Dell is currently (until tomorrow!) offering XPS 8700 (4th gen i7), 12 GB memory, 1 TB HDD and 21.5" touch monitor for $1000. Is this a good choice, and what "extras" would be advisable? Solid state buffer drive? Blu-Ray writer? Budget is somewhat flexible. Are there other off-the-shelf systems out there of comparable price and value? I used to build my own (worked in a systems house for several years, building computers, installing and maintaining networks and writing specialty software for them) but haven't done that for a while so I am a bit out of touch (and the nearest Fry's is 5 hours' drive away <G>).
What I do or might do? Writing, editing, photography, video (I have published books and films, mostly scientific), desktop publishing, E-mail (I am owner and/or moderator of a number of mailing lists, again mostly scientific), database programming (earned my living that way for years, though not right now, but still like to build better mousetraps for my own amusement). Graphics, including engineering stuff (I am currently a water district manager). Wide ranging Internet searches - I am a scientist (physics and biology) but have very wide-ranging interests. Music. Art. History. Paleontology. You name it.
I am also a hunter, falconer, rider, climber, SCUBA instructor and scientific diver of long experience, etc. etc. Now slowing down a bit (just turned 82) so people want me to write about all those things <G>. Need a good tool for that, and to keep me amused while doing it ...
Thanks for enlightenment!