It makes little sense when you get the full warranty (even an extra year if you use AMEX) for a new one that provides the extra HDMI connections you desire.

Rotel has very nice sounding rigs IME and O. You may find some of the current receivers to have less of a "warm" sound. Going from $300-500 won't necessarily give you better quality. It will only give you more features, most of which you might not care about. YMMV.

You could look at some of the mid-priced Onkyo & Denons if you want more of a bang for your buck. Unless you have more specific feature requests than HDMI & 5.1, why don't you do some window shopping, find a few models you like and post back here with questions/specific recommendations between models/brands A/B/C, etc.? Reading reviews @ Amazon as well as more AV focused sites such as AVS forum may help you too.