QUOTE(milehigheric @ Nov 15 2007, 01:16 PM)
Rule number two, shop around and buy parts individually from the cheapest location
Rule number three, build it yourself
Interesting, this is slowly getting obsolete here if the goal is a good price.
OK, if you know exactly what components you want and have spent a day or 2 preparing your shopping list, which I'm actually doing right now, it's OK. But by building it yourself, you'll just save the $100 custom assembly fee (and have the fun if you like doing that).
However, if you don't have an exact wishlist and can do with a preassembled PC, you'd better wait for a shop to make a special offer on a config that suits your usage. This way, you can easily save 30-40% with regard to the separate components. Like the other day, with that quad-core 2.4GHz, 4Gb RAM, 8800 gfx card, RAID array and 22" monitor etc for less than $2k... individual components in stores with good prices totalled around 3k
Oh, and Dell offers aren't that bad in the XPS series
Especially about the laptops, but that's another story anyway.