I think i got a list of most of the parts i wanted from the local computer store, and it came up to about $750-$800, but that was _before_ adding in Windows, the assembly cost, and possibly the network card cost. (Do you still need to buy seperate ethernet cards, or have those gotten standardized onto the motherboard or some other component? I didn't see any shelves of network cards at the store but maybe i was just looking in the wrong spot.)
Meanwhile Costco has a Compaq that has most of what i want for $899 _and_ it comes with a 17" LCD monitor. I'd been planning to just not get a new monitor and use one of my old CRTs, but that's pretty tempting.
The drawbacks to the Costco one are that it has Windows XP "Media Center Edition" or something like that, rather than XP Professional like i want to get. What the hell _is_ the Media whatever version anyways?
It also has an AMD CPU rather than an Intel one. The only reason i really care is because i've heard that part of the reason why my laptop has trouble emulating old DOS games is because AMD chips can't handle the old memory requirements correctly. However most places i've checked the Intel systems are more expensive than the equivalent AMD systems, so i may just give up on that. It also has a somewhat mediocre integraded graphics card, rather than the somewhat better graphics card i'd like to get.
I tried checking out the Costco and Compaq websites. For a little over $900 i can get XP Professional, a slightly better and i believe non-integrated graphics card (hopefully meaning future upgrades would be easier) but with only a 15" LCD monitor. Or if i want to go back to the old CRT idea it would be a little over $700. Of course the question is how much they would charge for shipping in that case. Doing it through the Costco website came up with a slightly higher price, but i wonder if that includes the shipping to their location?
Of course as usual if it costs less than you expect you have to wonder where they're saving the money. It would be nice to know what kind of reputation Compaq has before i put too much more effort into the research.