After visiting the digital life conference in NYC and reading through Computer Shopper (something I haven't read in ages), I was amazed at the prices of gaming quality PCs and laptop. My laptop is certainly gaming quality costing $3k+, but frankly, I regret that large an expense. The monitor is just too big to carry around and the underbelly fans won't work on a carpet or in bed - let alone the heat exhaust when flying.
From now on, I'm going to focus on 15" monitors and laptops with longer battery life. At home I'm usually more aggressive on my machine specs, but actually cheaper and tend to spend less.
Most of the really hot gaming rigs cost about $3500 - $4000 with nice ones at $2500. A rep from Alienware told me there average box sold for about $2500. Alienware is synonymous with high-end gaming optimized computers.
Why buy a gaming optimized box - they are very fast - especially with graphic intensive applications, but just about every single component has been optimized for performance. In many ways, gaming is a metaphor for high-end, best in class for just about any application. The only possible exception would be video editing.
Video editing might benefit from the addition of specialized video capture cards and possibly different hard drive configurations. And possibly some data archiving features due to the mamoth 30+ gb files video editors can work with.
The real question here is this:
How much would you spend on a gaming optimized machine?
I'm in my late 30s, job pressure, children and wife devour my time and are higher priorities. This leaves me with very little gaming time - perhaps 2-4 hours per week. Maybe more at certain times, perhaps 8 hours. With so little time, I really can't participate in on-line games effectively (everquest, world of war craft), but off-line games become very convenient - I can pick up where I left off.
So how much would you spend on a gaming quality machine?
My thought is about $1800-$2000 on a desktop and a maximum of $2500 for a laptop, with a preference to spend closer to $2000.
I expect to keep a computer for personal use for about 2 years, rarely, but sometimes 3 years. Afterwards I give it to another family member who is not as performance oriented (wife, in-laws).
Please share your decisions.