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Building your own is the only way to go. It is actually kind of fun and you learn a lot on the way. The challange is to pick your components and to shop around over the Inet to find the best deal. (Now I know why my wife likes shopping so much. 🙂 )
Short story is that I built one about 2 years ago and when I did the math, I figured that I saved about $400.00 building my own. I couldn’t believe it! I then built another one with the same results. I’ll never buy complete off the shelf again. Internet prices are WAAAAY cheaper than retail prices and that’s for name brand components.
You do need a little knowledge only because you won’t have any support to back your “Mutt” PC up but as long as you’re careful you’ll be OK.
The bottom line is you save alot money, you have the components that you wanted… but the BEST part is when you’re all done and you fire it up… and it works, you feel like you created life from lifelessness!