Anywho, I have 3 choices in upgrading right now.
1. Upgrade the OS, keep the current hardware. I'd need to buy two new hard drives (because I must have RAID) so I can easily fall back to the old OS just in case. About $300 for 2 hard drives, my SO has a spare XP license.
Pros: Cheapest route possible.
Cons: CPU is obsolete (Pentium 4 HT), motherboard drivers are no longer updated. Switching back to old OS will require reinstalling old drives.
2. Build an entirely new machine, salvaging a few parts (DVD burner) from old machine. This will run about $1400 for an Intel Xeon quad-core system with XP, nearly $2000 if I go with Vista Ultimate and Office 2007 Pro.
Pros: DIY pride, slightly cheaper than pre-assembled, all parts are known and easy to replace.
Cons: Warranty on individual parts usually quite short. Construction somewhat time consuming, any mistakes cost money.
3. Buy a Dell Precision. No consumer-grade Inspiron crap. This will run about $2600 for a Core 2 Quad system with Vista Ultimate and Office 2007 Pro, $2200 for XP Pro with no Office.
Pros: 3 year warranty minimum, available accidental damage warranty. Fully assembled and tested, hardware conflicts highly unlikely.
Cons: Most expensive, Dell has crappy cases, sometimes use proprietary parts