I would build a system around the P4 1.6a and overclock it to the max. I'm running mine at 2.2 gigs (138 fsb at 1.6 volts). You can go with the sis 645 (my choice for ddram, so I can run the hammer when it comes out), the via p4x266, or the Intel 850 with samsung rdram. The cpu (retail boxed) is only $148(newegg). With all the leftover money, get a 21 inch monitor or LCD, Geforce 4 video card, etc. I've been running athlons for the last 3 years, and this p4 1.6a northwood runs cooler and more stable overclocked than any athlon I ever used with a stock heatsink. But as you know, at default speeds, the athlon trounces the P4.