So this Asus machine caught my eye in the Best Buy sales paper. It included a monitor and printer for $550, but 1. it was a 20-inch 1600x900 monitor and 2. I'm not sure I should go with an Epson printer.
Am I about to make a horrible mistake? Are Asus machines any good, or am I about to basically flush $450 down the toilet? Furthermore, I know there's a Pentium-based variant with a 1TB hard drive for $50 more, but I did my research: the LGA 775 that the Pentium uses is pretty much obsolete while the AMD Athlon II X2 uses a Socket AM3 that's still in use. So if I were completely nuts, I could upgrade it to something like this:
I don't have that option. Long story short, thanks to circumstances beyond my control, the purse strings for this hypothetical endeavor are not in my hands - I'll be extraordinarily lucky if it happens, period - and the Powers that Be have decreed that they will not risk their money on a machine that doesn't come with a manufacturer's warranty or any kind of one-stop technical support. (Hell, I would've been perfectly fine with installing the graphics card myself, but again, they're terrified I'll break both the warranty and the machine.)
Let me get one thing out of the way: yes, there was this one time (my first-ever attempt at any kind of computer upgrade) where an attempted memory upgrade ended up breaking the computer. But even though I've since upgraded one machine with an Ethernet card, another with USB 2.0 and replaced the CPU fan on the same, apparently they don't trust me to actually build a machine that won't spontaneously burst into flames. I did my research on that memory upgrade, dammit. My best guess is that my attempts to install SIMM memory without sprouting a second pair of hands somehow damaged the slots; I can't imagine what else could've gone wrong. Damn SIMM memory.
Basically, my situation is this: either I put together a laptop for $1500+ (they're hellbent that I can't have a desktop machine; I've suffered with this Gateway laptop for five years now and I want a machine I can service on my own, dammit!), or I appeal to their budget-consciousness with a desktop that will cost less than $1000, all bells and whistles included. That, or I can come up with an absolutely bulletproof argument for letting me build my own PC. (I've tried "no need to waste time/money ordering proprietary parts". That CPU fan I mentioned? Had to order it for $90 bucks from Dell, and it took two weeks to get here.)
On that subject, I based this list off the June 2010 $550 guide here; any advice/recommendations/issues?
Gah. Judging from the horror stories I just read about CyberPowerPC and iBuyPower, I think I'd be better off struggling with getting the Powers that Be to understand that assembling my own machine isn't codespeak for summoning Lucifer into the house. That, or simply resigning myself to the idea that my only options are to either buy a horribly neutered machine for $500 or a marginally less-neutered laptop for $1500.
Assuming I can get them to see reason, how does the Wish List I posted look? Any major flaws you'd like to bring to my attention? What I want is a stable machine that can run Adobe CS4 (Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, etc.) without chugging, something that could, say, run Civilization V on max settings at 1920x1080. (I'm not looking at Crysis here. Hell, I'm not even sure I'm looking at Starcraft 2. )
This combo includes an 1080p monitor and you could easily get a graphics card in under the $1000 cap, dependent on the system's power supply of course. Quicker than the Asus you originally posted.
Dell Inspiron I570-7034PBK + 22in Monitor: $770 http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell+Inspiron+I570-7034PBK+...