I'll add my two cents worth: If you use quality components, a custom built will last longer than an off the shelf. This machine is perfectly capable of running vista. The one that I am on now was built in 2001, and still runs better than anything that can be purchased such as hp, compaq, gateway, etc. However you should know that I built it using workstation level parts; Tyan serverboard, 4 gig ram, dual Athlon MP 1900+(upgrade), 3d labs wildcat video, RAID 5 @ 10k, (6 SCSI HDDs, 18Gig ea) and DVD Burner (again an upgrade). If you make a good custom build, I expect to get a minimum of 8 years effective life. I spent about 3500 initially, but my upgrades over the life so far have only cost me about 450.00.
Off the shelf machines use cheap, low bidder parts, and most lack the expansion capabilities need for a longer life. Actually, this machine is a Mercedes, off the shelf is a Trabant
Edited by oldf@rt, 06 August 2007 - 12:43 AM.