I'm a long-time PC user. For that reason, if I was considering a system for digital photography/graphics purposes I would buy... MAC! That's right, Macintosh. That's because:
a) All pro labs understand Photoshop and Mac. They don't understand PC and Windows
b) It works faster, is much more stable system, UNIX-like in many ways and has quite long lifespan and very reliable.
c) Because color-control, profiles, etc are all well controlled from within OS itself, you don't need a bunch of third party tools to do it
d) Mac is designed to be a good desktop publishing system, thus almost all the basic stuff you need for graphics processing or digital photography is already there
e) Support and warranty terms are great
f) Leasing available
g) G5 is 64bit processor
So, if I was on tight budget, I would probably start saving some money for Mac instead of spending any money on PC. Then, I would need about $4500 to set up a decent system with everything I need (excluding software).
Here is what I would probably get:
Dual 1.8Ghz Mac G5 with 1GB of RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW),
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 w/64MB. Monitor - Apple 17" Studio LCD or some 19" Sony Trinitron CRT based monitor or one of newer Planar 17" monitors.
That would come to about $3000-$3200. The rest of money will be used to buy film scanner such as Elite 5400 or one of announced new Nikons, hardware color calibration tool (Spyder) and maybe later on photo printer. Plus about $700 for photoshop or JASC PaintShopPro if it's available for Mac (not sure about it).
However, most likely I wouldn't buy inkjet photo printer, because inkjets haven't yet reached the quality of output that I would like. So, I would scan my pictures, do little editing and then "pre-flight" them for printing at West Coast Imaging, Calypso, Holland Photo or A&I using LightJet, Chromira or whatever I like