My scream of agony that you may have heard earlier

That agonized scream you may have heard was the sound of me, suffering at the hands of my computer. I have software I want to use, but I can’t because I don’t have Windows XP. Sadly, I can’t afford Windows XP at the moment, especially WinXP Pro like I would prefer to have. Next
WinXP Home/Pro both prefer more then 128MB RAM, at least 256MB RAM, the more the better, and I only have 128 MB RAM. I hear what you are thinking, why not upgrade the amount of RAM I have since RAM is cheap. Well, it is, unless you have RDRAM, or Rambus RAM, which will run you several times regular memory prices. Upgrading to 512MB of RDRAM, which
I would consider the absolute minimum today, would cost over $200, and 1GB of RAM, the true minimum, would run over $400, not an affordable option either way. Then the video card… which could be upgraded to a minimum card for a tad over $150, though really I would be missing out on lots of stuff even with that until over $300 or so which doesn’t work on my system as I don’t have enough power from the power supply, so I am stuck with a $100 to $150+ type of upgrades. The CPU is unfortunately unreplaceable, as Intel went with another pinout configuration on the higher-speed chips. So how much to upgrade my current system? Let’s say 1 GB RDRAM ($400+), a new video card ($150+), Windows XP Pro($190 for the upgrade), so at minimum, I am looking at $740 or so. At that point, I still wouldn’t be able to run some of the games I would like to play, and if I were to compile a really big program (unlikely anyhow, I’ll admit) it would take much longer then I would care for… The above doesn’t even account for the software upgrades I really should get…
Options? New system from Dell at the same price range… doesn’t work, as the only way to do that is to get integrated video with no option for adding a video card. Cheapest I could come up with at Dell was $1355, and that is dropping the monitor from the system price, a much better system would be $2054 from them. Now in both cases that included a $260 upgrade to get Office small business edition, and at the moment I qualify for the Student edition which I could get cheaper elsewhere… Still tons of cash.
A homebuilt system would be the preferred option, since as I am building it, I can control the exact parts going in, and make sure they are good quality. This would run about $3100 or so without a monitor upgrade.
Which is kind of odd, as the notebook I want is about $3135 without changing anything… I know, I know, $3135 seems extreme, but this isn’t just a regular laptop, but a DTR, or Desktop Replacement.
All the above is without upgrading to the development software. I won’t even go into that cost, but development software is a tad expensive.
Of course there are other things we need more then a new computer, so I am stuck… grr…. and hence the scream of agony you may have heard earlier… oops, here it comes again…