The old computer was nearing end of life, so simply going and finding a replacement mobo/cpu combo is not very feasible (it might be, but finding one that I trust enough to order over the internet is not). I wanted to hold out another year or so until vista came out and made it reasonable to upgrade the software side too. Waiting some time for a new computer doesn't seem too feasible either...
So, I'm thinking the best course of action is to just go ahead and upgrade early. Get some good core components which should remain workable for ~4 years, and get some 'value' components for the stuff that just has to be upgraded (because of incompatability) and look to replace/supplant those in ~18 months.
Looking online, it seems like the case should still be good, the PCI audio/network; keyboard, mouse(possible adapter needed); CRT (will limit video card choices); and the drives (possibly limited due to mobo choice). So new mobo necessitates new psu, new ram, new video card (only AGP here), and possibly a new hdd.
The current system is looking like this:
Asus M7N32-SLI Deluxe - Nice board, a little pricey, but should allow for easy video expansion, numerous ram slots, a few 'normal' PCI slots, and not totally SATA.
AMD 64 X2 DC - 3800 or 4200 depending on price and job status at order time. Beefy, but not outrageously so. Higher end part, so it should ideally have longer life. The 64b and dual core techs should be mature by this proc's time.
Antec TPII 550w - Fits into the right pricepoint for power vs $$$. Good reviews, I've good history with Antec.
Corsair 2g DDR2(800) Cas4 - I'm tired of wonky ram. Going straight to 2gig will leave 2 slots open for expansion to 4 (which in 4 years might not be so outrageous). The 800 should hold up for that long (while lower rates might not), and I just can't justify cas3 at the current price difference (~$190)
eVGA 7600GS 256mb - Likely x2. Sure, it's a crappy card by modern standards, and sure it's had DVI issues. That's fine, I've got an old old CRT and need the standard connector. It's cheap, is PCIe, supports doubling up, and should be more than adiquate for dev work and playing games for ~2 years at lowish resolutions and/or mediocre detail. Once the CRT gives up the ghost (or ~2 years), eVGA should've produced a working patch for the card.
SATA 160g hdd - I've currently got 3 hdd's and a cd, all IDE. The m7n only will support 2, which will likely mean some consolodation at least in the short term. Probably WD or maybe seagate, just a cheapo drive to move the others to and later use for a spare or specialized drive. Then probably I'll get a bigger/nicer one when I get around to OS upgrade so I can start fresh.
The bad news is that this current is running around $1350, which would normally be fine if I actually had an income. So, what do you think? I've not followed the hardware scene for years; is there some incompatability I've missed, or perhaps a different approach I should consider?