My Vista gaming machine shit the bed last night. I've spent a couple of hours trying to track down the problem, but it's clear it's more than just a loose part or an easy fix. Probably a dead motherboard. I swore this would be the last PC I ever built, as I no longer have the mental stamina to handle it all. And I think that is going to go for buying new parts to troubleshoot this machine. I'll tear it down and sell the parts I can confirm are good.
I need a Windows machine, not just for gaming but to test all the Windows software and hardware that comes through. I desperately wanted a Mac Pro — swore it was going to be my next desktop — but I just can't justify spending $3k or so on a machine that will have less gaming performance than a generic PC that costs $1000. (Granted, it has other charms, but I'm not rendering HD video every day or doing other things that might warrant an 8-core system.)
So I'm going pre-built this time. I priced out a Dell XPS. Didn't like what I could get. Using CyberPowerPC.com's configurator I was able to knock together a pretty fantastic desktop PC with more polygon oomph than my now-dead one for about $900 before shipping. I was about to pull the trigger until I realized I'm not really abreast of where to buy pre-built custom machines as I've always built mine from parts.
Any suggestions? I'm looking for a pretty straight-ahead machine, dual core Intel, probably an ATI 48xx-series card, a modest power supply and as clean and unadorned case as I can possibly find. I'd like to buy from a place that lets me pick out my hardware but can still offer a warranty.