Advice on Aurora Rigs

Hey Guys:

I've got two boys, 12 and 11, who are in dire need of new computers. I would like to get them as advanced a desktop rig as possible, but I don't want to end up spending $8000 on computers for them. Given the standards of current games, can you guys make a suggestion about configurations? Currently, they are playing WoW (which can basically be run on a scientific calculator), Rift, Minecraft, etc. But I'd also like them to be prepared for other RPG/Strategy/FPS games in the coming couple of years without feeling like the rig is letting them down.

So, feel free to suggest configs. Also, some specific questions:

1. Is 8GB RAM enough, or should I shoot higher? 12? 16?

2. Video cards - Nvidia? I've had problems with ATI products in the past.

3. SSD verus standard HDs? Is there really a performance difference? Is it better to have a TB drive vs a 500G SSD?

Thanks in advance for your help.

A couple of years is a long time in computer terms. To be honest, I would spend a little on a computer that will suffice for now (obviously with enough to handle the next 6mths), but leave upgradability.

I have not got any specific configs right now, maybe later today I might.

But to answer your questions:
1. 8GB is enough if all you are doing is playing games. (just consider a motherboard that will support upto 16 or 32gb RAM, which I think most will now).
2. Nvidia is the easiest if you want to spend a little less time on drivers. But in saying that ATI has improved the catalyst drivers a lot recently. Me though, I prefer Nvidia. Nvidia specializes in 3D and ATI in multiple screens (at this stage).
3. I do not think that SSD is worth it. The kids can wait a couple of seconds while the games load.