Fwiw, I got a nice HP Elite for $1,159+tax today (Best Buy). I can maybe see myself upgrading the power supply and video card (512MB 8600GT), but I've spent the evening gliding smoothly through Gears of War PC and Bioshock (both system killers on my old system). Since my AMD64 was a Model T horse and buggy, maybe my perception is warped.
Operating system: Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition with Service Pack 1 [Yeah, I know, DOOOMMM! But I'm glad they now ship with the SP1 variant pre-installed, and so far it really hasn't caused me any problems, aside from some slightly different e-mail account settings in the Live Mail). I still think the Vista Team spent way too much time on animated menus, and zooming in and out various windows to no particular purpose. ]
Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Processor Q6700
Memory speed: PC2-6400 DDR2 SDRAM
Total memory slots: 4 DIMM
Maximum memory expansion: Expandable to 8GB
Graphics: [a "real," not integraded video card fwiw] NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT graphics card with 512MB dedicated video memory [8800GTs are all over the place at stores now but so far I'm pretty impressed with this older card, and it's presumably quieter/cooler than the hotter new stuff]
TV and entertainment experience: [I didn't get it for this, but if you're into using a PC for that stuff, it's nice] NTSC Analog TV tuner, over-the-air ATSC high-definition Digital TV tuner, and FM tuner HP Media Center remote control with IR (infrared) receiver
PCI expansion: 1 PCI (occupied) ¿2 PCI Express x1 (two available) (24) ¿1 PCI Express x16 (occupied) (24)
Hard disk drive(s): 1000GB (2x500GB) 7200RPM SATA
Primary CD/DVD drive: SuperMulti DVD Burner with LightScribe Technology
Communications: Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps network interface
Sound card: High Definition Audio [Realtek integrated stuff, it's fine]
Speakers: 8 speaker configurable
Front-side bus (processor dependent): 1066MHz Front Side Bus
Front panel 15-in-1 memory card reader 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 Front, 4 Back) 2 FireWire (IEEE 1394) port(s) (1 Front, 1 Back) Headphone; Microphone; Line-in (Front) 2 PS/2; Digital Audio In/out DVI, TV-out, and HDMI capabilities available on the video card
The case is nice enough but somewhat cramped inside. It's not something I'd probably mess around inside of aside from the aforementioned possible power supply/video card upgrade.
My thought is really what do you want to play. If you can't live without full screen antialiasing, or you need to play Crysis or the other latest "Bring every system to its knee" game du jour, then $2,300 might be worth it. It's just, even when I've spent $1,799 or $1,999 on new PCs, it's still been falling behind a year later.
I had various do-it-yourself buds pushing me to build my own, but I'm an impulse buyer and I just got tired of every PC game running like molasses on my old system. I needed a quick fix, and so far this system has been fast and quiet and a real pleasure. Finally getting to *see* what was great in Bioshock and experience it properly, well I don't know if it's worth $1,200, but it feels like it tonight.
Numbers wise, I'd probably still need a better card, but I think it's more important the frame rate is consistent on this (even if the numbers wouldn't impress a hardware guru).