They get scorn for selling systems that costs thousands, but even in this "great recession" many boutique PC builders have done a lot better than you might expect. Digital Storm has one of the best reputations among this clique (which includes Falcon Northwest, Maingear, and several others), and with its new Black|Ops desktop series, it's promising extreme performance starting at a relatively modest price.
You can grab a Black|Ops system for as low as $1,549 if you choose an AMD Phenom II X4 955 CPU, or $1,709 if you select an Intel i5-750 processor. Both base configs comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 500GB hard drive, but the AMD one comes with a new ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics card, while the Intel PC includes an Nvidia GeForce GTX 275. (If you already have a graphics board you like, you can also buy the system sans card to save more.) If you want to jump from the "Performance" model to the "Enthusiast" one, you'll pony up at least $2,104 for an Intel i7-920, 6GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 285 graphics card. For deeper pockets, you can choose the $3,102 "Extreme" configuration, which swaps in an i7-960 and the new ATI Radeon HD 5870 video card.
You get a choice of chassis, which may impact your system's price. The four Digital Storm is pushing are the Cooler Master HAF 922, HAF 932, and CM Storm Snipe, and its own Hailstorm model, though there are Lian-Li and SilverStone options as well. You can upgrade a full liquid-cooling system with a choice of tubing color (Black, Blue, Green, Red, or White), and Digital Storm will even overclock the PC using its TwisterBoost technology before delivering it to you.
If you don't mind the last generation of hardware, you can even purchase a "Clearance" configuration. For $1,758 you get a Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor and a GeForce 9800GX2 graphics card. It's not a bad deal at all considering you can probably spend about the same to buy those two components separately.