The Magic PC Experience

My desktop PC died weirdly a few weeks ago after months of chugging away. I went on the magical mystery PC experience that rebuilding a PC is all about. Ran Windows XP repair. Sort of worked. Kept failing. Put in a new, larger hard drive and installed XP from scratch. Kind of failed.I figured the motherboard must have gone bad, so bought from Provantage a new motherboard that supported a Pentium 4, and a Pentium 4. All kind of cheap, as I don't use this machine except for testing and Windows-only programs. Installed it, but noticed it needed DDR333 RAM, not the PC100 RAM I already had. Okay, order RAM. Days go by. RAM arrives. Install. Hmm...not booting. Download manual (had accidentally given it away with old motherboard.) What's this special plug? Ah, Pentium 4's need a different power supply that has a special plug to power it separately. Order power supply. Install. Will boot, no video display. The AGP+ card I had wouldn't work; incompatible. True, it came from an old Mac, but it was an Nvidia brand! Order video card. It arrives. Install. Boot from CD-ROM. Install Windows XP. And miracle of miracles, new, fast, zippy machine. The total cost wound up being something like $500 to $600 with all the parts and shipping. But a good experience for a neophyte configurer like myself. I'm always surprised to buy components these days, as the video card is about $60, 512 Mb of RAM was about $60, the power supply was $50. I'm feeling old when everything seems cheap--the reverse of "I remember when bread was a nickel."