My home computer is put together with spackle and duct tape. It's loud and the CPU fan is dying. I put this puppy together about five years ago, so I think it's time for a re-build (as opposed to an upgrade).
Ars Technica's Budget Box System Guide will be my guide once I am able to convince Mrs. Kid that we have a couple hundred bucks to spend on another computer. I know I could buy something cheap from Dell and get pretty good value, but I really like putting it together myself. Plus, I run Ubuntu on this machine and hate the idea of giving Micro$oft more money for something (Windows) that gives me no value.
Most importantly, there is something satisfying about knowing that you hooked it all up yourself. When you turn on the machine for the first time and get the BIOS check and it actually works, it's an exciting moment. I have experienced great moments of despair with my home-built machines. When I can't even get the computer to give me any image, it's not a happy scene, but over the years, I have come to expect those moments and I know that it always ends up working out OK in the end.
I might go cheap and buy a used box (motherboard, CPU, case) to get me started, but at least I will install some of the pieces and the OS myself. This won't be the ideal situation, but could save me some coin. Having a faster, quieter machine for $100 would be a good thing.
Wish me luck (first, with getting the green light, and then with pulling it off).