This is the feeling I've gotten. This is a rant.
You know those ****, sleek systems you see online? The ones at NewEgg or TigerDirect? Yeah, turns out, TigerDirect doesn't have most of those systems available at their retail stores, even with a warehouse attached. (I drove 54 miles to learn this sorry fact.) And places like Best Buy don't have anything even close. They put the junk out there for the mundanes and leave the svelte stuff online for the enthusiasts.
Best Buy has not, in fact, figured out how to totally lock down their PCs, so I was able to run the Windows User Experience yada yada on their display PCs and compare apples to apples. They had for sale an $800 system that had a lower base score than my $400 laptop. I wanted to laugh. My current dying PC has a score of 4.9; it is difficult to score above 5.5 without a SSD or RAID or 10K RPM HD, but the subscores are still quite useful for determining how powerful a PC is. Their $800 system scored a 4.1, thanks to its integrated graphics. My $400 laptop has a 4.7!
Anyway, I was fully prepared to drop upwards of $600 on a DIY kit or a bare bones PC or **** even a new OEM that had the right specs. There was nothing, NOTHING in my price range that I liked at any of the stores I visited.
So I said **** it, came home, found a DIY kit from NewEgg, added in a mid-level video card (Radeon 5670), and got away with paying $370 without tax or shipping. (I have a clean copy of Win7 64 bit already - this system is getting downgraded to WinXP when it is retired to become a media center system.) I'm walking away with a quad core box for less than half the price BB wanted to stick me with for a significantly weaker system. And I get the pleasure of putting it together myself.
Take that, Best Buy.