I had 3 systems running at one time due to that but now run 2. I might have a third running again soon though for a multimedia pc on the tv. It can be really nice to have two computers at your desktop with a kvm switch (kvm switch allows you to change between two computers with a few key strokes using the same keyboard, mouse and monitor). If you are doing something that is really bogging down your computer like encoding, a few keystrokes and you can be on another computer surfing the internet or playing a game while you wait, instead of being board waiting or having slowdowns to deal with if you multitask.
As far as cost, right now there are some dirt cheap systems out there (some so cheap it might be worth gettting one to gut for parts). I'm guessing that with a new windows operating system coming out and a new amd cpu family coming out, they are closing out/reducing stocks on older computers (there are lots of clearance computers out there right now).
Normally I can put together a basic system system with similar specs for about the same price as an oem computer though. Sure you can get computers cheap after rebates but you can get parts cheap after rebates too.
Take into acount that people often upgrade the weak points of an oem computer too like a video card, sound card, more or faster memory etc. You would have that beter equipment to start with if you custom built.
Oem computers can also be crippled in function and upgradability. I recentlly bought a pci video card because it was on clearance mega cheap (thought it would be usefull for a dedicated second display like to the tv and it allows me to delay purchase of a pcie card for my latest upgraded system as I'm moving from agp to pcie). I looked online to see what it was worth, and it was not an obsolete, discontinued antique like I thought. Aparentlly there are still a lot of current pci video cards out there and looking on newegg, they sell a lot of them. The reason is that many oem computers do not have agp or pcie slots including brand new dual core systems, so if say for instance you want to upgrade your crappy onboard video, you may get stuck with a crappy pci video card that has crippled pci bandwith and is twice the price, or you could get a new motherboard.
I say that overall, custom built computers are cheaper when you take into acount the costs of an oem computer. In the long run, its a lot cheaper. Buying everything at once to build a computer compared to an oem computer may be more expensive now due to clearance computers, but once you have a custom rig, there are upgrades/parts as you go for killer sale prices not to mention killer clearance prices. I just got an athlon 64 3000 for 111$, free shipping to upgrade an athlon xp system (prices have came down since they are discontinuing the athlon 64 3000, 3200, 3500). I also found an abit ax8 motherboard (a nice 100$ motherboard) on clearance for 30$. I have already overclocked it from 1800MHz to 2500MHz with stock cooling and voltage (a very nice and free upgrade in speed). Lets see you overclock the average oem computer?
I'm off today and board waiting for my wife to take lunch so I can take the car so I'm just mindlessly typing along, not ranting or arguing or so please don't take my long response as that. :bigsmile: :bigsmile:
In the long run I do honestly think custom is not only cheaper but beter (and a last though, you don't have to keep paying for an operating system every time you upgrade with custom).