Originally Posted by urluckday
I'd be fine with getting a good base system and upgrading the RAM and Video Card, but not the processor.
Yes, this would be the best way since OEMs usually charge a premium for more memory and high performance video cards. They also charge a similar premium for the better CPUs as well, and most OEM systems have a locked BIOS that won't let you overclock a cheaper CPU, which sucks, IMO, so you might have to splurge a little to get a decent CPU.
Oh, and save yourself some headache and get an OEM copy of XP Home and set up a dual boot with Vista, so you can still play old games on your new system.