So I finally got around to ordering a new system. This will be the first pre-fab desktop I've purchased since the IBM PS/1 486 my grandfather bought back in the early 90's. Every single system I've had since then I've built myself.
My initial system build came in at over $4000. Yikes! I managed to pare that back to about half by dropping silly stuff like BD-R, 15,000 RPM SAS hard drives, RAID-5, dual video cards, a PhysX card and a kilowatt power supply, then spent at least an hour finagling things to squeeze out the maximum value.
The final specs:
Dell XPS 420
Intel Quad-core 2.4 GHz, 1066MHz FSB
4G Dual-channel 800MHz DDR2 RAM
2 500G SATA hard drives, RAID-1
ATI Radeon HD3870 512MB GDDR4
16X DVD+/-RW DL
Integrated 7.1 audio
ATI Theater 650 Pro TV Tuner
19-in-1 media reader with Bluetooth
56K Fax modem
Windows Vista Ultimate
Office Small Business 2007