Thanks for your replies guys.
MS SCCM/MDT vs Novell Zen: The deciders have decided on Zen10. I'd prefer SCCM myself, but we have a Zen Master here who knows a bit more about them both than I do.
We have about 13 images. So I really dont want to push Adobe CS5, Visual Studio 2010, Solidworks 2010, Steam + games + SDK's, Autodesk Suite (just to name a few) to more than half of those images.
After having a look at some new processes yesterday, it appears I may have to sysprep about 3-4 times.
That should last my building process near the start of 2011 semester and any fixes/patches/new software will have to be pushed out.
Edit: Another thing, while sysprep is running and reboots first time, if I fail to capture the image before windows starts, that gold image has become useless and will need to be either sysprep'd again, or rebuilt. I'd prefer the former.