Based on this initial build. He had a laptop before this, so all he has is a mouse. The current total, looking at Newegg, TigerDirect, and Amazon, comes to $1,239. Maybe a little more. We're wondering if he should step up to a more future-proof CPU. He is also interested in getting an SSD instead of an HDD, but he isn't sure if it's worth the money. With Steam, he would be able to install and uninstall games to mediate the space so he was thinking of buying a 120GB SSD for about $100 to store the OS, games, and applications and 500GB HDD to store other stuff. He mostly streams music and we have more than enough devices to play DVDs and Blu-Rays so he opted to let the Disk drive go. He also plans on doing some game development on it. I just wanted recommendations from you guys. He wants to keep the total (minus monitor/keyboard) under $1000.
At this point, I feel like the only thing that separates the 360's online infrastructure from their console competitors is their speed. Updates and download speeds are generally faster on the 360, while the download system on PS3 is often frequent and tedious. I have at assume that these faster speeds are in part possible because people are (sort of) paying into them. The MS server guys can continue validating needing faster speeds by saying "if we're as slow as PSN, people may consider whether our service really is more valuable."
The obvious counterpoint, is, of course, that you can take advantage of those speeds without paying at all, and it's ludicrous to think that MS would ever restrict their download speeds to favor Gold members (I mean, they could, but it'd be stupid). So Gold members are paying into a pool, of sorts, where faster download speeds and more consistent servers are paid by some people but benefit everyone. To keep this up, MS has to keep charging for Gold. Now that the competition (PS3, not necessarily Wii/U just yet) in terms of features, MS has a harder time justifying that $60, but they have to keep charging for it.
It's a weird corner to paint yourself into, but there they are. And in case anyone thinks I'm defending MS, I'm not. I think Gold is bullshit, and I only renewed last year because it was $30 and was tax-deductible (I reviewed a couple 360 games for money the year I bought it). My theory could be entirely off the mark (I'm not an expert), but that's why I think they're still charging for it. That said, I largely agree with the article.