I am now still using an old (5-6 years old) Dell Dimension 4600 P4 2.4G 2GRAM
Now, I am considering to buy or build a new one. I mainly use it for programming (Fortran, Matlab, R), p2p (online video), web-surfing etc. I play games occasionally (most of them are old ones, starcraft, warcraft heroes IV etc.)
I am always curious to ask: is it worth to build a new one? see the pre-built by Dell: Is it worth to build your own?
I am a newbie and never build my own system (I have fairly good knowledge of maintenance with HD, Optical drives, RAM etc).
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1, 64-Bit edit
OFFICE SOFTWARE Microsoft Works 9.0 edit
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 2Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis edit
SECURITY SOFTWARE McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months edit
MEMORY 6GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 4 DIMMs edit
HARD DRIVE 500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache edit
OPTICAL DRIVE 16x DVD+/-RW w/ dbl layer write capable + 16x DVD-ROM Drive edit
MONITOR 20" Dell ST2010 HD Monitor edit
VIDEO CARD 1024MB nVidia GeForce GT220 edit
SOUND CARD Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio edit
SPEAKERS No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system) edit
KEYBOARD Dell Studio Consumer Multimedia Keyboard edit
MOUSE Dell Studio Optical Mouse edit
DATASAFE ONLINE BACKUP Dell Online Backup 2GB for 1 year edit
ALSO INCLUDED WITH YOUR SYSTEM
Studio XPS 8000 Studio XPS 8000
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0 Multi-Language
It's totally better to build your own, it sounds like you really know how to manage your OS and keep a computer in good health for a long while, five years is pretty good. My last home built P4 lasted me 11 years! Since I've built my ultimate computer that I'm currently using, and I also built a pretty bad ass gaming system for the downstairs too using the case from my old P4, the optical drives and HD's from that computer.
It is a LGA 775 socket Core 2 Duo 3.33ghz processor with a 1333mhz fsb, an ASUS Striker MoBo, with a 1 gig 800mhz GPU, and 6 Gigs of RAM for around 600 bucks! It can actually be cheaper to build your own you see! And in your case a worthwhile investment. Plus you just don't come close to seeing the type of quality as far as parts go when you build compared to what a box computer comes with. There's 60 dollars worth of copper on my mobo alone!
Of course, you're going to get a totally bias opinion when you're asking on this forum, so you already know the answer you want to hear.
I mainly use the desktop for programming (Fortran, Matlab, R), P2P online video (PPstream, pplive), games occasionally (not that enthusiastic, most games are pretty old such as starcraft, warcraft, Heroes, Diablo), websurfing.
I am inclined to choose I5 (and OC it a little bit) since it is very fast and especially quiet ( I tried AMD 945, but very noisy). My budget is pretty flexible (800-1500) and plan to get this one by early Nov.
Thanks for your advice and comments for my following configs: