The HotRod should run about $1000 now:http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/system-guide-200608.ars
At a minimum for a "Rocket" - a Core 2 Duo and 2 gB of RAM with a decent chipset (nVidia 590 or Intel 765) should do just about anything. Up the video card for gaming - otherwise shop by price. Make sure to get onboard sound and Gigabit NIC on the motherboard.
I'm a new convert to the PC Power and Cooling power supplies and thing that they're the best thing since sliced bread - but they are pricey. Other than that, pick a brand name power supply so that it doesn't die unexpectedly.
Here's my new system specs (assembled and waiting the power supply). It's a bit more than the rocket, but it'll do anything that it'll need to do:
MSI 975x-Platinum mobo
2 gB Corsair DDR2 RAM
Core 2 Duo 6600
Zalman cooler for the Core 2 Duo
2 - 10,000 rpm W-D SATAII hard drives (250 gB each)
PC Power and Cooling PSU - Silencer 610 EPS12V
eVGA nVidia 7600 GT vid card
2 - dual layer DVD writers
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able. - John
(my website: http://www.carrona.org/
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