My AthlonMP system is aging. Actually, it’s aged. It’s down to 512MB RAM (the other 512MB went bad a long time ago). BIOS updates ended 4 years ago, and the thing doesn’t seem to support drives over 137 GB or USB keyboards, two things that have worked for a long time. (Hint: it seems like a good idea at the time, but don’t buy a server-grade motherboard for your desktop. It seems better, but it’s all these little things that will get you.)
I have a decent enough graphics card, a nice HDTV tuner, a DVD burner, 500/200/60/40 GB drives, a nice keyboard, and a monitor. So all I need, really, is a new motherboard, CPU, and RAM.
So here’s a motherboard. Here’s the processor. Here’s the RAM, times two. Net cost? A little under $500. For a quad-core processor, 4 GB RAM, and a motherboard with GigE. Assuming, of course, that all you need is motherboard + processor + RAM. Which is the case for me. Granted, it also assumes that you have $500 to spend on computer upgrades….
Edit: Seems that the RAM might not be the best. Don’t take my word on it being the right thing.