There was a digg the other day that said that it's cheaper to buy a PC than to build one. The article even pushes Dell. Well, I beg to differ.
I recently put together a PC from Newegg.com, saved in this wish list, that beats Dell's cheapest PC I can find in both price (even with Lehigh's discount) and performance. The system is a P4 630 (3.0 GHz, 2 MiB L2 Cache, 800 MHz FSB), with 2 GiB dual-channel DDR2 memory (533 MHz in Dell's, 667 MHz in mine), SATA II Hard drive (160 GB in Dell's, 200 GB in mine), integrated graphics, and a 16x Dual-layer DVD+/-RW burner. No monitor, no floppy. My system is even expandable to 4 GiB memory and has lots of room for extra hard drives inside. The price difference (on 1/5/06)? Dell's $926 to my $727 saves me $199, more than 20%.
Of course, I had to assemble my system, but that's part of the fun. I got to see Intel's LGA775 socket up close and feel the bulk of the 550 watt power supply. Plus I have the satisfaction of that feeling of independence that DIY'ers work for. You can't get that from a computer manufacturer.
Minor detail: the wishlist assembles everything together in one place, while I actually had some things like the keyboard and mouse laying around and I bought the case at Beyond PC.