You've done a nice job of describing the V-I progression, and you've identified the resolution through half steps and whole steps. All of this is important to understanding why the V-I sounds so good, but it's not the whole story. There is something else that a V-I progression possesses which is not present in a I-V progression or a IV-I progression. In a V-I progression, the V chord contains a chord tone that resolves to the root of the I chord. This is a crucial distinction which allows the V chord to resolve strongly to the I chord.
For example, here's a V7-I resolution in C maj, taken from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony:
The V7 chord contains a
B which resolves to the root of the I chord,
By contrast, playing
| F maj | C maj | (a IV-I progression) would not be the same. The notes of the
F maj chord are
F A C, and the notes of the
C maj chord are
C E G. We can set up our chords so that:
F resolves down a half step to the
A resolves down a whole step to the
C remains a
As this shows, there are no notes from the IV chord (
F maj) which resolve up or down a step to the root of the I chord (
C maj). Rather, in this progression (with this particular voice leading), the tones of the IV chord only lead in to the 3rd and 5th tones of the I chord. To our ear, this IV-I resolution is weaker as the IV's chord tones provide no movement toward the root of the I chord. That movement toward the root of the I is present, though, in a V-I progression; in fact, our ear anticipates that movement/resolution of the chord tones, making the V-I progression even more natural sounding.
The instability of the V7 chord, as you've described, is largely due to the presence of a tritone (diminished fifth) interval in the V7 chord. In particular, the V7 chord contains both an
F (the seventh of the V7 chord) and a
B (the third of the V7 chord), and these two notes are 6 half notes apart. That particular interval has a quality of instability and dissonance that further drives the ear to desire resolution. This is part of why a I-V progression would not sound like a resolution.
When analyzing a progression, a key thing to look for is the particular chord tones involved in the resolution. For example, resolving to the root of the tonic creates stronger movement to the tonic than resolving to the fifth of the tonic.