This comes to $285 after shipping which isn't too bad, but I wanted to compare to a prebuilt to see how it did. Walmart has an eMachine for about the same after tax which is not as good as (2.8 Ghz CPU, 2 GB RAM, etc.).
The real issue though is the OS. The eMachine comes with Windows 7, or I'll have to pay an additional $100 for it if I go homebuilt. Furthermore, the eMachine comes with keyboard, mouse, and speakers. So I could get a slightly inferior system, but also get Windows 7, all the peripherals, and not have to mess around with assembling if I go prebuilt for the same price as just the hardware if I go homebuilt.
Do you think a homebuilt could beat a prebuilt value-wise in the $300 range? If so, what components would you suggest. The absolute limit on the budget is $400 including Windows 7.
P.S. I'm not currently considering other OS, so freeware like Ubunu is not an option at the moment.