"Or get a 3XS system from Scan. I've a couple of i7 systems from them, their Xeon builds are a fraction of the cost of Dell & Apple."
Yeah, great, a generic standard PC from with zero ISV certification and no professional support (which is what makes a PC a Workstation). And if later on something dies, good luck getting the exact same component as a replacement.
There is a reason why white box PCs from assemblers like Scan are cheaper. Most of these systems wouldn't even pass basic EMC tests.
"Apple, they may charge over the odds but they sure as hell know how to build solid workstations."
So do Dell and HP (still have a 2006 Dell Precision 690's).