My first PC was an HP Pavilion 7125. It was considered a "clone" because it wasn't made my IBM. 133MHz processor and 16MB of RAM. 1.62GB harddrive.
It cost me $3200.
A couple of years later I built my own computer one high-end part at a time over a period of six weeks. Damn thing was nearly obsolete by the time I finished it.
Most of my computers since then have been cobbled together from junk parts. drax0r is a notorious early-adopter and had motherboards & CPUs literally strewn across the floor of his house. I would often wade through his useless discarded shit, and fashion entire systems from them.
My longest-lasting computer was a "future-proof" system drax0r and I build for our use at Wild Damn Texan six-years ago, and I'm still using that system today. In fact its 10,000 rpm "Raptor" is in my new box.
More recently glodowg deserves a place of honor in my heart for she unloads untold amounts of technology on me - none of which goes to waste. If I'm not propping up my own systems, I often find myself building systems for those who have none.
My newest computer is an 8MB cache 4 x 3.42GHz (Quad-Core) 64-bit AMD Phenom II X4 965 cooled by a large copper "heat-pipe" style heat sink and 6GB DDR2/667MHz memory in dual-channel mode (expandable to 8GB DDR2/1066) on an Asus motherboard with an "instant-on" web & chat enabled BIOS.
The primary drive is a 7200rpm 16MB cache 1TB drive with a 36GB 10k Raptor hosting VMware clients as well as the system's 9GB swap file and a 7200rpm 16MB cache 500GB iTunes volume. I was surprised to find that the 680W power supply included only a single SATA power connector, but hats off once again to drax0r and glodowg. An Nvidia GT220 with 1GB memory provides graphics and all of this is stuffed into an aluminum Thermaltake "Tsunami Dream" case.
My cost: $500.
But only because I reused existing RAM and harddrives. Yes schpydurx, I know that DDR3 is faster. When you win the lottery, you can buy all the DDR3 you want.
Since this freed up my existing primary box(es), I ran out to Best Buy and picked up a power supply and built each of my children a new Win7 box, enabled Parental Controls, installed all of our games on them, and with enough cajoling, got catttitude to play a couple of games with us! Historic. All four of us, playing Warcraft III and Jedi Outcast. The kids loved it.
My wife bitching because I don't have four scroll-wheels mouses and she ended up on a box with a trackball...and my son fragging her everytime she respawned. My daughter apologizing to her mother for attacking her village, but her brother told her to because they were on the same team.
What more could I possibly ask for?
And now a word about the Windows Experience Index. The computer I just replaced got the same score. Why is that? Because its rated on the lowest sub-score. Forget that my CPU & memory are mere tenths from the highest possible score of 7.9 (Where's your DDR3 now, bitch?) but my new gaming card can't handle ALL THAT DESKTOP PERFORMANCE FOR WINDOWS AERO AWESOME.
I'm not even going to get into how *insane* that is, but I'll tell you why I don't care:
I still run my Desktop in "Classic" mode. With Aero turned off.
I do love me some Win7 though :P