I'm in the same boat. Trying to figure out what kind of system I want to put together. Presently using a couple of coolers and a blichmann burner, which all work well, but I'd like to (as one usually does when obsessed with a hobby) take it to the next level. Debating brewstand style (vertical or single tier) and RIMS/HERMS/etc.
I've brewed a couple of times with people who have had the blichmann top tier setups, but not using any type of automation. I like the modularity of it, but I think I like the concept of a single tier system better.
Where are you located? I'm in Bellmore.