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It is all relative to your needs. My needs as a software engineer who works on complex systems is not the same as most people's. Most people will find a desktop that costs well under $1000 USD to be more than they need. Myself, I spend about 5x that for what I need... :-) Of course what I could get for $5000 5 or 6 years ago is MUCH less capable than what the same $5000 can get me today. That said, my personal workstation (a dual-CPU, 8-core, 3GHz, 8GB RAM system), is still pretty kick-ass! Today, that same $5000 I spent on it at the beginning of 2008 would get me a dual-cpu, 16-24 core, 16-32GB RAM system, with MUCH better I/O speed and better graphics. So, same $$ but 2-3x processing capapbility, 2-4x RAM, and MUCH faster overall throughput. Do I need it? Heck, with 8 cores I can build an entire Linux kernel from scratch in 15 minutes (using 8 cores), or transcode a 45 minute HD video in well under 10 minutes (using about 50% of my processing capability).