slower and are still not as reliable as hard disks. Luckily, most of these problems have been taken care of with the current generations, so we'll see what happens. At this point, all I can say is that I'm very very impressed and think that SSDs deserve much more than just this post. They're pure win. And another item for your wish list.