--I'm perfectly fine with building it myself. I haven't done much major work since the days when 266 MHz was considered blazing fast, but I'd hope I can apply those skills still today.
--This is a unit that is going to be used as a media center/game system/network hub type thing.
--While I want to be able to get decent graphics, I'm not too concerned about being bleeding-edge or anything. I don't see the point of super-high resolutions, and since this thing will be used on a 720p HDTV it won't be going beyond 1366x768 anyhow, nor do I particularly care for anti-aliasing, aniscropic filtering, and so on. Jaggies don't bother me, but I'd like to be able to use a few fancy lighting effects and such.
--Hard drive space is not a major issue to start with.
--I already have a copy of Windows to put on it.
So far this is what I'm looking at (on Newegg):
--ASUS DVD Burner 24x
--LIAN L1 Lancool PC-K58W mid-tower case
--Western Digital 250 Gb HDD
--ZOTAC ZT-40702-10L GeForce GT 440 GDDR5 graphics card
--Dablotek DA Series PSDA500 500W power supply
--Kingston 2GB DDR3 RAM x2
--BIOSTAR H55A+ LGA 1156 Intel H55 motherboard
--Intel Core i5 Lynnfield 2.8GHz
This totals about 601 USD with shipping. Given my requirements, and that most people here are undoubtedly better with the hardware aspect of things than I will ever be, not to mention more experience shopping for such, do you see any way I could bring this down to closer to the 500 USD mark if possible? The less it costs the sooner I can get it, and the sooner I get it the sooner I can take advantage of being able to play some of the games I have that I don't play much due to my laptop's crappy 8200M G.